Back in 1986 a few guys got together in London-town in order to form a band. They ran an ad in the NME and found themselves a singer. They went through a couple drummers, played a bunch of gigs, released a few records, and called it quits. The band was forgotten by all but fans, friends, and a few music freaks. Could be any number of bands from the late-1980s, an unfairly maligned era of underground music. Fortunately, this band had some live footage that made it to the internet…and that live clip made tens of thousands of music fans say “Guh-guh-guh-GAH!”
The band is the Sperm Wails. While prominent in England’s “Camden Noise-core Scene” and having toured with the legendary My Bloody Valentine, the Wail’s “sister band,” the SW didn’t get much of a listen outside of Merry ‘Ol. Their three records (“Boy Hairdresser” 12″, “Carry-On” 7″, and “Grim/Stroke” flexi disc) were self-released and never got the run they deserved. And as far as I know, they never made their way off of Monkey Island.
If you would have asked the S.S. Records brain trust about the Sperm Wails, you would have gotten a blank stare. That is until the “Lady Chatterley” surfaced. Propulsive punk rock with post-punk chops and one hell of an edge, “Lady C.” showed a band that could have held their own to any of the era’s heavyweights (Big Black, UT, Sonic Youth, etc.). S.S. figured “Gotta have record.” Problem was finding it. “Lady C.” had been released but in short run as a freebie with some obscure fanzine. The song was crammed on the record with three tunes by others and that was not right! Former members of the band were tracked down and begged for the right to release “Lady Chatterley” in proper form, as the A-side of a 7″. After much searching some Wails dug up an unreleased gem called “Mr. Wonderful,” a twisted piece of Fall-pop. And that we called the B-side.
The Sperm Wails broke up in 1989. Members remained active in London’s music scene, playing in bands like Spectreman and The London Dirthole Company. Currently, a couple former Sperm Wailers are playing in the band Blowhole.