The Kooks

“We’re a pop band who writes pop songs"

“We’re a pop band who writes pop songs and we have attitude and we’re people. We’re not plastic; we’re not trying to be celebrities. I think with our music, the stuff that we’re writing at the moment, there’s a lot of stuff we’re trying to talk about… We’re living in a society which is gonna fuckin’ fall someday and everyone is just deluded into this hypnotic world of ‘I’m gonna be unhappy all my life so one day I’ll be happy. I’ll go to work and be unhappy so that when I get home I can do this.’ There’s some serious stuff going on, man. It’s about time things changed.”

So says Luke Pritchard, all beatific smiles, one fair afternoon on the streets of North London. It is summer 2005 and on the strength of some demos passed our way, Clash is here to profile The Kooks as our Ones To Watch.

Fast forward a year and a half and it appears our predictions were right – The Kooks are the nation’s favourite indie popsters, with over a million sales of their debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ to prove it.

And it all played out this year, since the album’s release in January, which surely for the band makes it a year to remember. You’d think.

“My memory is just unbelievable,” Luke admits now – all the more reason for Clash to chart the rise and rise of our Band of the Year.

We’ve had a really up and down year and lots of doubts. Lots of highs but so many doubts and moments of guilt.

JANUARY 2006

• Album released

With a string of tours behind them (including recent support slots for The Subways), it was finally time for The Kooks to unleash upon the world their debut offering. ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ was a sprightly fun debut, but steeped in mature influences and an enigmatic depth to their combined abilities. Every song sounded like a potential single, and with their image – they just LOOK like a band – they just couldn’t fail. As it hit the shops, Luke confesses, the band found themselves at the mercy of the Great British fickle public. “When the album came out,” he says, “I didn’t really have any fears; I didn’t have any kind of expectations. We didn’t make it so that it would chart high, but I definitely wanted it to. I just wanted to see it connect and go to gigs and to see people enjoying what we’d done I suppose.” And how did they think it would fare? “Putting out the record, you have no real control once you put it out because you’ve just done it and then it’s out. You have no way of knowing. You’re giving all your music out; you don’t own it anymore.”

It would be an exaggeration to say that all eyes were on The Kooks – that fate fell on a certain Sheffield four piece, who released their debut the same day. “It was massive news that week that the Arctic Monkeys album was coming out,” Luke recalls. “Everybody was talking about it and everyone was going, ‘It’s gonna be the biggest thing ever’, so of course we were aware of it. I went out and bought it!” he laughs.

FEBRUARY 2006

• 1-14 UK tour, • 18-21 German tour, • 25-5 March Tokyo gigs

With the first wave of post-release mania in full flight, the band took off for a two-week jaunt around Blighty, eventually returning home on Valentine’s Day – Luke never received any cards; “I’m lonely,” he laughs. A great success, although fans of the band may have noticed the absence of original bassist Max Rafferty, replaced on this tour by the towering Peter Denton. Illness was blamed for Max’s no-show.

Two weeks later, Clash was invited down to an East London studio where the band were recording b-sides for forthcoming single ‘Naïve’, eventually contributing slide guitar to blues jam ‘I Love That Girl’ (“I don’t think the song would have happened without you,” Luke mockingly laughs). Crammed into the tiny room, uber-friendly drummer’s drummer Paul Garred and the effervescent guitarist Hugh Harris bounce around to their own playback, nodding complimentary at Peter’s impressive bass lines. “It was a bit weird because it was hard for us that,” remembers Luke. “It was the first time that we had recorded without Max, and so we all really didn’t know what we were going to do,” he says uncomfortably, touching again on a story that was yet to unfold.

The next day brought a change of scene as they found themselves bound for the land of the rising sun and their very first visit to Tokyo. The journey was the beginning of a two-day bender to celebrate Luke’s 21st birthday, and upon their arrival, instead of sightseeing and the expected culture drinking, they were treated to 8 hours of interviews daily. “By the fourth day I was just fucked,” Luke sighs. “I thought I was going insane.” Screaming fans were a common occurrence, much to the boys’ delight, but it was the city’s dark subculture that left the biggest impression on Luke. “I was looking through this girl’s magazine – it looked like what in England would be Marie Claire – and it’s got cartoons of women being raped and crying while they’re being fucked. You’re just like, ‘oh my God’. Really fucking insane.”

