The Feelies arose in 1976 from the backwater of Haledon, New Jersey (hardly a bastion of cultural activity). Despite their popularity as a live band, they declined to play many shows, especially in New York City (their fan stronghold).
Despite interest from American record companies, the Feelies fled to England for a record contract. After what was virtually a demo came out on Rough Trade, the band signed a multi-album deal with Stiff.
The album Crazy Rhythms (1980) was then imported back to the US via Stiff’s independent US operation.
The music was jittery, thumping and volatile, complementing titles like The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness and Loveless Love. There were long silences, repeated notes, wavering tones, pickups flipped on and off, and any gaps were filled with strange, found percussion instruments, including cans, shoe boxes and coat racks.
Feelies material was developed solely by guitarists Bill Million and Glenn Mercer, much to the occasional discontent of bassist Keith Clayton and drummer Anton Fier, who both left the band after Crazy Rhythms.
Mercer and Million collaborated with other local New Jersey musicians, forming a number of Feelies offshoots, including The Trypes, Yung Wu, and The Willies (also known as The Willies From Haledon).
The band occasionally even performed under the name “The Feelies”, often on holidays at Maxwell’s – a live music venue and bar restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey.
By the late 1980s, the band re-emerged properly with new members and their first new album in six years.
Reformed as a quintet featuring Mercer, Million, Dave Weckerman, Brenda Sauter and Stanley Demeski, The Feelies recorded The Good Earth in 1985 with Peter Buck of R.E.M on board as co-producer.
In 1988, the Feelies signed to A&M and released the album Only Life. The band’s final album before a hiatus, Time for a Witness, was released on A&M in 1991.
In March 2011, The Feelies released an album entitled Here Before. Their sixth studio album, In Between, was released in February 2017.
Guitar, vocals, keyboards
Keith Clayton (DeNunzio)
Bass, violin, vocals