Just before an Evil Rocks gig at the Islington Bar Academy -I manage to round up all five Special Needs boys and squeeze them into a closet room backstage. For a band who has just been on the road after playing a gig in Cardiff, landing in London at 3am and having to keep it together for an XFM session before tonight, it wouldnt really be surprising if they were a bit frazzled.
But these young scallies are pretty much revved up to go as they playfully
lark about. The only one thing that puts a dampener on their free spirited frolicking
is their disheartening surroundings.
This venues really poor. It doesnt inspire us at all. Wed rather be somewhere like the Infinity Bar or play somewhere where there is excitement in the air, says guitarist Andrew, lounging in a red and black pin striped blazer.
Other guitarist Daniel vents: Its in a bloody shopping centre and seriously lacking in atmosphere.
Further revelations come from lead singer Zachary.
Last time we played here we had to tell the management to turn off Hells Kitchen playing on a screen behind us.
It was quite distracting but very entertaining at the same time, pitches in a wispy poodle haired Phil, who plays bass.
However, this doesnt stop them from later wooing the audience into a
frenzy, mainly generated by doting female members lunging at the stage while
reciting their songs wholeheartedly back at them. This alone is testament that
this London band is destined for greater things. But when it comes to being
dazzled by the same fame promise as their contemporaries, Special Needs are
far from bothered.
We feel absolutely no pressure from having to live up to the likes of The Libertines or Razorlight because although they are decent bands, weve got our own agenda and dont feel they bare any importance on us whatsoever, says Zac - a charm for those who are a sucker for a doe-eyed, dark haired, suave Southern Irish lad.
He adds: There was this programme for the BBC about DIY Dalston guerrilla gigs.
We were just wondering whatever happened to writing songs and bringing beautiful melodies to people?
This leads to a further rant from Andrew: People just seem too obsessed with playing tube trains. Its quite exciting in a way but weve still got to listen to crap on the tube.
Just because someone whos been in the NME is doing it, it doesnt make it anymore exciting.
A lot of London bands at the moment just want to take crack, wear stupid hats and write songs about being sick in the gutter. Every band I see is like that at the moment.
Such a bold statements from ones so young so who exactly are these sprightly souls? Well for a start, Special Needs are far more content with escaping the mundane and enjoying the simple things in life without all the hyped up heights of hedonism. With a sixties meets new wave punk sound and with more sha la la la la, do wop choruses than you can shake a stick at, they are noticeably musically vibrant. Im told that most of their inspiration comes from dogs on streets, conkers, darts and other such innocent things. And there has been talk that they are the Gay Razorlight, while others have branded them as a cross between Sho-wadi-wadi and Shakin Stevens, all of which they find flattering compliments.
I think because our music goes back to the 50s, 60s and
70s we have a lot of old fans. I dont know if their interest is
primarily musical or sexual. Were pretty good looking gentlemen, but girls
our own age dont seem to have an interest. With the older generation were
some sort of pin-ups, explains Andrew mischievously.
Well be doing a tour of old peoples homes next month, adds Zac showing off his piquant wit.
Jesting aside, there is a certain excitement to them. With an infectious pop
sensibility, they are also able to carry over an honest raw appeal, which pioneers
the legacy of heros like The Kinks and Phil Spector. And the tunes are
just the beginning of their journey, as they intend to use this as a platform
to build -up their own little cosy fun filled creative hot spot.
We want to buy a pub and call it Blue Skies, where we will record an album to be named after it. Blue Skies will be a community a permanent fixture of hope, explains Andrew unable to contain his excitement.
Its kind of like bringing out side streets into a main road, where youve got Smiths and Virgin on either side and then youve got Blue Skies smacked right in between them.
It will be the loveliest pub and the most grandest building in the town - were all going to work there. Ill probably be the bar tender, some of these guys will clean the darts board and everyone will live there.
Phil adds: Anyone is welcome to join us including comedians and puppeteers.
This is followed an impromptu puppet mastering attempt by Andrew with a bottle of Carling, giving licence to a lot of sniggering more notably from Neil, the drummer who although is very quiet, is one of the main attractions on stage for many a roving eye.
Plans for this utopian venture have already begun with their debut single,
Francesca, released earlier this month through Poptones. Although, theyll
be the first to admit it isnt one of their most cheerful tunes.
Andrew, who proudly wrote it, says: Its a love song to no one and about getting back the same enthusiasm that you had when you were 15 or 16 as well as trying to get a sense of joy out of your body.
Ironically, its probably one of our most maudlin songs, as the others are like the happy fucking clappers most of the time.
But we thought if youre going to put a single in October, youre going to want make it sound like it does around that time of year.
Our next song will probably sound like the Bay City Rollers.
As for a debut album, it's already in the making but the band seem determined
to stick to their philosophy of not being caught up in the whirlwind of the
They hope to keep it real and have decided their album is going to be produced by themselves. However, they admit they are not adverse to a local bar man or Tony Mortimer of East17 producing it if either are willing to offer their services. One things for certain, unlike others, they remain humble and spare us such passé statements like we are the best songwriters of our generation.
Were aware that we are never going to really make any money out of playing music but its just about being able to spread some joy. We dont want to be a band where were just a poster on a tube wall. We want to be like the Goons, says Andrew.
He adds:We spend most of our time just japering around. I dont think we ever do anything. We practice once a month and the rest of the time it descends into crap. I think were pretty good at that, and I think thats where our talents are going to lie in the future.