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The Arctic Monkeys: The Monkeys' story began in Sheffield, England, United Kingdom, when Alex Turner and Jamie Cook got guitars for Christmas aged 16.
In summer 2002, they were practicing with their friends Andy Nicholson (bassist) and Matt Helders, who had reluctantly become the drummer because the others chose guitars. The rehearsals in Alex's garage went under the initial handle Bang Bang, though this only lasted weeks. It was later recycled for the label (Bang Bang Recordings) on the 2005 release Five Minutes with Arctic Monkeys. There are Internet suggestions that the Monkeys were reconsidering the name around that time, but were already getting attention.
Lead singer Alex said: "We had the name before we got our guitars. While we were still at school, Jamie was saying he wanted to get a band together and call it the Arctic Monkeys." He was doodling random ideas during lessons.
The most common story was that they named after an earlier band including the uncle, or even the father, of drummer Matt Helders. The Monkeys told Prefix magazine: "We made that up 'cause we got so many people asking us that in the U.K."
It used to be the case that when musicians were challenged about such silly band names, they would regularly fall back on the old defence "The Beatles had a silly name and it didn't stop them". It could be in future that musicians will replace this with the Arctic Monkeys.
Noel Gallagher of Oasis said in a radio interview that the name was so bad it would stop them from winning awards. He was proved wrong. One of the few to instantly approve was another Manchester man, poet John Cooper Clarke. Turner said: "Everyone tells us we've got a shit name but he was like 'That's great! There's no trees in the arctic! How would it survive?' He painted this picture instantly, a real creative mind!"
They are called both the Arctics and the Monkeys for short.
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