Meet the not-so ordinary boys

One of the hottest bands remain cool about impending fame. Ben Kendall talks to the Arctic Monkeys ahead of their long-sold-out Norwich date.

A buzz about the Arctic Monkeys is rapidly developing but, for a devoted group of fans around their South Yorkshire home, they have already achieved cult status.

As one of the first to find fame on the crest of the download wave, they are now signed to Domino Records, the home of Franz Ferdinand.

They have come a long way since passing tapes of their songs to friends and relying on word of mouth to bolster their reputation.

The story of their formation is a familiar one: four lads picking up guitars more out of boredom than determination to achieve anything.

And yet, with a mix of raucous choruses, an Oasis-like swagger and lyrics that cut to the chase, their sound is so refreshing it cannot fail to stand out even amidst the wealth of existing talent.

With lyrics as casually insightful as "they've got engaged/no intention of a wedding/he's pinched your bird/and he'll probably kick your head in", they promise to bring the common touch back to rock'n'roll in the same way the Streets did for r&b.

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Of course if you put such assertions to the band they bat them off with a self-deprecating joke.

"We just say what we see," says bassist Andy Nicholson, perhaps not completely unaware of the similarity of his words to the Roy Walker catchphrase.

He adds: "We used to save up some cash then go into a studio and record as much as possible in the time we had.

"One day someone put it on the internet. I'd say we wouldn't be where we are now without that."

This gradual ascent over the web culminated in a spot on the Carling Stage at this year's Reading and Leeds Festivals where they faced fans who could already sing every word without a single having been released.

"We got to the point where we'd play a gig in Scotland one night then travel to play in London the next. Cnly the internet can give you that broad appeal so quickly," Andy says.

"We don't pretend to be anything other than a bunch of lads from Sheffield and that is what we write about.

"Al who plays guitar and sings, normally writes the lyrics then he brings them to us and we rip them to shreds."

As they prepare to visit the Norwich Waterfront on Wednesday to kick off their first major UK tour, the enormity of what could lie ahead is beginning to dawn.

First their London gig was upgraded to the Astoria, then a string of dates in Europe, Japan and America was announced.

"We've done two small tours, but this time it will be the full rock'n'roll experience," Andy says.

"I don't know how we'll go down abroad. We'll just do our stuff and see what they think," he adds, managing to sound both modest and completely confident all at the same time.

Arctic Monkeys at the Waterfront, Norwich, this Wednesday is sold-out. Details of any returns on 01603 508050.