Biography All Music GuideWikipedia
All Music Guide:
Of the countless bands to emerge from the New York City underground during the post-punk era, few if any were as unique and influential as the Feelies; nerdy, nervous, and noisy, even decades later their droning, skittering avant-garde pop remains a key touchstone of the American indie music scene. Named in reference to Aldous Huxley's paranoid classic Brave New World, the Feelies formed in 1976 in suburban Haledon, NJ, where singers/guitarists Bill Million and Glenn Mercer first met while in high school; bassist John J. and drummer Dave Weckerman rounded out the original lineup, although they were replaced in 1977 by bassist Keith Clayton and drummer Vinny Denunzio. The revamped group soon made its N.Y.C. debut, quickly creating a buzz throughout the city's new wave circuit -- a Village Voice headline even dubbed them "The Best Underground Band in New York."
Drummer Anton Fier replaced Denunzio in 1978, and a year later the Feelies cut their debut single, "Fa Ce-La," for the British indie Rough Trade. Their refusal to work with outside producers jeopardized their immediate hopes for a major-label deal, however, and so their brilliant 1980 LP, Crazy Rhythms, instead appeared on another U.K. indie, Stiff; the record's manic melodies, jittery rhythms, and opaque lyrics made it a huge critical favorite, and although it made little impact outside of underground circles, many latter-day acts -- R.E.M. chief among them -- cited the album as a major influence. Still, Crazy Rhythms' commercial failure sat badly with Stiff, which began pressuring the Feelies to produce a hit single; the pressure ultimately forced the group into a kind of suspended animation, with Fier soon exiting to join the Lounge Lizards and later mounting the Golden Palominos.
With the Feelies out of action for the better part of the early '80s, the remaining members turned their focus to a variety of side projects -- in 1982, Million and Mercer reunited to compose the score to Susan Seidelman's film Smithereens, concurrently playing in a series of Jersey-area bands including Weckerman's new outfit Yung Wu, the Trypes (who issued the 1984 EP The Explorers Hold), and the instrumental Willies. Finally, Million and Mercer reactivated the Feelies banner in 1983, reuniting with Weckerman as well as two of their Willies bandmates, percussionist Stanley Demeski and bassist Brenda Sauter; still, the revitalized group's performance schedule was sporadic at best, limited primarily to holiday appearances. Finally, they entered the studio with producer Peter Buck of R.E.M., releasing the folky The Good Earth on Coyote in 1986.
That same year, the Feelies appeared in director Jonathan Demme's film hit Something Wild; combined with critical praise for The Good Earth, the group's raised media visibility caught the attention of A&M, which released the follow-up, Only Life, in 1988. Time for a Witness followed in 1991, but on July 5 of that year the Feelies gathered at the Maxwell's club in Hoboken, NJ to play their final show -- soon after Million unexpectedly moved to Florida without telling any of his bandmates, not even leaving a forwarding address. In the months to follow Demeski began playing in Luna, Sauter worked with Speed the Plough and Wild Carnation, and Mercer and Weckerman reteamed in Wake Ooloo; when that band fell apart in 1998 after three LPs for the Pravda label, the duo again joined forces to form another new unit, Sunburst.
In the summer of 2008 the classic 1983 lineup held a low-key reunion, opening for Sonic Youth and playing two sold-out shows at Maxwell's. A year later they appeared at a tribute to R.E.M. concert at Carnegie Hall and performed at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Monticello NY, playing the Crazy Rhythms album in its entirety. The band signed with Bar/None that same year, and began work on a new album. Recorded at Water Music in Hoboken, 2011's Here Before represented the outfit's first collection of new music in nearly 19 years.
The Feelies are an American rock band from Haledon, New Jersey. They formed in 1976 and disbanded in 1992 having released four albums. The band reunited in 2008, and most recently released an album in 2011.
The Feelies rarely worked with outside producers and created shimmering soundscapes with multiple guitar layers that set them apart from most of the punk/New Wave bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s. They frequently played at Maxwell's, a live music venue and bar restaurant in Hoboken during the 1980s, often on national holidays.
Although the Feelies never sold a great number of records, their influence was felt on the indie rock scene. Their first album, Crazy Rhythms (Stiff Records, 1980) was cited by R.E.M. as a major influence. Several bands have in turn influenced the Feelies, including The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. The novelist Rick Moody has also cited the band as one of his influences.
Early history 
The band's name is taken from a fictional entertainment device described in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Glenn Mercer, Bill Million, Dave Weckerman and vocalist Richard Reilly began playing together in 1976 in Haledon, New Jersey in a band called the Outkids. The Outkids evolved into the Feelies with the addition of Vinny DeNunzio on drums and John Papesca on bass.
In 1978, the Village Voice dubbed the then-unsigned Feelies "The Best Underground Band in New York". With the line-up of Mercer, Million, Vinny DeNunzio's brother Keith DeNunzio on bass and Anton Fier on drums, the Feelies released their first single, "Fa Cé-La", on Rough Trade Records in 1979.
