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Nick Gilbert and Lawrence [never a last name] were chums from age 11. When Iggy Pop played the Hippodrome with David Bowie on keyboards (in March of '77) Nick and Lawrence fell in love with the opening band, the Vibrators. They started hanging out with Gary Jones [Cult Figures], Roger Taylor and Jeff Thomas [Duran Duran], and became confirmed fans of the Prefects. Lawrence bought a guitar and recorded his own single onto a cassette, which he released in September '79 under the name of "Felt" (past tense of "feel") [Shanghai #1]. Next, Lawrence and Nick decided to make a record together, and with two drums and three chords, the Versatile Newts debuted in early 1980 with 'Newtrition' b/w 'Blimp'. Presently Maurice Deebank joined on [more competent] guitar, and they began playing together as Felt. In the meantime, however, Nick had mailed the 'Newts single to his heroes the Fall - who adored it, and invited the Versatile Newts to open for them in Manchester. Nick nervously advised Mark E. Smith of the name change (fortunately Felt and the Fall had a certain euphony) and the first-ever Felt gig was pronounced a success. (Sadly, Felt never performed the Newts songs live.)
I picked up a copy of the single on ebay. Only played it once - not too keen.
That's Lawrence (credited as 'New Noise') singing then?
Gave it another listen last night - going by the vocal inflection and the odd few words I can pick out it does sound like Lawrence.
I though so (wishful thinking?)
This is very interesting:
Although The Absolute Felt (http://felt-tribute.webs.com/discography/bootlegs.htm#16)is the only cd with pre-historic/unreleased (pre)Felt material.
Is it Pre or post Felt? "Index" - credited to Felt of course - is Shanghai Records No 1 - "Newtrition" is Shanghai Records No 2. Lee the Pedant ;-)
Quite right Lee (historically of course ;))
I got caught...or
Index, for me is just an experiment, not to be considerate per se as a serious Felt track to tell you the truth. Ok, the band's name is the same, Lawrence is there...and that's the only thing in common. :)
Very true Rui - I was only winding.....
BTW - when my missus gets back with her camera I hope to get a couple of photos of Felt souvenirs I have in the web - very interesting.....
We've been wondering about this as well. Here's a quote from Gary Ainge from the zine. It may not give the information wanted, but it's funny:
"The Versatile Newts - I've never heard them. Lawrence never gave me a copy. Talking of Nick Gilbert's Newts, ask him if I can have my Isley Brothers albums back. He's only had them for 30 years".
In the Record Collector article with Lawrence he had said The Versatile Newts were Nick Gilbert's band, with no mention of his own involvement.
The text in this thread's original post -- which seems to originate in the liner notes for the Messthetics compilation where the single was reissued -- clearly states that The Versatile Newts were Lawrence and Nick Gilbert.
The singer on the single (credited as "New Noise") sounds very much like Lawrence. So whoever wrote those liner notes seems to be well-informed.
Thought I'd resurrect this thread from the dead as Lawrence directly answered a question about this on Friday night. Nick Gilbert was his best friend at the time (they were "like brothers") and after Lawrence made Index, Nick said he wanted to do his own single as well. Lawrence told him to get off his **** and do one, and released it on Shanghai. He does not play or sing on the record itself (he said!), it was "nothing to do with him" other than releasing it.
Strange to think that it as Nick's record that got them the support slot with The Fall rather than anything Lawrence (or Maurice) wrote.
It was me who asked the question. PITW - if it is Nick Gilbert singing - the vocals sound uncannily like his old bandmate. Probably that was the vocal style the band thought they should operate.