Kick Out! The Newtown Neurotics Story

Kick Out! The Newtown Neurotics Story

Director and Writer: Luke Baker

Release: 09/05/2023

The Newtown Neurotics are at last having their incredible story told. This is thanks to Luke Baker‘s documentary Kick Out! The Newtown Neurotics Story. It’s been a long time in the making. With the result being a tale inspiring, genuine and needed.  Throughout their tenure The Newtown Neurotics never deviated from their punk inspired political ideals. They drew from the musical styles emphasized by The Ramones urgency while invoking the spirit of The Clash’s demand for political action.  For them punk wasn’t a simple fashion statement, rather it’s a way of life drawing from the heart of revolutionary conviction and social consciousness.

To tell this tale Kick Out! The Newtown Neurotics Story   draws from the perspectives of Newtown Neurotics frontman Steve Drewett, drummer Simon Lomond, original bassist Colin Dredd (archival footage) . In addition, a considerable number of collaborators and friends contribute to their story. This includes Billy Brag, Attila The Stockbroker, John Langford, Kevin Jones (The Sods), Adam Smith (current Newtown Neurotics basest), and author Matthew Worley (No Future: Punk, Politics, And British Youth Culture, 1976-1984).  

Kick Out! The Newtown Neurotics Story explores The Newtown Neurotics formation Harlow, Essex during the first wave of punk in 1979. They mixed punk and rock n’ roll sensibilities, but they also walked the walk. To promote their music, they started their own label, No Wonder Records, and even approached the likes of BBC Radio 1’s John Peel to play their material. Songs like “When The Oil Runs Out” and “Kick Out The Tories” stood out as political punk anthem to believe in. The former “When The Oil Runs” out unapologetically demanding it’s listener to look at how oil runs their lives. While “Kick Out The Tories” rallies one to act for the removal of the conservative government.

Their approach to music and activism found themselves in a seemingly destined direct conflict with the political turmoil of their day. This started with Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government gaining power in1979 and raising the pressing plants standard VAT rate from 9% to 15%. This caused significant delays in releasing The Newtown Neurotics’ first record as they scrambled to pay additional costs.  In practice, this would be The Newtown Neurotics’ first but certainly not last confrontation with staggering oppression of Margaret Thatcher’s Neo-Liberal shock treatment. Later they would lend their support to Britain’s striking miners who opposed Thatcher closing of the coal minds in the north of England. During which they would find camaraderie with Billy Brag, Atilla the Stockbroker and the Ranting Poets.  

Later The Newtown Neurotics found opportunities behind the Iron Curtain as they were among the first western bands to tour the German Democratic Republic. This venture also included working with Bragg and Stockbroker. There they played to the emerging (and often underground) East German punk scene, while also under the close observation of the Stasi. Although treated like rock stars, these experiences allowed the Newtown Neurotics to reflect on their socialist idealism. Though it is important to note, it did not deter them from seeking a better world, rather it reinforced it.

 Although The Newtown Neurotics initially retired in October of 1988, their absence was not permanent.  They reformed in 2005 with fellow Harlow alumni Adam Smith on Bass and David Walsh (Drums), with Lomond returning to the drums in 2015. Thankfully, The Newtown Neurotics seem to be here for the long run and their socio-political commentary has never been needed more.

This tenacity is reflected in their latest album Cognitive Dissidents released 10/21/2022. The signature track “Climate Emergency” is radically desperate. In it  Drewett laments the incoming perils of human driven climate change. This is done with the same kind of determination invoked in their earlier material. It’s a worthy continuation of The Newtown Neurotics sound and ought to be heard.

For fans of punk and rock n’ roll Kick Out! The Newtown Neurotics Story proudly gives us a tale of how punk music and action shaped the struggles of a generation. For many, punk was once a force for pushing against the tides of despair and doom.  The Newtown Neurotics were among those who bravely led that charge. Maybe with their continued presence over the airwaves it still can be. Watch this film, it’s a must.

For more about Kick Out: The Newtown Neurotics Story click here.



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