In January their critically acclaimed album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not became the fastest-selling debut in British history. Now these under-21 indie rockers have stormed the States.
ON HOW THE BAND FORMED The quartet—singer-guitarist Alex Turner, 20, guitarist Jamie Cook, 20, bassist Andy Nicholson, 19, and drummer Matt Helders, 19—met growing up in Sheffield, England. Turner and Cook got guitars for Christmas in 2001, and the Monkeys were born the next year. “It was something to do, to talk about,” says Turner. “A few of our friends had bands, but I had never been on a stage before in front of people.”
ON THEIR RAMPANT SUCCESS “Maybe it was because we were at the right time. Or maybe we are really good,” says Turner, whose group got signed to Franz Ferdinand’s label, Domino Records, after building buzz with packed, crowd-surfing shows and fans sharing demo CDs through the Internet. “We just started playing London this time last year, never mind New York. Now we live on a tour bus and go home every now and again.” And where exactly is home these days? All four still live with their parents.
ON ADJUSTING TO STARDOM “You realize how your perception of things turns around,” says Turner. “When the Strokes played at Alexandra Palace [in London], the Libertines were there. Me and Andy went up to [the Libertines] and said, ‘Can we take a picture with you?’ I’ve still got that picture, me on one side and Andy on the other side, beaming. We hate that now when people do it to us, but I can’t really complain because I’ve done it myself. It’s like a reminder that it’s such a merry-go-round.”