Arctic Monkeys: what happened next
6th Aug 2009 | 16:30
So where have they been?
Arctic Monkeys’ eagerly-awaited third album Humbug is released on 24 August 2009 but it’s been nearly two and a half years since they released Favourite Worst Nightmare.
Recorded in East London's Miloco Studios with producers James Ford and Mike Crossey, the band's second album saw them move from (yawn) The MySpace Band into a genuinely credible UK rock band.
In its first week on sale, the album sold over 220,000 copies and went straight to number one in the UK Albums Chart - 100,000 fewer sales than their much-hyped debut but a pointer towards a genuine, sustainable future and still outselling the rest of the Top 20 combined.
So what's been happening since April 2007? Well, after you've conquered your own country, it's time to get your passport renewed and get out on the road…
Next page: Goin back to Cali
April 2007: Coachella
Staged in the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is the most famous and important indie festival in the States - crack this and you're on the way.
While the band were now playing the likes of The Astoria and Barrowlands in the UK, Coachella was the beginning of something bigger - and remember, only two months previous the band were playing mid-sized UK universities.
The Monkeys played Coachella hot on the heels of the US release of Favourite Worst Nightmare, the album selling 44,000 copies in its first week. That's only half as many as it managed in the UK but was still enough to take it into the American Top 10. Something was happening.
June 2007: Glastonbury
After a US Tour and some warm-up dates in larger European venues (Dublin Malahide Castle, Cardiff International Arena), the band headed to Glastonbury for what would be their finest moment.
Despite revealing they were "shit scared", the band pulled out a killer performance playing to a crowd stretching from the Pyramid Stage to the tents.
Highlights from the set included a suitably bonkers appearance from Dizzee Rascal, who reprised his verse on Brianstorm B-side, Temptation Greets You Like A Naughty Friend.
June 2007: Glastonbury
The band also paid tribute to Shirley Bassey, playing Glastonbury the next day. "We'd like to play a cover for you. Like we said it only happens once, so we want to do something special for you…"
And cue the band's now infamous cover of 1971 James Bond theme, Diamonds Are Forever, featuring Favourite Worst Nightmare producer (and Simian Mobile Disco member) James Ford on organ.
Fact time: none of the band had ever even been to Glastonbury before this set. Wow.
July 2007: Roskilde
After Glastonbury's triumphant set, the band dip in and out of Scandinavia on tour and, after a quick stop off for T In The Park, head to the mainland and hit the summer festival trail - starting with Roskilde.
Roskilde is one of the five biggest rock festivals in Europe and that year had over 180 bands and 110,000 people in attendance. It was also the wettest Roskilde ever, with festival goers enjoying DOUBLE the rainfall of the previous record holder. Don't say we don't tell you anything.
July 2007: Festival Castrelos
July 2007: Benicassim
Continuing their European festival adventure, the band proved themselves the most popular Sheffield act at Benicassim - by which we mean they pulled a notably larger crowd than fellow Sheffielders The Human League.
Singer Phil Oakey didn’t seem to mind, going on record to say: “They're not very flabby.” Which is a perfectly solid compliment.
July 2007: Paleo Festival
Only three days after appearing in Spain, the band head over to Switzerland to play the massive Paleo Festival with Bjork and Muse.
Reflecting their snowballing international star status (and thanks to headlining what is the second biggest open air music festival in Europe), Favourite Worst Nightmare reaches number one in seven countries - including, of course, Swtizerland.
Sept 2007: Austin City Limits
Dates in Australia and Japan take up most of August, with the band touching down in the USA in early September - just five short months after Coachella.
Perhaps it’s his athletic prowess, perhaps it’s his knack for stuttering syncopated rhythm… or maybe it’s something to do with the gurning, as evidenced here.
Whatever the reason, Matt Helders is an incredible sticksman. His biggest fan is a certain Queen of the Stone Age in Josh Homme, who has been dazzled by his stick skills while producing Humbug.
Feb 2008: Brit Awards
The winter months are spent touring the rest of the world - Canada, South America, mainland Europe and then finally back in the UK for dates at Ally Pally.
Enough work - time to play. Dressed as dandy country gents, the Arctic Monkeys tacitly - but successfully - lampooned the 2008 Brit Awards for the number of posh Brit School graduates nominated that year. It didn’t stop Favourite Worse Nightmare winning the award for Best British Album though.
The rest of 2008 is comparitively quiet, with only a few festival dates, a DVD release (Arctic Monkeys At The Apollo) and Alex concentrating on his The Last Shadow Puppets project with James Ford.
A year on from its release and a year of solid touring, time to put Favourite Worst Nightmare to bed - and start work on the next album…
August 2009: All Points West
Fast forward 16 months and the band are back. Bigger of hair, bigger of global status thanks to that summer of slog and with a new album that promises to take them on to the next level.
The band came out of their exile last week. Using their now-bigger muscle in the US to play All Points West festival in New Jersey, they rewarded loyal fans with the first live performance of tracks from Humbug.
Two days later the band played an intimate show in New York with hip hop impresario P Diddy in bold attendance. Next stop? Well, if the last album was anything to go by, expect the band to be touring near you. And you. And you and you and…