Arctic Monkeys is a multiple award-winning rock band that originated in Sheffield, England in 2002. The band was one of the first music groups to have gotten the attention of the wider public through the internet, as their first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006), went on to become the fastest-selling debut album by a band in the history of the UK chart list. The album has since sold over six million in the UK alone, garnering the group two Brit Awards and a Grammy Award nomination in the category of Best Alternative Music Album.
Their second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, which was released in April 2007, sold over four million copies, and won them the Best British Album award at the 2008 Brit Awards. Arctic Monkeys’ third album, Humbug, was released in 2009, just before they headlined the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The album was not as good as the band’s previous works as just above one million copies were sold in the UK. Their next effort, Suck It and See (2011), was similar to the group’s previous album in the sense that it sold over one million copies in the UK, but was unable to garner any significant award nominations. In 2013, the group released their fifth album titled AM to critical acclaim. AM enjoyed huge commercial success as it topped charts in numerous countries and sold over three million copies in the UK alone. It further won the British Album of the Year at the 2014 Brit Awards.
Arctic Monkey’s most recent album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, which was released in 2018, garnered positive reviews as it sold 86,000 copies in its first week of release. It went on to become the band’s sixth consecutive number-one album in the UK as it went on to earn a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.
Read on to find out more about the members of Arctic Monkeys, their different roles, and how the group began in the first place.
Facts You Need to Know About Members of the Arctic Monkeys
Alex Turner was born Alexander David Turner, the only child of his parents; Penny and David Turner, on the 6th of January 1986 in a suburb of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, called High Green. As a child, Turner was exposed to a whole lot of music, thanks to his parents’ love for artists like Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Al Green, and The Beach Boys. It further helped that his father was a music and physics teacher who played the saxophone, trumpet, and piano and had been a member of a music band.
At around the age of 5, Turner, who had been enrolled by his parents to take piano lessons, met and became friends with a neighbor and future Arctic Monkeys bandmate, Matt Helders. The pair attended Stocksbridge High School where they met another future Arctic Monkey bandmate, Andy Nicholson, with who they instantly bonded over their love for rap music.
Turner spent most of his secondary school days obsessed about music-related things, making hip hop beats with his friends and learning to use the guitar his father bought for him, as his academic performance suffered. He later went on to attend Barnsley College in 2002, studying music technology and media studies for his A-levels and English, photography, and psychology for his AS-levels. It was also during this time that he and his friends, along with another neighbor of his, Jamie Cook, came together to form Arctic Monkeys.
After finishing college in 2004, Alex Turner deferred going to university in order to fully concentrate on his music career. The band’s songs had at this time gained a following as they had recorded a number of demo tapes and toured the UK. By 2005, the band gained national prominence with Alex Turner serving as the frontman and principal songwriter as the rest became history.
Matt Helders, who is a founding member of Arctic Monkeys, serves as the drummer, as well as the backing vocalist, of the group. The Sheffield, England native got involved with music at a very young age thanks to his friendship with Alex Turner. He began playing the drums because all his other friends all had guitars. He later found the musical instrument to be very suiting as he attended the concert of American rock band Queen of the Stone Age, who he said used drums heavily in their music, prompting him to want to hit harder.
During the group’s formative period, Helders’ mother was responsible for driving the then-teenagers to their rehearsal space at an unused warehouse, three times a week. Helder and his bandmates went on to enjoy good success, which has further let him work with other groups. He has played for the American rock group We Are Scientists during their tour in the UK and worked with artists like Iggy Pop, Josh Homme, and Lady Gaga. He further has his own clothing line which consists of a jacket, a zip hoodie, and three t-shirts.
In his personal life, Helders is married to model Breana McDow. The pair got married in 2016 after having dated for 5 years. Together, they have a daughter named Amelia Darling Helders.
Jamie Cook, who was born Jamie Robert Cook on the 8th of July, 1985, is the third founding member of the Arctic Monkeys. He serves as the group’s lead guitarist but have one time also contributed with vocals and played the keyboards. He is also known as the band’s most outspoken member as he publicly bashes anyone, including the print media, who criticizes their work as well as other bands, such as Coldplay, who he deems to be boring.
As a child, Cook and Turner along with Helders were said to have been neighbors, which prompted their friendship. He did not attend the same secondary school as the other founding members as he was enrolled at Ecclesfield Secondary School in Chapeltown, Sheffield. This, however, did not stop him from being involved with the group as they practiced their music together for so many years before achieving success.
In regards to his personal life, Cook is married to English glamour model, Katie Downes. The pair, who have been together since 2006, got engaged in 2012 before going ahead to exchange vows in May 2014. In September 2015, they welcomed their first child, a son named Forrest.
Nick O’Malley, whose full name is Nicholas Edward O’Malley, born on the 5th of July, 1985, is the bass guitarist, as well as backing vocalist, of Arctic Monkeys. He joined the band in 2006 as a temporary replacement for Andy Nicholson before going ahead to permanently replace the fourth founding member of the group.
As a young boy, O’Malley was interested in playing the drums and guitar but failed to receive the approval of his father. By the time he turned 16, he began playing the bass guitar, which led him to join the local Sheffield group, The Dodgems. When the opportunity later arose for him to temporarily join Arctic Monkeys for their North American tour, O’Malley said he was overjoyed and had to lock himself at home for two days to properly learn the band’s whole album. As a test run before the tour, Arctic Monkeys played a secret gig at a pub in London which O’Malley was said to have performed very well in, as he got the approval of all the band members and their management.
Andy Nicholson is the fourth founding member of the Arctic Monkeys, who played bass and contributed with vocals during his four years plus stay with the group. He appeared on the album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) as well as on the EPs Five Minutes with Arctic Monkeys and Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? before leaving the group.
As the story goes, Nicholson first left the group in May 2006 on a temporary basis due to exhaustion and fatigue following an intensive period of touring. He was unable to join the band for their North American tour, which prompted the group to temporarily replace him with Nick O’Malley. His replacement was later made a permanent member in June 2006 as Nicholson moved on to other endeavors.
Prior to the formation and success of Arctic Monkeys, Nicholson, who attended Stockbridge High School with Alex Turner and Matt Helders, had made a name for himself in Sheffield as a DJ. After leaving the group, he continued to perform as a DJ before putting together the band Mongrel in 2008, which consisted of former bandmate Helders, Reverend and the Makers’ Jon McClure, Drew McConnell from Babyshambles, and rapper Lowkey from the Poisonous Poets. He went on to become an official member of Reverend and the Makers until their hiatus in 2010 and also served for a short time as a part of the band The Book Club.
In recent times, Andy Nicholson has been a part of the hip hop group Clubs & Spades and is also one-half of the production duo, Sticky Blood.