MARCH 2006

• 13 TV appearance, • 15-17 SXSW, Texas, • 18-29 UK tour, • 30 Radio & TV appearances

“I’d been to America when I was a kid but not with the band,” says Luke, recalling the momentous occasion when The Kooks landed on US soil. The occasion was the South By South West festival in Austin, Texas, a mainly industry event for A&R types to do some work amidst the plethora of barbecues and free booze on offer under the Texan sun. Their gigs there included an acoustic gig in a community centre outside of town to roughly 12 people (including 3 Clash staff, their manager and their sound man) and a packed bar on the city’s main strip on the Friday night. Luke describes the festival as “horrible”. He explains: “You can imagine that it used to be amazing. I went there expecting to see some proper Blues. I had this whole vision in my head of going into a bar and seeing some dude playing slide guitar, but it just wasn’t like that. All the American bands were just really cheesy Country – that I saw anyway.”

Unlike many of the other Brit bands who were using SXSW as a springboard to Stateside success, The Kooks’ visit was decidedly more casual. “It was actually the complete opposite,” Luke says, referring to how bands are instructed to perform well for the baying industry mob, “because we hadn’t got a record deal in America. Our album hadn’t come out. It’s one of those really delicious moments for us, because in the US they were literally like, ‘We’re just not interested… Don’t wanna put it out… Don’t give a fuck about it’ – this is Virgin US. And then of course we became successful in England and they were like, ‘We wanna do it’, but we went with a different EMI company – Astralwerks – who were actually passionate about it, so it worked out quite nicely really.” He continues: “Our managers just said to us, ‘Listen, we’re going over there to have a bit of experience of playing in America. Just have fun. We’re not going there to get a record deal, we’re not going there to impress anyone.’ It was just to go because we’ve been offered really.”

It could all have been so different, however, if circumstances on the Saturday night had played against them. Hooking up with Clash on the last night of the event to go and see Plan B, The Duke Spirit and The Mystery Jets, The Kooks intended to end their trip in style – namely drinking the bar dry. It was a reunion of sorts for old friends as Clash, The Kooks and The Mystery Jets partied into the night, eventually spilling out onto the sidewalk at closing time. Still game for the night to continue, Luke and Clash scaled the height of the Jets’ equipment trailer – handily parked at the front door – to dance on its roof. Minutes later we find ourselves dragged down and thrown against the wall by two overtly clichéd Southern meathead cops. We never realised our dancing was THAT bad! “Show me your ID,” one drawls, grabbing the passports of the easy bait. Mystery Jet Kai leaps to our defence: “That’s our van, officer. They’ve not broken the law.” “What do you know about the law?” one barks, inches from Kai’s face, then spits on the ground. “Ew,” exclaims an inebriated Luke, “you can get TB from that shit.” “You’ll get TB in jail if you don’t shut up!” the cop yells, as we begin to face our destinies – life in a Texan prison. “Man, how pissed off would you have been if I’d got you chucked in jail?” Luke laughs now. “We’d still be there, getting bummed every night! We’d be fucking Class-A meat!” Fortunately for us, Jets singer Blaine Harrison and their management defused the situation and rescued us from a lifetime of squealing like pigs.

APRIL 2006

• 1 Amsterdam festival, • 2 TV appearance, • 10-24 European tour, • 30 Dublin Castle with Ian Brown

For two weeks in April, The Kooks travelled across mainland Europe, basking in the spring sunshine and playing their little hearts out to the latest Kooks konverts. “I love touring,” Luke enthuses. “For us it rekindles your reason for being here. Because when you go to Europe we go to places where barely anyone knows us and it’s completely new territory and it’s really exciting. It’s totally different and the whole way of life is completely different. The whole way of touring is much more friendly over there. The first time we toured France was amazing.” But it was in the neighbouring Belgium where the four really hit the big time. “We have this thing there where we’re kind of seen almost like a boy band, I think. Every gig we play we just have girls – and I mean like young, fit girls!” he laughs. “We’re like REALLY doing well in Belgium. We are seriously quite a big band.”

He goes on: “Last time we went there we did this TMF gig, it was like an awards ceremony. I felt like we were in The Beatles, it was fucking insane. We were being chased by all these screaming fans. There’s nothing quite like it really. They love all the songs… and they give you letters! I had this two-page letter given to me once by this girl, and it was so sad. She was like, ‘I listened to your whole album and I realised that you’re very sad and someone’s really hurt you. I just want you to know that you should be happy’. I was almost in tears, man. It’s fucking mental. It’s kind of nuts because I find the words on the album quite personal so when somebody says that it’s really fucked up. I actually felt quite weird about it. But it’s amazing.”

