The Reason Alex Turner Got Kicked In The Face By The Kooks’ Luke Pritchard

The world of rock and roll is no stranger to feuds, rivalries, and downright brawls. We’ve seen the likes of the notorious squabble between Oasis and Blur, where the tension was as palpable as the music itself. These conflicts often have a range of reasons behind them, from personal differences to disputes over creative direction, and sometimes, they’re sparked by something as simple as a guitar. This brings us to the focal point of our tale – a feud between two of Britain’s most prominent rock bands at the time, Arctic Monkeys and the Kooks, with a kick in the face thrown in for good measure.

Rewind back to 2008; the stage was set for a clash of rock titans. Arctic Monkeys, the audacious chimps from Sheffield, led by Alex Turner, were at the peak of their game. On the other side, Brighton-based the Kooks, led by the charismatic Luke Pritchard, were making waves in the indie rock scene. As it happens, the two bands found themselves performing back-to-back shows.

Things acerbated when Pritchard discovered Turner attempting to disconnect his guitar during a gig. In response, the Kooks’ frontman, never one to hold back, delivered a kick to Turner’s head. The tension between the two bands, simmering since their first meeting, suddenly reached a boiling point. This incident left a sour taste, and despite Pritchard’s attempts to extend an olive branch, Turner wasn’t quite ready to bury the hatchet.

Pritchard said the following about the incident in a 2008 interview with the Mirror:

“We’ve had a weird relationship with the Arctics since we first met. I had to kick Alex in the face because he was trying to pull the leads out of my guitar pedals while we were on stage. We had done so many back-to-back shows with them, and it just escalated.

I saw them recently in a studio and tried to patch things up. I asked Alex if he wanted to have a bit of a jam in the studio, but he just turned his back and walked away. I suppose they are quite arrogant – but who can blame them. They’ve got a lot going for them.”

Over the years, this feud became a prominent feature in the narrative of both bands. Pritchard voiced his admiration for Turner’s talent as a musician but couldn’t help but take a dig at his high-profile relationship with T4 star Alexa Cheung. Pritchard felt that Cheung was the real beneficiary of their relationship, as Turner was already a huge star when they met. Regardless of his personal feelings, Pritchard lamented the tension between the two bands, citing his newfound resolution to avoid band feuds.

On the other hand, Turner remained tight-lipped, choosing not to comment on the issue, which only added more fuel to the speculative fire. Fast forward to 2012, during an interview with Music News, Pritchard cleared the air regarding their feud. He suggested that the British press had amplified the situation and that there was no real animosity between the two bands.

Their shared experience of being young, successful bands had naturally drawn comparisons and pitted them against each other. Pritchard admitted that while the Kooks had often been the underdogs in the press, it may have been a blessing in disguise.

The Kooks frontman’s words on the feud:

“There’s no problem. There’s not ever been any real animosity between us. People relate to us because we’re the same age and we’re in bands. The British press like to do some things. But it’s fine. That’s the thing: The difference between the Kooks and the Arctic Monkeys in England is the press. It’s quite the opposite, really. It could be a blessing for us, really.

If you have too much press support, it can dilute what you do, and you become too reliant on that. With Arctic Monkeys, we’re totally cool. I thought it was a brilliant line-up for us and for two British bands to come over; it was good.”

To this day, the kick-in-the-face incident has become a memorable footnote in the story of these two bands. Despite the initial feud, Pritchard made it clear that they were ‘totally cool’ with the Arctic Monkeys, with the press playing a significant role in painting a rather dramatic picture of their relationship. As with any story in the rock and roll world, the truth is often more nuanced and less sensational than what makes the headlines.