Felt – “Primitive Painters”

Felt – “Primitive Painters”
Felt - "Primitive Painters"

It’s not unreasonable to assume that a chart-topping single – even on the UK indie charts – in 1985 would have a video, given it was the MTV era. However if you were to go looking for the clip for “Primitive Painters”, Felt‘s luminous chart-topper from 1985’s Ignite The Seven Cannons, built on Maurice Deebank’s jangly guitars and Martin Duffy’s keys, to say nothing of Elizabeth Fraser’s soaring backing vocals, you’ll probably be surprised/amused/confused by what you find.

The clip, as exists on YouTube, is just a dour-looking Lawrence and bassist Phil King standing around a house holding guitars, neither even attempting to mime playing the song. That is because, according to Lawrence in an expansive interview about the song with Uncut, the clip was never finished and shouldn’t even be out there – but the internet is going to internet.

 “I don’t know why but it was mooted that we should do a video for “Primitive Painters”. It got half made. Cherry Red and Creation were meant to pay for it together, pay half each. Cherry Red came up with their half because they initiated the project, and McGee didn’t pay his half. So we did half a video with Phil’s friend Danny. What you see on YouTube is half a video. We were meant to do another half and join it together, have stuff superimposed over the top, have extra scenes. But all you can see really is me and Phil in Phil’s house in Hammersmith, just standing around. It’s ridiculous. I was so embarrassed when it leaked out.”

– Lawrence, Uncut July 2015

You can read the entire piece below:

And in March 2018, Outsideleft Music talked to Maurice Deebank about why Ignite was his final record with Felt and why “Primitive Painters” was a big part of his departure:

This Is How Maurice Deebank Felt @ Outsideleft Music

And the recent Felt reissues – including his undoing some of Robin Guthrie’s original work on Ignite 30 years later – are one of the topics in an expansive interview by Clash with Lawrence in February 2018:

Strong Melodies For Humdrum Lives: The Singular Vision Of Lawrence @ Clash

So here’s that half-a-video:

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