MAY 2006

• 1-19 UK & Ireland tour, • 20 Brighton Great Escape, • 26 Save The Children photo shoot

Four months after its release, it is announced that ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ has achieved Gold status, which basically means that loads of people and their Granny had bought it. Usually this would call for a celebration, but in a band like The Kooks, where it’s unusual to see them without a beer clutched in their paws, the event passed fairly humbly. “We probably just had a beer,” Luke suggests, adding nonchalantly: “We had a big party when it was Platinum.”

This is nothing to be sniffed at, however. Reaching Platinum, or even Gold, is a feat that is becoming rarer in these days of transient acts where hype and image ultimately overshadows sales figures. This achievement is more than just a plaque on the wall, and its importance is not lost on Luke. “It’s just really cool,” he begins. “It’s good because you feel like you’re an important band because people are actually buying your record and it’s sort of entering your world really. There’s nothing like it. You’re selling 100,000 and you just start realising that there must be so many people that have your CD and are listening to it.”

JUNE 2006

• 4 TV appearance, • 7 TV appearance, • 8 TV appearance, • 9 TV appearance, • 10-12 Isle of Wight festival, • 13 AOL session, • 19 Barcelona festival, • 20 Radio session, • 23-24 German festivals, • 25 TV appearance in Holland, • 20 Belgian festival

Glancing at The Kooks’ diary for 2006, it gets noticeably busier as the year progresses – June is where it seems as if every day is on the move or working. As the festival season kicks off, the band find themselves in demand at every open-air event and suffering the inescapable promos that go with it. They have strict times and guidelines and are ushered from here to there and back again so as to adhere to the day’s timetable. Not that it fazes Luke. “I like just being told what I’m doing next,” he offers, “which is kind of different to the other guys, I suppose. It depends how you feel, but usually I like the idea of Tony [The Kooks’ trusty tour manager] just going, ‘Right we’re doing this’ and I’m just like, ‘Wicked’. It depends though, because sometimes you make plans and something changes and it gets a bit annoying. But I see it as what we do is totally a 24-hour thing.”

So do they cope with the pressure to keep up? “I don’t think we really have any pressure,” Luke initially answers, before continuing: “I tell you what, recently it’s got a lot harder. I got really ill two weeks ago. I went to Los Angeles to interview Debbie Harry. I’d been in New York for a few days and got so mashed. Then I went from New York to LA, but it was horrific – my plane got cancelled. All this shit happened, I got there and got fucking ill. I had a fever and tonsillitis. I had to do this Debbie Harry thing then I had to fly back. I did like six flights in seven days. All this bollocks happened and I got back and I’ve never been so ill in my life. I came back on tour for two days and then the third day I had to cancel the show. Then realising the responsibility of that was that there was so many people on our tour now. Like, forget about the support bands – although obviously I care – but aside from all their crew and them, we now have like a whole fucking truck following us with our PA. We have so many people on tour so you just feel this massive responsibility of, like, if I get a bit sick and I can’t sing then all these people are affected by what I do. So that’s pretty horrible. I didn’t get into a band to have responsibilities – ever. I want to be free. I think we’re all just adjusting to changing so that we do what we want but we also don’t fuck up the way things are.”

Taking this opportunity to discuss changes, the subject of Max’s absence is broached. For a while he had returned to the fold, but for the most it would seem his seat had been permanently filled by Denton. At first Luke is reticent on the matter, gradually revealing that Max first left the group back in February after massive rows between the two of them. “I haven’t really talked to any journalists about it because it’s personal and it’s not really fair on him,” he starts, obviously still scarred by his friend’s decision. “We were very strong creatively together, we talked,” he explains. “We lived together for two years and were really close, we talked a lot about the band and the direction and all that. What happened was, on one tour there were loads of problems and loads of stress and we were all doing probably far too much bad things than we should have done, and it all got really mixed up. We started fighting, Max and me, because we were in the room together. Massive rows about absolutely nothing. So one day he literally just left, and left me a message saying, ‘I love you but I just can’t fucking do this at the moment and need some time’. We didn’t really know what to do. We cancelled a few shows, I think, and then came back with him to finish the tour. Then we all decided, look we’ve all had enough, you need some time off, and then we did it. Then he rung me up and was like, ‘Listen man, I really think that you should carry on without me because I can’t really handle this’. So we got Peter in, and he just fit in really well. He’s a really cool guy, an amazing musician. We carried on and it just went on for ages and he just stayed home for ages, so it’s been really hard. Then he came back and then wanted to leave again. That’s all I can say about it really. We all miss him. We miss the old Max.”

