'The AutistiX’ are a unique rock band that creates their own songs and performs covers from favourite bands. The band’s sound sets them apart, but so does their quirky performance, as their young members: Jack Beaven Duggan, Luke Steels and Saul Zur-Szpiro, all have autism. They are led by a talented singer and mentor, Jim Connelly, and joined by Jack's father, John and Saul's father, Michael.
The band was formed in April 2010, from a local group originally set up for young people with disabilities in Camden, London. They were talented musically but the young band members all have autism and other disabilities, causing some difficulties with social skills, making friends or finding the opportunity to be part of a band.
Coming together, they formed a band and named themselves ‘The AutistiX’ as they were keen to be recognised for their musical talent but accepting and proud of being musicians with autism. The band, as well as being creative and fun, provides opportunities to develop musically, personally and socially. Given that there are two dads in the band, it has also been nice for fathers and sons to bond through playing music together in the band.
The band writes original songs including ‘I can’t take it anymore’ ‘I guess I’ll see you’ and ‘Darkness World’ which was soon followed by ‘The Good and Bad in All of Us’ and ‘Hard to Reach’ and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Massive Star’. The AutistiX launched our first EP ‘Butterflies and Demons’(the title was taken from a phrase in ‘I Can’t Take It Anymore’) in January 2014, to a packed out audience at the Monarch Pub in nearby Chalk Farm.
This young band is going from strength to strength, performing in many public gigs and local festivals, including numerous charity gigs for the National Autistic Society and a few months ago for Norwood, a leading charity for people with disabilities. We played before an audience of 1100 people who gave them a standing ovation. Our gig included an impromptu performance of the Beatles’ Help!, together with one of the dinner guests, Sir Tom Jones!!! More recently, The AutistiX were invited by Autism Guernsey and the NAS, Guernsey branch to Guernsey at the end of July 2014, to perform as part of their first ever Autism Awareness initiative. The gig there was a great success and we were also interviewed by BBC Guernsey and reviewed favourably in the Guernsey Press.
The band has performed with another band of musicians from Pamplona called Motxila 21, which includes musicians with Down’s Syndrome both on a multi city tour in Northern Spain in Spring 2013 and in London in August 2013. These projects were funded by the Europe wide ‘Youth-in-Action’ exchange project, run by the British Council, with the aim of promoting social inclusion. The London tour was called ‘Making Special Music’.
We are very well received whenever we play as people find our songs original and catchy, and are all the more impressed when they realise that the band includes musicians with autism! The band members are keen to be successful as musicians first, disabilities second. As well as working to be the best musicians we can be, we also aim to be an inspiration and role model of the abilities of people with disabilities, by showcasing the musical talent and potential of people with disabilities and the valuable contribution they have to make to society.
The band has been working on three new songs called ‘Get On The Plane’, ‘Something Better’ and the newest one, ‘Just The Same’. The band has just recording ‘Something Better’ and ‘Just the Same’ to be released soon as a free download ‘double ‘A’ side recording and EP. We are looking forward to performing again at The Monarch Pub on Thursday 13th November at our launch event for the new EP.
Follow the band - ‘theautistix’ on their website, facebook, twitter, soundcloud, spotify, youtube and itunes. For further information or to book the band, please contact Susan Zur-Szpiro at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message through facebook.