Music Q&A: Pet Needs

Essex punk four piece Pet Needs is made up of brothers Johnny (vocals) and George Marriott (guitar, vocals), Jack Lock (drums) and the newly-introduced Ryan Sharman (bass). Following the release of their debut Fractured Party Music in 2021, the band released the Frank Turner-produced Primetime Entertainment last year before heading out as support on his US tour. Now releasing brand new material including current single, Separation Anxiety, we chat to frontman Johnny ahead of their intimate but high-energy set at Bootleg this Saturday.

Tell us a bit about Pet Needs – who are you and what can we expect from your live show at Bootleg?
We are a four-piece melodic, lyrical punk band who play our own brand of high-energy ‘fractured party music’.
Expect a show that is inclusive, euphoric, reflective and collective!

Who are your musical inspirations?
Our most obvious influences are bands like PUP, Against Me!, Green Day, The Hives and The Bouncing Souls. We are also influenced by the likes of The Streets, Jamie T, Art Brut, La Dispute, Idles, Self Esteem and Yard Act.

Tell us about your new single, Separation Anxiety.
This a subverted, twisted love song. On the surface it’s me shouting about how much I love my wife, but it has an air of desperation to it – as if the character in the tune is trying to prove himself too much – “I love you even more than our dog does!”

We were inspired by some of Nick Cave’s writings about love which are simultaneously beautiful and dark. Ours however, is definitely more tongue in cheek. We wanted the tune, above everything, to be fun!

Will your third album mark an evolution in your sound?
We set ourselves a target to write wall-to-wall bangers. Many fist in the air singalongs! There are also some elements where we experiment with spoken word and more self-reflective subjects, but on the whole it’s a record made to be played live, full of earworms.

What has Ryan, your new bassist, brought the band dynamics?
Ryan is the first ever ‘proper’ musician we’ve had in the band. He’s technically amazing and knows all the theory, which actually massively helped when recording. He is also high energy and adds another level to the already full on punk show!

Tell us about working with Frank Turner – both supporting him on tour and as a producer.
Frank changed our lives and opened so many doors for us. As a producer, you can tell he’s sat next to some of the best in the world. As a tour support he ensured we were looked after and pushed people to buy our merch, to the point that we broke even on our first USA tour, which is unheard of. He still checks in from time to time and is now enjoying watching us continue to grow from afar.

Blackpool has a big punk legacy with Rebellion Festival – are you looking forward to playing here and what else would you like to get up to while you’re here?
Biggest thing about Blackpool – it’s our merch person’s birthday! So we are going to be celebrating for sure. Last time we were in Blackpool we got chips from a cool place on the corner than walked down the front and saw the lights display on the tower. We were deep into tour – our hotel was doing £2 pints of Stellar and we sat on the floor in absolute wonder at the lights, haha.

What’s on your rider?
When there’s budget – health shots! We learnt this from AJJ who we did a few shows with. When we played The Bodega in Nottingham they requested we asked for something unique on the rider, so we asked for an original poem about the show and they didn’t disappoint!

Pet Needs play Bootleg Social on Saturday 18th November. Tickets here.

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    Antonia Charlesworth Stack is a journalist and editor from Blackpool. She was deputy editor of Big Issue North magazine and is editor of Blackpool Social Club. Antonia is also the founder of Reclaim Blackpool, a women's safety campaign that began life as an article she wrote for Blackpool Social Club. She's a contributing author to the Lancashire Stories anthology with her story about a Blackpool performer, The Call of The Sea. The book is available for free in libraries across the county.

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