JULY 2006

• 1 French festival, • 3 TV appearance, • 8 T in the Park, Scotland, • 9 Oxegen, Ireland, • 14 German festival, • 20 Swiss festival, • 22 Benicassim, Spain, • 30 Clash Club acoustic performance

What we do is pretty exhausting, but we could be doing manual labour. It’s pretty simple, pretty easy; it’s just fun.

It’s the height of summer and The Kooks have joined the travelling circus of bands that trawl from one festival to another. It’s a great experience, says Luke, but a case of the same old faces everywhere you look. “There are certain people it’s good to meet,” he says. “It’s always awkward with bands, I think, because a lot of bands are quite insular. I mean we are to a certain degree because you have your little bubble. I find I’m so judgmental, I have these whole judgements on bands before I meet them – I’m a bit of a dick like that. We had a wicked summer. We must have done like 30 festivals.”

A highlight? The exemplary Big Daddy of European fests: Benicassim in Spain. “That was amazing. There was a swimming pool backstage!” Luke proclaims. “We played at 12 o’ clock at night, between Morrissey and Franz Ferdinand, and we’re just like, ‘We’re not worthy! We’ve done so little, how can we be playing here? So we were on at like the perfect time and we just fucking had an amazing gig. What you had at the festival was this structure going up on each side where people could stand, and you could see people, girls dancing and everything. It was just fucking surreal. You get these moments that are totally cinematic and it’s very cool.”

Back in London a couple of weeks later and we are enduring the hottest summer to date. Clash has staged the first of our Sunday Sessions all-day party at Camden’s Lock Tavern and, after a day of musical celebration with DJ sets from The Duke Spirit, Drew from Babyshambles and Edith Bowman, the night climaxed with an acoustic solo performance from Luke. Perched upon the tiny makeshift stage upstairs, he peered out to a double-capacity crowd, some of which had queued for eight hours to witness the unique happening. With the crowd squeezed in right in front of Luke’s face it was, in his own words, “absolute mayhem”. He went on to play, to the gathered congregation’s delight, mostly new songs that he’d recently written and decided to test-drive, but threw in a couple more well known numbers. “One of the new ones has become a song we play every night now, which I think is probably the best pop song we have ever written – very simple with a Smiths-y vibe breakdown in the middle,” he says. “I’m hoping to maybe do a solo record as well because I feel like I want to,” he reveals. “You know Stiff Records? My dad was very good friends with Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, the guys who set it up, and it’s their 20th anniversary this year. My friend works for this company that are starting it again this year. I was talking to him about doing a solo release. We’re doing an EP hopefully with Larrikin Love and some other bands and hopefully put that out on Stiff.”

At the culmination of his set, with the whole place hungry for more, the Clash DJs slipped ‘Naïve’ on to the decks, the one song everybody wanted to hear but that Luke refused to play. The result? An explosion of sheer joy. “It was a great fucking moment!” Luke beams. “It was one of the first moments when I realised that we’re quite a big band, because you just don’t think about it.”

AUGUST 2006

• 1 Belgian TV show, • 3 Portuguese festival, • 5 German festival, • 11-13 Japanese festival, • 18-24 Seaside tour, UK, • 25-27 Carling Reading/Leeds festival, • 29 Rolling Stones support

“I can’t really remember whose idea it was,” Luke says, regarding the Seaside tour undertaken in August, which saw them visiting sea-front towns around England’s coasts. The result of a refusal to play the same old venues in the same old towns, the band jumped at the idea of heading somewhere a bit different, where the crowds would be glad to see them, and make a bit of an event out of it. “We did our own festival in Skegness,” he grins. “Two thousand people turned up in the middle of nowhere, and I’m not even joking, we played out the back of a lorry. The security guards – this was so funny – they were all paid in beer and were all off their heads. We were sitting in the dressing room and the guys are coming in offering me coke and cheap speed and I was like, ‘No thank you, very much’. And we got on stage and we’re playing and the crowd are going fucking nuts, but the security guards aren’t even looking – they’re looking at us going, ‘Yeah! Come on!’ In-fucking-sane. No one ever plays in Skegness, probably for a good reason!”

