In 2020, the future for PET NEEDS, as with so many other bands, looked precarious. Now,in 2022, they’re poised to take on the world with the release of their second album‘Primetime Entertainment’. It’s been one hell of a rideso far.“We’d been together since 2016, we were having fun with it, a punk band playing punkshows to our friends,” says Johnny Marriott, singer, songwriter, guitarist. “At the start of2020, we didn’t know if we were going to carry on as a band. But we thought we’d throweverything atrecording analbum.”The resulting album,‘Fractured Party Music’,is thatclassic debut in that everything up to that point was poured into it. Yet it’s still a surprise tohear that thrilling, fan-favourite singles ‘Toothpaste’ and‘Tracey Emin’s Bed’ were writtenjust twoweeksbefore recording, showing the creative fire was still fierce.Whether PET NEEDS(completed by brother George Marriott on guitar, Rich Gutierrez onbass and Jack Lock on drums)were almost done or not didn’tmatter because they refusedto compromise on what turned out to be their saviour,an album brimmingwith intenseresonance. Strewn with social commentary, the frenetic, kerosene-blanched songs flayedmodern living, leaving it exposed and fully-examined incatharsis.Ithit more than a fewsearing chordsand found its way to the ears of independent label Xtra Mile Recordings whopromptly signed the band and released it in the middle ofthe pandemic in March 2021.The band’s humble nature meant that what came next went beyond all expectations. Startingwith a fewsocially distancedacoustic shows with Frank Turner and other labelmates, it wasthe most people they’d played to-albeit sitting in painted circles separately-600 people in afield fit for10,000.Asshows startedto open upagain, PET NEEDS embraced life like it was on the verge ofending again.Their headline shows gradually grew in size;theylanded support slots withThe Hives and Skinny Lister and recorded album number 2 with Frank Turner producing.Further dedicating his unwavering support, Frank then invited the band to join him on hisworldwidetouring plansthat arerunning throughout 2022. The band dutifully accepted.The first half of the year has already included the vastEuropean tourtaking in Germany,France, Netherlands, Austria and more-winning over rooms of Frank fans everywhere theywent.“We want to keep that DIY ethic,” says Johnny. “Because these are our first tours, Iwant to properly live it. I want to understand what we’re doing completely, and whateveryone else is doing. We’ve jumped to doing these big tours when we haven’tproperlytoured before, so we’ve still got to pay our dues, lug our amps and sell our merch.”Next upwill be joining Frank on his mammoth 50 States in 50 Days tour of the US throughout Juneand Julyand then finally across the UK in SeptemberandOctober.But though the hard work isbeingdone, PET NEEDS are filled with purpose. “We’re havingthe best time. Just being able to wake up and be creative every day is really amazing.Psychologically, I’m in the best place I’ve ever been in, which is a real blessing.”It’s clear on their second album ‘Primetime Entertainment’ how true that is. Written andrecorded in the 11 months after signing with Xtra Mile, their second mirrors Johnny’s state ofmind, more than even he fathomed at first. “This is a much deeper, personal album. It talksabout me being quite self-destructive and recognising where I need to get better in myself. Ithought I was writing a record that was about partying and I didn’t realise until we sat downand listened to the album from start to finish.” It’s hard to believe when the songs so deftlydeal with fear, fatigue, adrenaline, failing and determination. But the music intuitivelyresponds to the words, every screech, grind and melodic run laced with real-life experiencethanks to the band’s insightful and instinctive musicality, so perhaps it was this that sofloored the songwriter, a vision he hadn’t thought he’d had.
‘Lost Again’ and ‘Ibizia in Winter’ tackle Johnny’s attempts to remain creative, positive and tolook after himself. ‘Spirals’-their heaviest song so far-spares nothing as he screams: “Ican’t handle myself, I can’t manage this band”. ‘Tried and Failed’ and ‘Fear for the WholeDamn World’ are almost self-explanatory. Johnny describing the album as “our ‘LondonCalling’” makes sense in that it’s flowing with sensation, unexpected textures and featurestheir quietest and noisiest songs so far. It also revels in the maturity of self-analysis.Withall the touring with Frank Turneras well astheir first headline tourbeing booked forlater in the yearPET NEEDS have formed a natural support system together. “Friendship isthe most important thing, being really mindful of each other’s mental health.” says Johnny.“The thing that connects all of us is passion for creativity, taking risks and being ambitioustogether. Allowing each other to fail safely is important. We’ve all taken a massive risk to dothis, and every emotion is intensified-understanding each other, that we’re all flawed-andthat’s fine!-you’ve got to love the music and love each other to survive.”For most, that would be more than enough but goals keep coming. “We’re also headlining a400-capacity venue in our hometown Colchesterat Christmas. I moved here 7-8 years agonow. For local bands, if you play Colchester Arts Centre, you’ve got credibility. I neverthought we’d headline that venue and If we can sell it out, that’d be incredible.”Key to all of this is that the band truly seem happy playing shows to tens, hundreds orthousands-one day, Johnny hopes they’llbe in a position tochoose to do any and allcapacity showsjust for the love of playing live. “We’re in the middle of the storm, so we’ll justsee what happens. I’m still constantly amazed that we’re doing this now. Even if it all endedtomorrow,what a ride.” But if it didn’t end in 2020, chances are there’s plenty more yearsyet. Tomorrow will be just another extraordinary day.