Did The Strokes Inspire Arctic Monkeys?


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The Strokes are often described as the ’90s most iconic indie band. They inspired several artists and their contemporaries. But did The Strokes inspire Arctic Monkeys?

The Strokes were one of many bands that inspired Arctic Monkeys. As teenagers, Arctic Monkeys listened to rap and hip-hop but were heavily influenced by The Strokes as well as bands such as The Jam, Oasis, Nick Cave, and The Libertines.

In fact, when I began searching about AM’s musical influences, I discovered that The Strokes’ frontman, Julian Casablancas, once admitted that he “always wanted to work with Arctic Monkeys”.

So, did the collaboration ever happen? Did The Strokes ever work with AM? And What did The Strokes think of Arctic Monkeys?

Let’s find out in detail.

Are The Strokes influential?

The Strokes are a widely influential band changing the indie/alternative landscape. Some of the bands they directly influenced are The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, etc. 

The Strokes remained at the forefront of contemporary music for nearly two decades. Despite irregular releases, they garnered mostly positive reviews. In February 2021, Billie Eilish hailed Casablancas as a “genius” in the New York Times.

Here are some other bands that The Strokes influenced:

  • Kings of Leon: Many fans frequently called them the Southern Strokes.
  • Franz Ferdinand: Many fans believe that Ferdinand’s debut album (Franz Ferdinand, 2004) was influenced by The Strokes.
  • Circa Waves: As per Allmusic.com, British band Circa Waves were heavily influenced by The Strokes.

But I wondered if The Strokes also faced tough competition from other artists. For example, Arctic Monkeys.

Since both the bands operated in the same genre and were widely hailed as icons, I wanted to find out how good Arctic Monkeys were. In a recent article, I looked at that and whether they were any better than The Strokes.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did Alex Turner want to be one of The Strokes?

“Star Treatment”, the opener to the Arctic Monkeys’ sixth studio album, co-produced by Alex Turner, starts with “I just wanted to be one of the Strokes.”

This clearly doesn’t seem to be a coincidence because Alex confessed to taking fashion tips from The Strokes in the past and following their dance steps.

Speaking to Radio X’s John Kennedy about his lyrics, Turner said:

“The arrival of The Strokes changed what music I was listening to, what shoes I was wearing. I grew my hair out and borrowed my mum’s blazer.” 

But who writes Arctic Monkeys’ song?

Check out my recent article. After all, Alex Turner is the face of the band. But is he a one-man show, or does the whole band get in on creating their sound?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

While talking about the debut album of The Strokes, Turner said, 

“I remember I used to play that first album in college all the time, when our band was first starting. Loads of people were into them, so loads of bands coming out sounded like them. 

And I remember consciously trying not to sound like The Strokes, deliberately taking bits out of songs that sounded too much like them, but I still loved that album.”

This proves the heavy influence The Strokes have had on Alex Turner and his music.

But how good a singer is Alex Turner, and does he use a lot of studio trickery to sound like he does?

I have been very curious about the singing capabilities of Alex Turner and hence decided to research and write about it in my recent article.

Just click that link to find out more.

What do The Strokes think of the Arctic Monkeys?

The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas shared a photo of himself on Instagram recreating the cover art of the Sheffield band’s debut album, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ captioned “lolll – I always wanted to be in the Arctic Monkeys.”

Some media houses might call it a shout-out as the statement by Casablancas was followed by the reference given to The Strokes in Arctic Monkey’s song, “Star treatment”.

Or it could be a thank you post for the real star treatment that AM gave them by covering “Is This It” on their Tranquility Tour in 2018.

Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner was spotted with Julian Casablancas after The Strokes’ gig in Paris, making their fans go all gaga about it.

A photo of them was shared by a Japanese Arctic Monkeys fan account captioned, “Alex and Julian Casablancas !!!!!! I took this picture, and Alex turner gave me a hug. I do not even know why” (cr: BasicLuna)

Who were the Strokes influenced by?

In 2015, Julian Casablancas unveiled a brand new website where he curated playlists that act as introductions to the music of Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, and Bob Marley.

Casablancas wrote:

“If you were just gonna have the bare minimum in your music library, here are the truly essential ones, without trying to fill any quota of a typical 10/20-song’ best of ‘… just some the best of the best, universally cool super-champs, no big deal”.

Julian and Nikolai were huge fans of Jane’s Addiction in their early lives.

Julian was also a huge fan of Pearl Jam and Nirvana. While talking about it, he said that the gift of a Doors tape from his stepdad changed his life. He had a sense that he could do something like that.

Whereas Fabrizio was a Michael Jackson fan, Nick had Guns N’ Roses among his favorites. The first record Albert ever bought was Billy Joel’s 1989 hit, ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire.’

Who inspired Arctic Monkeys?

As I have already talked about the influence The Strokes had on Alex Turner, let me introduce you to the story of how another band named “Kink” helped in forming the Arctic monkeys who they are.

In an interview, Alex Turner said:

“Our first album came out when we were just 20. Where we grew up, there were these other kids that had a band, and they used to play in one of the pubs, and we started hanging around with them. 

We’d go and watch them and drink cider and be stupid and chase after girls. Then, sitting around chatting on a Friday night, we were like, We should form a band.

Around then, I listened to The Kinks’ Face To Face a lot, though we’d already written the first record before I started to appreciate Ray Davies’ storytelling. As far as lyricists, it goes from Ray Davies to Nick Cave to Method Man. Rappers have to put so many words into one song, so keeping that interesting is just a cool fucking craft,” 

In their teens, all the band members were fond of psychedelic scousers The Coral, The Strokes, The Libertines, The Clash, and The Jam. They were heavily influenced by Roots Manuva, North London’s Braintax, Queens of the Stone Age, System Of A Down and John Barry.

But what role do drugs and alcohol play in Arctic Monkeys?

Read my recent article. I get into their whole history with substance abuse, whether any of them are sober today, and how that use affected their recordings.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Coming back to the topic, recently, in 2018, AM played “Is This It” by The Strokes at the beginning of their US tour. Before playing the song, Alex Turner gave a reference to the venue’s history as an early home of the US Open and said:

“We wanted to do a New York special for you, and since we couldn’t think of any tennis songs,” portraying the immense respect for The Strokes.

Conclusion

The Strokes has inspired Alex Turner and Arctic Monkeys deeply and beautifully.

After listening and reading more about it, I realized that many other bands have helped The AMs make a place in the heart of their fans.

But as Alex has said in his interviews, he deliberately tried not to sound like The Strokes. Moreover, the recent social media post by Julian Casablancas has proved that the admiration is mutual, and AM has come a long way.


Photos that require attribution:

Arctic Monkeys – CD102.5 Big Room – Alex Turner by cdubya1971 and The Strokes 018 by nica* are licensed under CC2.0 and were cropped, edited, merged, and had a graphic overlay added.

Jeff Campbell

Hi, I'm Jeff Campbell, a former DJ, music journalist, musician, and music lover. I'm old enough to have seen all the cool bands and young enough to still remember them.

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