You Needles Love
One of the most electrifyingly brilliant records of the 21st century
is out later on this month, courtesy of Aberdeens superb band
The Needles (not to be confused with the Japanese three piece of the
same name), and lead singer Dave Dixon was only too happy to talk to
me about The Wombles, Mike Reid and Showaddywaddy. Um
AD: Hi Dave, how are you doing?
DD: Im doing fine. Aah, thats nice.
DD: Oh its ok. Im just sitting in the park at the moment,
getting myself comfortable, and its a lovely sunny day here in
AD: I see. Well, let me make your day even better by telling you
that I think your Under the City e.p. is the best thing
Ive heard in aeons, and has attained a ten out of ten
status on our website
DD: Oh thats marvellous. Good man, Ill have to check
the website out.
AD: Thank you. So now Ive told you how great your single is,
can you tell me what you think it is that makes your music so fresh
DD: Ooh thats a difficult one to pinpoint. Well for one thing,
there seem to be an awful lot of so called rock n roll bands
at the moment who have got the right reference points, but little else.
Theres no real belief in what theyre doing. Whereas weve
always believed totally in what we do so we played as many gigs as we
could we just gigged consistently. I think youve got to
earn your stripes that way, youve just GOT to do it, and youve
also got to put everything into each and every performance.
Another thing Id say about us is that although we are admittedly
very rocky, we still try to write songs that your granny could sing
that Im saying that OAPs should come to our gigs or anything.
I mean, I dont want to be responsible for any premature deaths!
AD: Ha ha, itd get you publicity at least! Anyway, one of the
things that delights me the most is that you put a lot of thought into
your lyrics, something that is sadly lacking in many of todays
artists. So tell me, am I right in my assumption that Under the
City is about not being a sheep in our society?
DD: Well, basically that IS the idea, and the fact that when you
walk down the High Street these days, wherever you are, everything seems
to have bought up by Wetherspoons and McDonalds. Plus its about
the way society reflects and dictates what is acceptable and what isnt.
I guess thats something that a lot of guitar music has always
been about non conformism.
But yeah Ive always been a big lyrics fan. Sure the musics
important, but the lyrics need to complement that and convey an idea.
If you write about things that really hit you in life and get you thinking,
you cant go far wrong.
We always try to approach these situations in a positive way though,
rather than howling morosely at the moon about how bad things are, like
certain other artists I could mention. Of course we have other songs
that are nowhere near as deep, like Teenage Bomb, which
is just about that typical teenage girl thing we all go through, and
Im sure that kind of thing will always be around.
AD: I was playing Under the City to a friend of mine
earlier, and he said it sounded like something from a Rocky
DD: Yeah, I can see that happening! Youd see him training
with his punchbag during the verses and working out, but hed definitely
be jogging in the chorus. I think thats important
AD: So if you WERE writing the score for a film, what kind of picture
would it have to be?
DD: Well I love the Coen Brothers, so it would probably be something
by them. Yes I can see it now, it would be Rocky meets Rollerball
as directed by the Coen Brothers. Oh hang on a minute, thered
need to be a bit of John Hughes in there too, and it would need to have
some kind of zombies
yes, it would have a zombie ending.
AD: That sounds like one fucked up movie! Anything else?
DD: Yes. It would be a musical! Hmm
I wonder how Id pitch
this idea to a Hollywood fat cat
AD: Well Id go and see it anyway! Funny enough, I was discussing
which musicals they should make, with the missus the other day. I thought
Columbo the Musical would be a good one
DD: (astonished laughter) That would have to be a pretty low key
thing wouldnt it? In a smoky old theatre it sounds great!
You could get Mike Reid from Eastenders in it.
DD: No, honestly. I have a fantastic old CD in the garage somewhere
called Mike Read Sings. Itd work, honestly
AD: I had a single by him it was The Ugly Duckling!
Im proud of that fact, just as I am proud of the fact that the
first band I ever saw live was The Wombles
DD: Ah, but was it the ORIGINAL Wombles line up? Because you know,
theyve changed a few times and its not so impressive if
on! Ive got it! How about a musical of Columbo Meets the
AD: Youre starting to scare me now, but I like your style!
And I already have one song its called And Just One
DD: Youll have to let me know how it goes with this musical.
Youve really got me thinking now!