A bit of a change in scene, then, to go from the back of a lorry to the grand stage at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium – all at the behest of The Rolling Stones. Having been invited to fill the support slot, the lifelong Stones fans naturally accepted (they were in fact offered the whole tour but politely declined as it conflicted with their own tour). “The night was hilarious,” Luke remembers. “I spent the entire night with Mick Jagger’s daughter and not realising that she was Mick Jagger’s daughter. I was trying to chat her up, not realising that she was 15!” he cracks up. “Keith Richards was playing this song off ‘Some Girls’, and I was going, ‘I really like this tune, it’s amazing’ and she’s like, [flatly] ‘Yeah it’s good’. And I was going, ‘So are you a massive Stones fan? It must be wicked to be here?’ And she was going, ‘Yeah yeah yeah’, and all night I was talking to her about the Stones, like talking talking talking, and at the end I said something really stupid like, ‘Do you know this tune?’ And she just went, ‘Well look, I probably do because I’m Mick Jagger’s daughter!’” he guffaws. “I was just like, ‘Oh my God!’”

SEPTEMBER 2006

• 1 Belgian awards TV show, • 5 Italian festival, • 6-7 French TV, • 10-19 Holiday, • 23 Radio appearance, • 26-19 October UK tour

With September comes the only actual mention of any holiday time in The Kooks’ exhaustive schedule. “You know what?” Luke points out. “The problem with touring is that when you have a holiday, you don’t really have a holiday. When you stop, your body just really gets in a pickle. I find that I really miss touring straightaway. It’s really funny, it’s like it gets to the evening and you feel like you should be at a show. Your brain can’t shut off. What we do is pretty exhausting, but we could be doing manual labour. It’s pretty simple, pretty easy; it’s just fun.”

Also that month, and somewhat to be expected, one fraction of the music media decided to fabricate their own rivalry between two bands, pitching The Kooks up against Razorlight – two bands each with a vocal front man, unafraid to say what’s on their mind. “Rivalry?” Luke scoffs. “It really did piss me off actually, only because I just think that I thought we’d got to the point where we didn’t have to do that to sell records anymore. I think that one of the most detracting things about music is that you don’t have to compete and that it’s art and art isn’t judged by merit as it’s personal.”

Clearly agitated by the whole affair, he continues: “Personally I hate that shit. I wouldn’t care if someone slagged off our music. If I read somewhere, and people have done it, where they say our music’s bad, I don’t really mind, but I just thought it was a bit strange. But you know what? I’ve said my fair share of things about people and been misquoted in lots of them so I understand.”

The success story that is The Kooks in 2006 was made official in September when it was announced that sales of ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ had exceeded a million. Thus The Kooks find themselves in the position of one of the year’s biggest selling bands and with the honour of having their album in the homes of over a million people with very good, if not exceptional taste. “I think it means that next time round there’s gonna be a lot of people looking,” Luke ponders cautiously. “But we’ve got no fear. We’re not the kind of band who do things because people expect them. I think we are essentially a pop band so essentially we are going to be making pleasing music, but I think it gives us much more freedom. I have a lot of faith in us now and a lot more belief because the way we’ve done things has worked.”

“And it’s not just selling a million records,” he goes on, “it’s selling a million records to people that when we play something they know all the songs. It’s not just off the back of a single. I really feel like people who get the album really get into it, and that’s a really important thing for us. Really it’s just a great fucking feeling; you feel like an important band.”

OCTOBER 2006

• 19 UK tour ends, • 21-29 US tour

It’s a dull as dishwater grey Wednesday in Birmingham and the rain is lashing down. The ennui of autumn is all too apparent in the hunched bodies that snake through the city, wrapped up in thick layers of woollen protection. In a tiny studio in an industrial estate outside the city centre, The Kooks have gathered to meet Clash once again, and is the setting for our intimate interview with Luke. Their escalating success has still not changed them: Hugh and Paul still frolicking away, the latter more concerned with the day’s football action, while Peter looks every bit comfortable in his role as new boy.

They play tonight as part of their ongoing tour, which started later than planned due to Luke’s sudden bout of tonsillitis. He claims to be 100% recovered and ready for action, as tonight’s show will confirm.

