|Origin||Water Orton, Warwickshire, England|
Felt were an English indie pop band, formed in 1979 in Water Orton, Warwickshire, and led by the mononymous Lawrence. They were active for ten years through the 1980s, releasing ten singles and ten albums. The band's name was inspired by Tom Verlaine's emphasis of the word "felt" in the Television song "Venus".
Felt have been cited as an influence by Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, as well as by alternative rock bands Manic Street Preachers, Girls, and The Tyde.
Lawrence founded the band in 1979 with the release of the single "Index", a self-published solo recording. A noisy effort unlike Felt's subsequent records, it was later awarded single of the week by Dave McCullough in music newspaper Sounds.
With Lawrence initially on vocals and guitar, they formed properly in 1980 with the addition of schoolfriend Nick Gilbert on drums and local guitarist Maurice Deebank. Becoming co-writer with Lawrence, Deebank's jangly, classical-influenced style of playing would provide the band's signature sound in its early years.
The band performed as a trio before deciding that bass guitar was needed. Gilbert switched to bass and drummer Tony Race was added. He was replaced soon after by Gary Ainge who would remain the only constant member besides Lawrence throughout the rest of Felt's existence, as well as the only member to play on all ten of their albums.
Felt signed to Cherry Red Records and their first single as a band, "Something Sends Me to Sleep", was released in 1981. Their first album, Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, followed the next year. Gilbert left and was replaced on bass by Mick Lloyd. The band's lineup would then remain unchanged through their next two albums, The Splendour of Fear and The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories. In 1982, the Felt song "My Face Is on Fire" appeared on the bestselling Pillows & Prayers compilation.
In 1985, for the recording of their fourth album, keyboard player Martin Duffy was added and Marco Thomas became bassist. Ignite the Seven Cannons was produced by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins and featured Elizabeth Fraser on the single "Primitive Painters". The song reached the top of the UK independent singles chart.
Deebank departed soon after, prompting a shift in Felt's sound with Duffy's keyboards becoming more central. The lead guitar position would subsequently be filled by an ever-changing succession of players.
The band moved to Creation Records in 1986 and released Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death, the first of two instrumental albums they would record. Their next album, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word, was a conventional collection of songs that gained the band praise and would become regarded by many as their best.
Break up and later
In 1989, Lawrence declared it had been his intention all along to release ten singles and ten albums in ten years and, having done so, announced the end of Felt. After releasing their last album, Me and a Monkey on the Moon, and undertaking a short tour, the band split up. Lawrence went on to form Denim and later, Go Kart Mozart. Duffy joined Primal Scream. Ainge would later play with Vic Godard. Mick Lloyd died in 2016. Subsequent bass player Mick Bund died in 2017.
- Lawrence – vocals and guitar (1979–1989)
- Maurice Deebank – guitar (1980–1985)
- Nick Gilbert – bass and drums (1980–1981)
- Tony Race – drums (1980–1981)
- Gary Ainge – drums and percussion (1981–1989)
- Martin Duffy – keyboards (1985–1989)
- Mick Lloyd – bass (1982–1984; died 2016)
- Marco Thomas – guitar and bass (1985–1987)
- Mick Bund – bass (1988; died 2017)
- Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty (1982), Cherry Red
- The Splendour of Fear (1984), Cherry Red
- The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories (1984), Cherry Red
- Ignite the Seven Cannons (1985), Cherry Red
- Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death (1986), Creation – retitled The Seventeenth Century for the 2018 reissue
- Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (1986), Creation
- Poem of the River (1987), Creation
- The Pictorial Jackson Review (1988), Creation
- Train Above the City (1988), Creation
- Me and a Monkey on the Moon (1989), él
- Gold Mine Trash (1987), Cherry Red
- Bubblegum Perfume (1990), Creation
- Absolute Classic Masterpieces (1992), Cherry Red
- Absolute Classic Masterpieces Volume II (1993), Creation
- Stains on a Decade (2003), Cherry Red
- "Index" (September 1979), Shanghai Records – independent release by Lawrence under the Felt name
- "Something Sends Me to Sleep" (July 1981), Cherry Red
- "My Face Is on Fire" (September 1982), Cherry Red
- "Penelope Tree" (June 1983), Cherry Red
- "Mexican Bandits" (March 1984), Cherry Red
- "Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow" (July 1984), Cherry Red
- "Primitive Painters" (August 1985), Cherry Red
- "Ballad of the Band" (May 1986), Creation
- "Rain of Crystal Spires" (September 1986), Creation
- "The Final Resting of the Ark" (September 1987), Creation
- "Space Blues" (August 1988), Creation
- A Declaration (DVD, 2003), Cherry Red – live in concert, ULU, February 1987
- Pierce, Kevin (1992). "Nick Gilbert Interviewed". Absolute Classic Masterpieces (CD booklet). Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Moreland, Quinn (26 May 2019). "Felt: Forever Breathes the Lonely Word". Pitchfork.
- Hodgkinson, Will (9 October 2003). "Yes man". The Guardian.
- Wallace, Wyndham (18 July 2011). "Tim Burgess On Loving Lawrence & Felt". The Quietus.
- Mackay, Emily (19 May 2009). "Manic Street Preachers Interview". NME.
- Pelly, Jenn (7 November 2011). "Girls Announce New Single "Lawrence"". Pitchfork.
- "Questions of Doom with Darren Radamaker of the Tyde". Bad Vibes.
- Harrison, Ian (May 2012). "Tales of Ordinary Madness". Mojo: 58.
- "Felt Biography". Musician Guide.
- "Felt Biography". Amoeba Music.
- McFadden, Lee. "Felt". Perfect Sound Forever.
- MacBain, Hamish (1 January 2011). "Forever Breathes the Lonely Word". NME.
- McGee, Alan (10 December 2007), "Lawrence: the pop star who relished failure", The Guardian
- Black, Johnny (October 2002), "Where Are They Now?", Q: 61, archived from the original on 10 June 2010CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Felt: A Decade In Music". thefeltdecade.com. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- Flamm, Christian; Sperlinger, Mike, eds. (2010). Foxtrot Echo Lima Tango. London: Johnston & Vock.
- Brouchard, JC (2011). Ballad of the Fan. Paris: Vivonzeureux. ISBN 978-2-9536575-3-1.
- Couillerot, Fabrice; Findlay, Lora; Kelly, Paul, eds. (2011). Felt: The Book. Paris/London: First Third Books.