The Newtown Neurotics hailed from Harlow in Essex; a stereotypically inhospitable and lifeless post-war “new town” of grey concrete and roundabouts (a la Stevenage or Milton Keynes) – from whence came their name.
Coming together in the spring of 1978, their hometown also helped shape their lyrical and political stance. The Neurotics were rabidly anti-Thatcher, and stood firmly up for what they believed in while producing powerful but tuneful punk anthems such as Licensing House, Living With Unemployment, and the mighty Kick Out The Tories (May 1982).
The Neurotics became increasingly involved in the agit-pop and ranting poetry scenes throughout the 80s, regularly playing at benefits alongside the likes of Attila the Stockbroker.
Their debut album, Beggars Can Be Choosers, was an entertaining yet pertinent mix of scathing observation and new wave power and produced a cover of The Ramones‘ Blitzkrieg Bop. Suzie is a Heartbreaker (1984) once more had hints of The Ramones.
The band then dropped the “Newtown” from their name, signing to Jungle Records and releasing Repercussions (1985).
The Neurotics turned up occasionally during the late 80s while the new decade was celebrated with 45 Revolutions Per Minute, a singles compilation of the band’s “twelve blazing rock anthems” from 1979 to 1984.
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” was brought in to play bass for some farewell shows 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) backed Steve Drewett from 2007.
Original bassist, Colin Dredd (Masters) died on 19 May 2015.
Colin Dredd (Masters)