The Needs were formerly known as Special Needs.
You are politely introduced, perhaps over a gin and tonic, to Andrew Pearson and Daniel Shack on guitars, to Philip James on the bass, and to Neil Allan who hits drums. Finally you simply must meet Zac Stephenson who sings the songs. Together they make up the only band around that offers more than just good hair.
“We met, became fast friends, started a band. It’s that bloody simple. We just want to live up the days, and prolong the hours; the saddest, most crushing sound you can hear is that of the last orders bell.”
For Special Needs, it is somehow just not quite enough to go and buy the Strokes album, and talk about how the second song changed your life then maybe get off with someone, and perhaps wear some bloody basketball trainers. Special Needs are the antithesis of this. They wanted funfairs and heartbreak but all they got was hell. Temporary jobs, temporary housing, temporary clothes and temporary pleasures. Now their desire is to uplift, to improve this most temporary of existences.
“If our records sell, then we’ll smoke crack at the summit of Everest in Spiderman suits, dogfight in Spitfires on a Sunday over the Thames, drink the cheapest wines from Cleopatra’s goblets, arrive at the Brit awards in a pink limousine with Phil Spector, and sell our songs to Vodaphone just so we can buy Slough and turn it into an amazing 24-hour theme park. With us you get a home, and something to actually do.”
Trying to create something led them to start their own club night in the darkest recesses of West London last year. There were new bands, and DJs; there was an alcoholic dog and a pantalooned compare. People were entertained until they were tired and merry, yet the spiteful and weary forced its demise. For their next trick the band will create something even more wonderful.
At the moment listening to music is very much the same as being in topshop, totally transitory and straight. Why, when it is so very simple? There are lots of bands out there with great sound but no songs. Special Needs began as five boys in a room playing for their lives songs that are both the rhythm and the blues, sonic reverberations of the first time your hand met a girl’s, the crash of the fuzz-box that will take us together all around these isles, running through the sadness.
The band themselves prefer not to discuss their sound, leaving that to all the tired hacks with their hyperbole and pigeonholing. “It will inevitably follow, so why pre-empt it? All we do is try to write the most ludicrously beautiful pop songs ever written, but cheap guitars and frustration turns them into something quite different.”
Their songs are their lives, or more importantly, their lack of them. Every word and sound uttered has come from the crassness of their daily activities and their desire to do so much more. There is no illusion. “As human beings we are Blackpool Tower, once beautiful, but now crumbling and forgotten, with no sense of direction or ambition other than this hope called Special Needs. Without this band, at least half of us would go to the dogs, but we will not stop believing that life can be one long funfair.”
Contact Zee Ahmad at Digital Sneakers Management on: 07815 059 672