Published Jun 08, 2018Thrust into the spotlight at the tender age of 20, Arctic Monkeys had the potential to seize the opportunity or let it fall through their fingers. Fortunately, they chose the former and have consistently lived up to the global hype that's followed them for over a decade.
With the release of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, the four lads from High Green, Sheffield, continue to push themselves and evolve as both individual musicians and a cohesive unit.
Before delving into our Arctic Monkeys Timeline, out now in the June issue of Exclaim!, here are five noteworthy facts you may not know about the beloved Brits.
1. Arctic Monkeys earned £27 (roughly $46 CAD) for their first gig.
On Friday June 13, 2003, Arctic Monkeys play their inaugural concert at the Grapes pub, supporting fellow local act the Sound. The set list features covers of "Hotel Yorba" by the White Stripes, the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" and "Harmonic Generator" by the Datsuns. The band are paid a meager £27, but the crowd's reception is riotous.
2. Alex Turner, Matt Helders and original Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson saw the Strokes live in their heyday.
In December 2003, Turner, Helders and Nicholson take a bus to London to see the Strokes on their "Room on Fire" tour at Alexandra Palace. The trio stay in a hotel without running water (but is a steal at £30) and meet Pete Doherty in the crowd that night.
3. Nick O'Malley broke his arm one week after agreeing to join Arctic Monkeys on their 2006 North American tour.
At the time of approach, [O'Malley] works in Sheffield's local supermarket. Only a week after agreeing, O'Malley breaks his arm during some drunken antics with his ex-bandmates in the Dodgems. Despite it being his pick hand, he's still able to play bass and join the band on tour. He learns every bass part to Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not in the span of two days.
4. Turner's notebook full of song lyrics and ideas was stolen during the early stages of Humbug.
Turner's lyrics book, containing sketches and plans for proposed songs on the new record, is stolen. The unfortunate incident ends up revitalizing his creative process. "I went the morning after and brought a couple of Moleskines and sat around for a couple of hours trying to remember it all," he tells NME. "But I found the whole process made me write more things, complete things that I wouldn't have otherwise."
5. O'Malley isn't the only member who's broken a bone while under the influence.
AM reunites Arctic Monkeys with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme once more, who provides backing vocals on "Knee Socks" and "One for The Road," and features additional collaborations with Bill Ryder-Jones of the Coral and Elvis Costello's drummer, Pete Thomas. The band recruit the latter to fill in on recording sessions when Helders breaks his hand after drunkenly punching a wall.