Interviewed by Mr Spencer.
"A lot of it is concerned with violence; violence is watched on television, is allowed on television and is a point of discussion continually, it's part of the whole fabric of world events." "But to actually show nakedness on TV, or sex , or love, is something they just won't have. I mean, the balance between the two reflects the state of this society."
Actually, The Neurotics are almost without doubt nothing like you'd expect them to be. They are a) thoroughly musical and b) very reasonable, and they adore conversation. Yet nothing they say is embarrassing, not even under the influence of alcohol. In fact, they are probably among the best Punk/Rock/Soul (Soul!) bands in the country, despite the dark cloud of relative obscurity that persists in lingering above their heads - a challenge, if ever there was one.
I freely admit to having heard only two Neurotics records these being 1982's 'Mindless Violence' single - impressive for the way in which, at certain moments, Steve Drewett's voice trembles ever so slightly with emotion, stamping 'Sincerity' all over the thing and filling the listener with a genuine respect - and the brand new 'Repercussions' mini album, admirable for its compassion, warmth and reasoned argument.
Both discs strike me as being motivated by and infused with a wonderful engaging human quality, which is perhaps what interests me most of all about the Neurotics - this and the exciting story behind the removal of the prefix 'Newtown' from their name.
Tonight, the group are in full flow, eager to dive in at the deep end and wallow up to their necks in words. The English language is lapping all around us , ripples of conversation splash against our skin and, as planned, I begin by drawing parallels between love and violence (mindless or otherwise) - pinching hard on my nose and going under.
"A lot of violence stems from the inability to come to terms with emotions which you've never been prepared to meet," says Steve. "Even people who are quite emotional and unafraid to discuss love, after they've talked about it, they go home feeling a little bit shameful; they're baring their souls, it's something that is not talked about. Taboo." We will return to this later.
Are the Neurotics a greatly misunderstood band?
Steve: "Oh yeah. For instance, we've had so many good reviews, they were coming so thick and fast at one time people were expecting something. I don't know what they were expecting, but there is definitely a situation where, so far as the music-buying public is concerned, one lot of people view us as one particular band, and the other lot view us as another, and both of them are wrong." "The first pre-requisite in getting a band off the ground" the gently padding singer adds, "is - as someone quite famous once said - Create an image, and most bands do that. But my attitude from the beginning has been that we're talking no bullshit. There's no way we're going to start being anything that we aren't; we're coming across just as we are, and that may be boring so far as entertainment is concerned, but that is the way it's going to be.
Can you foresee a time where you've yet to make a big impression upon the world, and inevitable you pack it all in?
"No," answers guitarist Colin, firmly and with apparent sincerity, "never in a million years. It may take us longer than other bands, but everything we do, it's always going up a rung. All the time, people are becoming more and more aware of us. You've got to keep a positive outlook."
As socialists, did you feel a sense of helplessness upon learning of Norman Fowler's plan to streamline the Welfare System?
Simon: "you feel like you're a lone voice standing on the outside, and it doesn't matter how much you shout, nobody's going to listen. It's bloody frustrating, and so many of my friends have been caught out by that it's untrue.
"The Lodgings Bill that just went through - where they take away everyone's lodging money and force them" (people without work)" to move on after four weeks - that was incredible."
Colin: "It's a hard thing to try and rationalise, that the Government of your country is fundamentally evil. It takes some thinking."
We argue about the relevance of the word 'evil' for a good ten minutes, and end up discussing the value of Releasing The Pressure.
Does it help, being able to sing and shout and scream about these insane people?
Colin: "Yeah, it's the primal scream. And, apart from this we know that when we get up onstage we play bloody good rock 'n' roll music for an hour, and people ought to be able to come away with a smile on their face and sweat on their brow."
Let's take a look at the pub talk.
Steve:"A lot of it is concerned with violence; violence is watched on television, is allowed on television and is a point of discussion continually, it's part of the whole fabric of world events."
Colin: "It's openly encouraged"
Steve: "But to actually show nakedness on TV, or sex , or love, is something they just won't have. I mean, the balance between the two reflects the state of this society."
Simon describes to us a recent evening's drinking session, during which a heated argument between two very close friends climaxed with one of the pair striking the other.
"And it was a sad and sorry sight, " he recalls. "The bloke who threw the punch was bawling, he really did cry, and you don't put your arm around another man - that's why thugs have muck-about fights, yet you see women walking down the street arm-in-arm, two best mates, you know?"
Do you adhere to the theory which says that, if men were permitted to cry more openly,
a good deal of the bottled-up tension which leads to violence would be relieved?
Simon: "Yeah I do."
Colin:"I'm an absolute softy. I mean, I watch a wet film on the telly and I'll bawl my eyes out, but I'll feel good for it afterwards.
Steve: "The point is, violence is more acceptable, that's what's crazy about the whole thing."
Simon: "People can accept a bloke hitting somebody, but if they see a man crying, they're going to think, 'My god.'
Steve: "Actually, the worst time is when a person can't do either, that's when it really screws you up, because you come away and it feels like your insides are being destroyed. Your destroying yourself by not having an outlet. People need an outlet."
So, we eventually clamber out of our pool of words dripping ideas and feeling all the more alive for our vigorous two hour communication session.
We have surprised and enlightened even ourselves.
I am impressed.
Colin Dredd in Paris 1994
Copyright: No Wonder Communications