Essex-born Louise Wener met Jon Stewart at Manchester University in 1987 in a political philosophy class. The couple played in a number of bands at university and moved to London to seek gigs after graduating in 1988.
They advertised for new band members in Melody Maker (“Bass player and drummer wanted. Influences The Pixies and The Partridge Family“) and recruited Diid Osman and (Louise’s future husband) Andy Maclure in 1992. They chose the name “Sleeper” after the 1973 Woody Allen film of that name and in 1993 they signed to Indolent Records, a subsidiary of RCA Records.
They released three EPs and singles and toured as the opening act for Blur before their breakthrough single release, Inbetweener (1995).
The band’s debut album release Smart (1995) was followed by the platinum-selling LP The It Girl which yielded four charting singles – What Do I Do Now?, Nice Guy Eddie, Sale of the Century and Statuesque.
Sleeper recorded a cover of the Blondie song Atomic, which was used in the 1996 film Trainspotting after Blondie refused to allow the use of the original version. Statuesque also features in the movie and its follow-up soundtrack album.
The band’s third album, Pleased to Meet You (October 1997) was a UK Top 10 hit but the band called it a day in March 1998 after a tour in which venues had to be cancelled or downsized due to lower than expected ticket sales.
Following the band’s demise, frontwoman Louise Wener moved on to a career in writing, publishing four novels and an autobiography covering her time in the band. Having become a dab hand with the pocket rockets, she also began teaching courses in poker.
Sleeper reformed in 2017 to play live alongside other Britpop acts including Space, Dodgy and The Bluetones. These dates saw Wener, Maclure and Stewart joined on bass by new member Kieron Pepper. The band recorded a new album – The Modern Age – in 2019 and compiled unreleased material from previous recording sessions (including a George Michael collaboration) with some new material as the basis for the album This Time Tomorrow, released in December 2020.