Backstage with The AutistiX

23 September 2014

Some of you may remember Saul Zur-Szpiro, the drummer from the band The AutistiX, from Norwood's Annual Dinner last year. It's been a busy few months for the band, but I managed to grab a few words with them before they played at Bubble Club, Bethnal Green's club run by and for people with learning disabilities and those without.

With no trace of pre-gig nerves, the lads talk about their touring schedule. Jack Beaven Duggan, the band's energetic guitarist, explains that this year alone they've played in Guernsey and Hastings, and their first album is in the pipeline as well. When I ask them what they love about being on tour, Saul says, "the drumming".

"And the banter," Jack adds, grinning.
"And what's the best thing about being on stage?" I ask.
"The breaks between the songs" jokes bassist Luke Steel. "It's hard work up there!"

The AutistiX are the only band in the UK where three of their members have autism and they're keen to show that people with disabilities can succeed in the music industry. On stage, the band's tight performance and commitment to a catchy melody gets the crowd moving straight away, and by the end of the set we're all shouting for more. At one point, Russell Young (pictured on the microphone) joined the band as a guest vocalist.

With their power chords and solid baselines, The AutistiX are clearly here to rock, but the addition of the harmonica lends their sound a folky twist, and the drumming is distinctly funky. After the gig, lead singer Jim Connelly explains that The Autistix are inspired by the bands they love, whatever the genre, with Greenday and AC/DC among them.

"It's a rock sound, but you can hear the punk spirit," Jim says. I certainly can.