For now, we are looking further ahead, to the final months of the year and the onset of 2007.

“Do you know how fucking nuts it’s going in America?” Luke asks, looming over the table between us. I’ve only just asked him about the forthcoming American tour, but it seems I’ve lit a fuse. “It’s fucking mental! ‘Eddie’s Gun’ is number 5 in the student airplay charts. All the press is going wicked.”

As it appears, the intention for the immediate future is to begin to capitalise on this surge of interest from across the Atlantic. “It’s funny how you get misquoted or misinterpreted,” Luke says, “because when people asked me about the US I was always like, ‘I don’t want to think about the US’, because every band that becomes successful in England goes, ‘Right, we’re going to be fucking huge in America. Let’s go and take over’, and I always saw it like, who the fuck are we to do that? But now I feel like people are into it, and now that I feel like that I feel like, ‘Yeah man!’ I mean, I don’t want to go over there and break our backs for no point just because we have this whole American dream. The reason why it would be amazing is because I think once you get into America you become a ‘world’ band, you know what I mean? It’s something I’d really love but I don’t want it to change us.”

With time off for Christmas, the band are looking to secure some valuable time together at home in Brighton away from all the hustle and bustle of life on the road. “We’re just gonna have a month or two just to totally forget about everything and go back to how we started; have a rehearsal room where we can go when we want – no pressure, nothing, take our time with our songs. We have so much material that we need to spend time with so we’ll just have fun,” Luke says.

But, more pressingly, what is he going to buy his band mates for Christmas? “Nothing,” he laughs. “No, I will. I don’t know; I might have to get them something nice. I’m so skint though, which is just unbelievable when you’ve just been talking about selling a million records. I just looked in my fucking bank and I’ve literally got 20 quid. But it’s a myth; I always thought, oh whatever, people just say that, but it is true man, it takes so long to get your money. So this Christmas I’m gonna have to try and get some cash together to get people presents!” (The Luke Pritchard Christmas Fund is not a registered charity, but do please feel free to donate).

By next February, Luke estimates, they will be ready to head back into the studio to start the recording of their second album, the much-awaited follow-up to ‘Inside In/Inside Out’. But he’s not making too many plans for it just yet. “I like to think of things spontaneously but yeah I’ve got a few ideas,” he begins. “To be honest, with everything with Max it’s been quite up in the air and there’s been a lot of hard things going on. On the first record we had a really clear focus on what we were trying to achieve – I did anyway. I really wanted to make a really honest, soulful pop record where every song was its own song and not preachy, you know what I mean? I think on the next one probably the same sentiment, but I’ve got to think about it.”

He’s on a roll: “The new songs that I’ve been writing are a lot more rootsy actually, which is kind of strange. My own songs, I’ve been writing a lot of folk. It’s weird because I forget how all the old songs were when they started, which is probably quite similar in a way – just acoustic guitar and then they change. But taking from the one we’ve just written though I think it will be more of the same really. I don’t think we’re gonna try and reinvent the wheel. I think we’re gonna probably experiment more with sounds. With the first one, when we went in we had no idea what we were doing and we were just gonna play and if ideas come we’d do them. I think as soon as you start thinking too far ahead it kind of mixes your head up and you have too many things.”

And so we face the final curtain of 2006. We’ve seen bands come and go, we’ve made new friends, said goodbye to old ones, and got on board the roller-coaster ride of a few bands who’ve made this year an extra special experience. The Kooks are no exception to this. Their trajectory from January to October has been an impressive and well-deserved achievement and for that we honour them. It’s been a pleasure for us, but has it been everything they thought it would be? “It’s been everything I thought it would be and more and less,” Luke confesses. “We’ve had a really up and down year and lots of doubts. Lots of highs but so many doubts and moments of guilt. I think what’s really nice for us is to come from being, I feel, a really unrespected band to being respected. I really felt like – and I don’t know if we’re respected now – but I feel like we’re respected now, whereas when we started I felt almost completely disrespected by people. We’d do interviews and people were just chucking in things about my ex-girlfriend or about going to stage school and all that kind of stuff, which I felt was really fucking rude. And then overcoming that really just because of the tunes. So yeah, I think that’s what the year has been for us – overcoming all that and making our mark.”

That change that Luke was hankering after last year? It’s within his grasp. The Kooks are out in the street and you’d better watch out: 2007 is going to be a hell of a year.

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