Best known for their track “Asbestos Lead Asbestos” (which was covered by Meat Beat Manifesto in 1996), WDE were a noisy UK band (dubbed “psychobilly concrete” by Simon Reynolds) that was active from early to late 80s. They managed to separate themselves from the pack through their violent and abrasive guitar sound and a healthy sense of humor (as demonstrated by covers of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” and LL Cool J “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”).
The band was formed by Keith Dobson (012, Here & Now) in the early 80s. Their main output consisted of singles and 7″ records, but WDE also recorded one full-length – 1988 “Let’s Play Domination”, as well as 1989 “Love From Lead City” – a live album and a collection of remixes entitled “Dub Domination”.
Julian Cope website described “Let’s Play Domination” as a “burning mish-mash of sound” that was “brewed up in a hell of a cauldron.” Trouser Press commented that “The astonishing high-pressure racket of Let’s Play Domination’s opening salvo (“Message for You People”) may send you rushing to the turntable to see if your stylus is accidentally gouging a hole in the platter. Besides sturdily unsettling originals, the album — clearly a stiff-upper-lip cousin to Big Black, Birthday Party and other punishing pain-inflicters — includes a relatively straight rendition of L.L. Cool J’s “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” as well as deranged interpretations of Lipps, Inc.’s “Funkytown” and a U-Roy number. As Dobson layers on the scathing, slithery guitar and sings in a plain, serviceable voice, the rhythm section lurches and pounds in a tight phalanx; producer Dave Allen captures the entire meltdown with thrilling clarity.”
2009 saw a CD version of the album, which came out on Mute label and added bonus tracks that were missing from the original. According to Brainwashed website, the irony is that in the late 80s Mute closed its sub-label – Product Inc., claiming that they’re no longer interested in guitar bands. Yet, many years later, the label released “Domination” as well as an album by A Place To Bury Strangers.
Brainwashed described the reissued version of “Domination” as an “abrasive and unapologetic stew of noise rock, punk, and reggae is a vibrant and flawless classic that sounds as peerless now as it did 21 years ago.”
Trouser Press commented that “Love from Lead City, packaged to look like a bootleg, with no information or credits, is a crude live record (with no hint of an audience’s presence) that features spare but crushing renditions of such headbutts as “Funkytown,” “Message for You People” and the political “Asbestos Lead Asbestos,” a song originally from 012’s album.”
The band dissolved in the early 90s with Digger Metters pursuing the religious path, while the band’s drummer Simon Doling went on to play with everyone from Damo Suzuki (Can) to Boo-Yah Tribe and Credit To The Nation.
Keith Dobson (012, Here & Now, Planet Gong)
Asbestos Lead Asbestos 7″ (Karbon, 1985)
Catalogue Clothes 12″ (Product Inc., 1986)
Hotsy Girl 7″ / 12″ (Product Inc., 1987)
I Can’t Live Without My Radio 7″ / 12″ (Product Inc., 1988)
Let’s Play Domination CD / LP (Product Inc., 1988 / Free Love, 1988 / Rough Trade Germany, 1988 / Caroline, 1988)
Love From Lead City LP (Product Inc., 1988)
The Company News 7″ / 12″ (Immaculate, 1989)
“Rare Mix” on Gigantic! (Melody Maker, 1988)
“I Can’t Live Without My Radio (Original Style)” on Indie Top 20 Vol IV Part 1 – State Of Independents (Beechwood Music, 1988)
“Asbestos Lead Asbestos (Live)” on Sniffin Rock #7 (Sniffin Rock Magazine, 1988)
“Hit Me Little Children (Hard Kid Mix)” on 21st Century Quakemakers (BBAT, 1989)
“Asbestos Lead Asbestos” on Rough Trade Shop – Post Punk 01 (Mute, 2003)