The Feelies' debut album, Crazy Rhythms, was released on Stiff Records in 1980, featuring the same line-up as on the "Fa Cé-La" Rough Trade single.
After Crazy Rhythms, Fier and Keith DeNunzio left the band. With the Feelies in limbo, Mercer and Million collaborated with other local New Jersey musicians, forming one of a number of Feelies offshoots, The Trypes, featuring some once and future Feelies members, including Brenda Sauter, Dave Weckerman and Stanley Demeski, as well as John Baumgartner, Marc Francia and Toni Paruta. The Trypes, quieter and more psychedelic than the Feelies, played regular live gigs around the New York/Hoboken scene at clubs such as Maxwell's and Folk City. In 1984, Coyote Records released a Trypes 12" EP produced by Million and Mercer, The Explorers Hold, featuring three original songs (credited to Mercer alone or with other band members), plus a cover of the George Harrison song, "Love You To", which originally had appeared on The Beatles' Revolver. The Trypes also contributed a Million/Mercer-produced original song, "A Plan Revised", to the 1985 Coyote anthology of Hoboken acts, Luxury Condos Coming To Your Neighborhood Soon. Some members of the Trypes later formed the band Speed The Plough.
Million, Mercer, Sauter, Demeski and Baumgartner also gigged around New York and Hoboken under the name, Yung Wu, which was fronted by and featured the songs of Feelies' percussionist Dave Weckerman, who also sang lead. Yung Wu released one album on Coyote Records in 1986, titled Shore Leave. It featured Weckerman originals, plus covers of "Big Day", "Child of the Moon", and "Powderfinger", a staple of their live gigs.
The Willies, also known as The Willies From Haledon, were yet another Feelies offshoot that played around the New York/Hoboken clubs in the early 1980s. The Willies shared a similar lineup as the later Feelies, but their live sets consisted mostly of cover songs, extended instrumentals and psychedelic jams, such as "Third Stone From the Sun" and "Sedan Delivery". The Feelies' appearance in Jonathan Demme's Something Wild was credited to the Willies.
Later Feelies 
The members of the Feelies never stopped playing and collaborating in the 1980s, earning them the distinction of being "the New York area's best-loved underground rockers since the late 1970s", according to Jon Pareles of the New York Times in 1986. The band occasionally even performed under the name "The Feelies", often on holidays at Maxwell's. At least one such gig featured a reunion of the Crazy Rhythms line-up of Million, Mercer, DeNunzio and Fier. By the late 1980s, the band re-emerged from their self-imposed exile with new members and their first new album in six years.
Reformed as a quintet featuring Mercer, Million, Weckerman, Sauter and Demeski, the Feelies recorded The Good Earth in 1985 with Peter Buck of R.E.M. on board as co-producer with Mercer and Million. The album was released in 1986 and featured ten original Mercer/Million compositions. The band toured in support of the album as an opening band for Lou Reed as well as R.E.M. that year.
In 1988, the Feelies signed to a major label and released the album Only Life on A&M Records. The lineup was the same as The Good Earth, and Mercer and Million again handled production duties. The disc was a critical favorite, coming in at No. 27 on the Village Voice's 1988 Pazz & Jop critics' poll, beating out such noteworthy competition as R.E.M.'s major-label debut, Green, as well as the debut efforts by Jane's Addiction and the Sugarcubes. Recently, the album's title track has been used as the introductory music for the Harvard Business Review's HBR Idea Cast
The band's final album before a hiatus, Time for a Witness, was released on A&M in 1991. The album broke little new ground from Only Life but still earned the band critical praise.
As of March 2011 The Feelies had released an album entitled Here Before produced by Bill Million and Glenn Mercer, on the Bar/None record label. The band remains "one of the nation's most beloved alternative-rock bands."
The band played reunion shows in the summer and fall of 2008. A performance at Battery Park in NYC with Sonic Youth followed several warm-up shows at Maxwell's.
In June 2009, the band performed an acoustic show at the Whitney Museum. They also headlined a show at Millennium Park in Chicago.
In September 2009, they performed Crazy Rhythms live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series.
Bar/None Records reissued Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth on September 8, 2009. Domino Records will reissue both albums outside of the U.S. and Canada.
The Feelies have reunited sporadically over the last two decades to play concerts at their early home at Maxwell's. The band most recently performed there for three consecutive nights on July 1–3, 2011.
Film appearances 
The band was featured in a Jonathan Demme movie called Something Wild playing as a high school reunion band; however, they did not feature on the soundtrack. Credited as "The Willies", they performed bits of five songs, including "Crazy Rhythms" and "Loveless Love" as well as covers of David Bowie's "Fame" and the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" (written by Neil Diamond). The Feelies song "Too Far Gone" made it on to the soundtrack for the Demme film Married to the Mob. Million and Mercer were also brought together by director Susan Seidelman to create the score for her film, Smithereens. The song "Let's Go" from the band's second album "Good Earth" is featured on the soundtrack of Noah Baumbach's 2005 quirky indie film "The Squid and the Whale".
"Loveless Love" was used on the soundtrack of Olivier Assayas's 2010 film Carlos.