Felt - Primitive Painters

Felt - Primitive Painters

Primitive Painters

Felt were a 1980s British alternative rock band led by Lawrence, whose surname was never listed in any credits or press; the band's name was inspired by Tom Verlaine's emphasis of the word "felt" in the Television song "Venus". Lawrence and drummer Gary Ainge were the only constant members, though Ainge is not featured on Felt's first release, recorded solo by Lawrence before the band formed. Felt are often cited as a major influence by Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, as well as by Manic Street Preachers, Christopher Owens of Girls, and American alternative rock group The Tyde. The band released ten albums and ten singles in ten years and then disbanded. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

In the 2012 film 'Laurence Of Belgravia', the band's singer suggested that "the only reason Felt didn’t make it was because John Peel didn’t like us", pointing to the DJ's judgment that the title of their debut album, 'Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty', was the worst of all time. [1]

Felt certainly featured relatively rarely in Peel's programmes and unusually for a leading indie band of the era were never offered a session. Their only Festive Fifty entry, 'Primitive Painters', featured Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, but after playing it during the 1985 rundown of listeners' favourites, the DJ commented, "I have to confess that I was never entirely convinced by that."

The bad feeling between Peel and Laurence dated back to the band's debut single. After Peel's lukewarm response to the record, Laurence apparently wrote to him to demand in strong terms the return of the two copies he had sent the DJ. Peel reads out an extract from this lettter on the programme of 03 April 1980. In 'Laurence Of Arabia', band member Pete Astor recalled that when he played a Wisdom Of Harry live session at Peel Acres (on 21 December 2000), the DJ was still upset about the incident of many years before and told him, "I've never had a letter as vitriolic and nasty." [2]

Peel was apparently only able to find one copy of the record and sent this with a handwritten note asking for a bill so he could send Laurence the money for the second. [3]

Perhaps surprisingly, a year after Peel's death, 'Primitive Painters' appeared on the Uncut magazine free tribute CD John Peel's Festive 15.

Festive Fifty Entries


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