C86 Show - Indie Pop

The Newtown Neurotics with Steve Drewett

January 12, 2020

The Newtown Neurotics with Steve Drewett in conversation with David Eastaugh

As The Newtown Neurotics, the band began their career playing punk heavily indebted stylistically to The Clash and The Ramones. They released a series of singles from 1979 – later collected on the album 45 Revolutions per Minute – and debut album Beggars Can Be Choosers in 1983. Over the course of the 1980s, the band dropped the "Newtown" from its name and became simply The Neurotics; along with the name change came a stylistic broadening, including slower tempos and horn arrangements. They released several albums on noted UK postpunk label Jungle Recordsincluding Repercussions in 1986 and Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks in 1988.

Lead singer and guitarist Steve Drewett took openly socialist stances in his lyrics throughout the course of the band's career and currently displays an anarcho-syndicalist sticker on his guitar. From 1986 the Neurotics became one of the first Western bands to play behind the Iron Curtain, with successive tours of East Germany alongside artists like Billy Bragg and Attila the Stockbroker.

When bassist Colin Dredd contracted pleurisy, he left the band; Mac (Travis Cut /The Pharaohs /The Skabilly Rebels) was brought in to play bass for some farewell shows (at which the band's entire catalogue was played), and the band called it quits in October 1988.

The band reformed as The Newtown Neurotics for reunion shows in London and Brighton leading up to Blackpool's 2006 Wasted and 2008 Rebellion punk festivals, their biggest British audiences to date. A new rhythm section of David Walsh (Drums) and Adam Smith (Bass) (Both from Harlow Newtown) backed Steve Drewett from 2007, including an appearance in the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool for the 2009 Rebellion Festival. In 2010 Steve Drewett made his first US appearance, playing at The Big Takeover magazine's 30th Anniversary festival.

In 2015, Simon Lomond rejoined the band for a string of dates including a return to the Rebellion Festival. Original bassist, Colin Dredd (Masters), died on 19 May 2015.

In 2018, funds for a full-length documentary on the band's history were successfully raised through Kickstarter. Kick Out!: The Newtown Neurotics Story is directed by Luke J. Baker and is set for completion in 2019.


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