AD: I think Id better move onto some more sensible questions
now though. I cant believe Ive been talking about The Wombles
to you for the past 5 minutes! So, anyway, Im reliably informed
that various members of the band have been hospitalised whilst gigging
at some time or another. Would you care to elaborate?
DD: Oh, just limbs and heads and arses and stuff.
AD: No, I meant how does that happen?
DD: Oh I see. Well youve obviously never seen us live then!
We jump around a lot, smash things and do whatever has to be done, and
you know, things get broken. It doesnt help that our bass players
very tall, and swings around a lot!
How are Showaddywaddy by the way?
DD: Youre from Leicester arent you? I thought youd
AD: Well I THINK theyre still going
DD: I only asked because they played a gig up here in Glasgow a
while back, and they had all their jackets stolen. It made us laugh,
because knowing what the fashion is up here, its not exactly going
to be hard to spot the culprits wearing twelve lime green jackets is
AD: (laughs) Well, trying to get back on to the sensible stuff again,
the Needles have been together for about a decade now. Thats longer
than most bands these days! What is it that drives you?
DD: Well, we formed the band with a notion of playing exciting contemporary
rock n roll. Its something that we felt needed to
be done, and weve never lost sight of that idea. Although weve
evolved over that time, I think its important essentially to hold
on to that whole thing that started us off in the first place. I love
bands like The Ramones because they stuck to their guns and never tried
to be anything that theyre not.
AD: You never had any in house bust ups then?
DD: Well the odd one, you know, but you overcome it. We all went
through the same thing we were skint all the time for a while
but at the end of the day we were all coming from the same place creatively,
and I think thats really important.
AD: I have a very daft question now if you bought a dog, and
when you returned home you found that it had taught itself lead guitar
to the most incredible standard youd ever heard, would you let
it join the band?
DD: Well Id have no objection. It would be just a case of
convincing the other guys. It would be something for the papers anyway.
Of course, you could look upon the shitting on stage as
being a major downfall, but I think wed just see it as more stuff
for us to slide upon. Im not convinced our bass player is fully
toilet trained anyway
AD: That was supposed to leave YOU speechless, but it backfired,
and I really dont know what else I can say to that, so Ill
so which artist do you despise the most at present, and
how would you punish them for it if you had full reign?
DD: Ive actually thought about this before! First of all Id
get two big machines one being a time machine and one a massive
soup making contraption. Then Id go and invite the popular New
York quintet The Strokes to a party. Then Id take them off to
a date in the future in my time machine, and once we were there Id
get them all to step into my soup making machine. Make a nice Strokes
Soup. Then Id go back in time, and feed this soup to The Strokes
so that they were eating themselves, so effectively they would just
AD: Thats a controversial choice. Id have expected you
to pick Westlife or someone
DD: Well it would be an idea, I admit. But then when you think about
it, they make crap music because they just dont know any better.
Id feel guilty explaining it to them because I dont think
their brains would be big enough to comprehend it. It would be like
torturing innocent animals, and I just couldnt do it.
AD: Ok, so if you could be invisible for a day, whats the first
thing youd do?
DD: Oh come on. I think its obvious what ALL blokes would
AD: What? Hang around womens changing rooms?
DD: Thats a good idea
.a damn good idea in fact, but
Id just like to point out that that was YOUR idea and not mine!
No, I think mine would involve The Strokes again Id just
like to hang around their factory and see how everything was done
whether you had another fake band like Milli Vanilli
oh ok, Im
being a little unfair, I DO think The Strokes did some pretty good stuff
on their first album. Theres just something about them that I
dont like, and Im not sure what.
AD: Ok, last question in an interview that I have to confess, has
been a lot more bizarre than I expected! What does 2004 hold for The
DD: Well after Under the City, there will hopefully
be another e.p. in May, then an album shortly after that. Then once
weve arranged it well be doing a full UK tour. Are you going
to come along this time?
AD: Definitely. Ill bring the draft for Columbo Meets
The Wombles along too!
And, after chatting for far too long with Dave about complete gibberish,
that was that. Thankfully, the new single (released 22nd March) is anything
BUT gibberish, and will be one of the finest records out this year.
Be sure to catch their frantic live dates as well. As long as Orinoco
isnt doing a solo set down the road of course
Interview; Tone E