What is it?
Bored of new town life and inspired by the first wave of punk, Steve Drewett, Colin Dredd and Tiggy Barber (later Simon Lomond) formed the Newtown Neurotics.
Kick Out is the story of that journey, from the concrete slabs of Harlow, Essex, to the bombed-out streets of East Germany. Along with the likes of Billy Bragg and Attila the Stockbroker, the band became the voice of the disenfranchised and the social conscience of a country in flux.
The aim of Kick Out is to capture the essence of the time, explore the events which molded the band's worldview and examine their place in British music history.
The response the documentary has been immense and has secured interviews with notable figures from the Neurotics history. These include, but not limited to;
Billy Bragg - Singer, songwriter and left-wing activist
Attila The Stockbroker - Poet, musician and songwriter, long time associate of the band and Steve Drewett's best friend
Phill Jupitus - Stand-up and improv comedian, actor, performance poet, cartoonist, and podcaster, also known as Porky the Poet
Steve Lamacq - English disc jockey, BBC Radio 6 Music
Garry Bushell - Newspaper columnist, music journalist, television presenter, author and political activist
Why are you making this film?
With the current backdrop of austerity and Brexit, The Neurotics are as relevant as ever. With their impending fortieth anniversary, now seems the perfect opportunity to both reflect and look forward.
Despite their initial run being relatively short, the band's reach and influence are apparent, not just in the UK but across the globe. Like for so many bands of that era, the emergence of the internet has given a new lease of life to the words and music, striking a chord and inspiring a new and angry generation.
Luke J. Baker, Director
Like all good ideas, the premise of the film began at a bar, specifically The Square in Harlow. The Square, which closed in January 2017, was the cultural beacon of Harlow and was a second home to the town's outcasts and creatives. The venue played a big part in the band's history as well as Baker's own creative endeavours so it's highly fitting that the film's seeds were sowed within the walls of The Square.
“What started as a simple video idea quickly grew into something much bigger. What struck me during our initial meetings was how relevant the lyrics Steve wrote over thirty years ago were still today.
While mainstream success alluded them, they have quite the pedigree in terms of their fan base, their historic shows behind the iron curtain and Steve’s solo shows in North Korea and Cuba. On one hand, you could say it’s a film about a band that has continuously evolved with the political and social changes around them. On the other, it's a film about how many of the issues and problems tacked in the band's lyrics still resonate today as much as they did back then.
It's been encouraging to see the response from those we have approached to appear in the documentary. Many are eager to contribute and be a part of it and the quality of the interviews and insight has been invaluable.
Whatever lies ahead for this film, to be able to create something of a time capsule for the band has been incredibly rewarding and I feel privileged that Steve and the band have agreed to let me be the person to tell their story.
Another great thing about producing this film is seeing just how broad the bands reach has been. Many of the faces from back in the day have gone on to carve their own careers such as Phill Jupitus, Steve Lamacq, and of course, Billy Bragg, going to show just how vibrant and overflowing with talent those early days were. What amazed me was, when they reformed, the Neurotics came back to bigger audiences then they had during their initial run. I was eager to explore that and see why."
Steve Drewett, Newtown Neurotics Singer-songwriter
"To feel dead when you are still alive is worse than actual nonexistence; there is a limited amount of time when you are young that you can still believe in your own potential.
In 1977, Punk shook us violently by our shoulders and bellowed ‘NOW!’ or never. At this point, a crossroads appeared and without selling our souls to the devil, we burst into life and became the Newtown Neurotics and followed the road to the left. As a band we have been stupidly wealthy in a country that no longer exists; then went home to be cleverly poor in a Kingdom that may soon, no longer exist. We have appeared on television in a country that earlier in the day had thrown me out. We have been threatened by racists and yet, through our music, taught some of them to turn to love, from hate. We have had violence perpetrated upon us but have been more than protected by the devotion of our fans. We have lived and laughed and lost good friends, yet all the time tried to warn anyone that would listen that we, as a country, as a world, we're heading for disaster.
The current political crisis in the west was predicted by us and others as far back as 1980 as we added a socialist slant to our songs. From that point on we pleaded that people wake up to the slowly unfolding nightmare that has now produced Brexit and Trump. In 1982 we released our third single ‘Kick Out The Tories’ which immediately slammed whatever doors may have been open to us firmly shut, but that didn’t stop us because we believed that music was only worth making if it was lived, heart and soul. Listening to music can be very enjoyable but rarely is it inspirational. This was the high bar we aimed for, rather than the top of charts. In the process, we traveled the world to discover new friends and fans who confessed that our music changed their lives.
Our journey has been shared by Phill Jupitus, Billy Bragg, Steve Lamacq, among many other musicians and journalists. The ideological war against the poor and the working class has led us to the crisis of capitalism we all witness today. If it is true that you need to walk a mile in a person’s shoes to really know them, then it is equally relevant that you need to watch an hour or more of a bands documentary to truly understand them too.
I am extremely excited to be involved with Luke Baker to tell this tale of rock ‘n’ roll madness and the fight for Freedom, Equality, and Respect. I have a very high opinion of his previous work and believe that together we can tell a fascinating and unique tale. Don’t take things lying down, take them standing up, Kick Out and kick back. This is a tale of forty years refusing to lie down whilst making music to lift us all up. We are still here, still fighting back! The future is still to be made, please help make it by donating to this Kickstarter project. Democracy needs you! The Newtown Neurotics need you! Let’s make this thing!
Kick Out The Tories, now!"
Making films is an expensive endeavor - especially without the financial backing of a studio or producers. It also requires the expertise of experienced professionals and modern facilities to create the best possible product. The set amount we hope to reach is the bare minimum we need to make the film a reality. Exceeding the target will give us an even wider chance to get this film seen across the world.
The funds raised will be used in the following ways;
- Editing, colour grading, and sound design
- Purchasing copyrighted stock footage and music
- Storage of large high-quality video files and deliverables (DCP, DVD)
- Submissions to national and international film festivals
- Travel expenses for interviewees and crew
- PR and marketing
- Any extra money raised above the target will be re-invested in increasing the film’s reach. This includes a tour of screenings around the country as well as Europe
Your contributions will be exchanged for a number of rewards relating to both the film and the band themselves. These include;
- A limited edition film poster
- Neurotics vinyl sleeves
- Film t-shirt
- A one-off exclusive painting from London artists', Savage Communication
- Tickets to a screening of the film in London including Q+A
- Producer and Executive Producer credit
We plan to establish a strong social media presence over the course of this campaign in addition to when we have a finished product to share with the world. You can follow our journey and receive regular updates through our social accounts;
Trailer cover photo by Tony Mottram
Risks and challenges
Producing a feature-length documentary poses several risks that can hinder the progress or even completion. It’s a significant undertaking and one that needs collaboration and dedication to pull off.
The aim is the have a complete cut ready in time for August 2018. This is an ambitious aim but one that can be achieved if we gain enough support.
Getting an independent film out there is no easy task. They key will be to make the film as accessible as possible - for both fans and potential distributors. Film Festivals are the best way forward and gives potential to future successes such as streaming apps, television and distribution.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)