50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Photo: Tom Oxley/NME

50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

After four years away Franz Ferdinand return with new LP 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action' this month. Marking the occasion, here are 50 geeky facts about the Glasgow indie rockers. For starters, did you know that the B-side of breakout single ‘Take Me Out’, ‘All For You, Sophia’, is about their namesake Archduke? It includes nods towards his assassin and secret society ‘Black Hands’.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

On Record Store Day in 2009, Franz Ferdinand released 'Blood', an album completely made up of dub versions the tracks from their album, 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand'.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

The band is well versed when it comes to cover tracks, with renditions of hits by the likes of Pulp, David Bowie and Britney Spears.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Their songs have also been undergone the remix treatment by several big names from the electronic music world, including Daft Punk, Hot Chip and Erol Alkan.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Of their track ‘The Fallen’ Alex Kapranos has said: "This song is about someone I know coming back as the reincarnation of Christ, and imagining what they would do. In this my case turning water into wine and getting it on with Mary Magdalene.’’

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Alex Kapranos worked as a welder and chef before getting his break in the music industry with Franz.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

A consistent theme of Franz Ferdinand’s in both their videos and sleeves are nods to Russian avant-garde artwork and the Dada movement.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

The music video for the hit single ‘Take Me Out’ took inspiration from the graphic novel ‘Une Semaine de Bonte' by artist Max Ernst.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand took their name from a racehorse called the Archduke Ferdinand.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

They then went on to research Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was a catalyst for the start of World War I. But each member of the band has a different spin on why they decided on him as their namesake.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Bassist Bob Hardy on the band’s name: "Mainly we just liked the way it sounded. We liked the alliteration."

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Alex Kapranos on the band’s name: "He was an incredible figure as well. His life, or at least the ending of it, was the catalyst for the complete transformation of the world and that is what we want our music to be. But I don't want to over-intellectualize the name thing. Basically a name should just sound good ... like music."

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Paul Thompson meanwhile said "I like the idea that, if we become popular, maybe the words Franz Ferdinand will make people think of the band instead of the historical figure.’’

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

On "Auf Achse," a track from Franz Ferdinand's debut album, the last part of the song references Jesus's crucifixion. Alex studied theology at university.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand got themselves into hot water after Alex advised young artists to avoid covering Oasis songs, tweeting: "Never cover Oasis. Never forget your friends. Always have a laugh. RT.’’

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

When asked why, the singer replied: "Ach. Nothing personal. Just because everyone does. And they're so f***ing boring. RT’’

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Alex Kapranos was born to an English mother and Greek father in Gloucestershire.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Kapranos previously played in some of Glasgow’s best-loved bands, including The Yummy Fur, The Amphetameanies and The Blisters.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Alexander Paul Kapranos Huntley apparently dropped the ‘Huntley’ from his name due to the association with murdered Ian Huntley shortly before forming Franz Ferdinand.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Alex's middle name Paul is a tribute to Paul McCartney, whom his mother had a crush on.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand turned down a set at Live 8 in the name of love. Guitarist and keyboard player Nick McCarthy married his fiancé Manuela Gernedel in Germany in July 2005.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand and Kanye West have a mutual admiration for one another. The two acts were introduced at the 2004 MTV Europe Awards.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Late 2005 saw singer Kapranos begin a weekly food column for the newspaper The Guardian, detailing the vast variety of food he encountered whilst touring internationally.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Nick McCarthy can also play cello, double bass and the lute.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Kapranos told the Daily Mail in an interview that performing to large audiences is similar to ‘‘going to bed with a woman.’ He went on: ‘'to do a good gig or perform well between the sheets you need to lose all self-consciousness.’’

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Alex interviewed Wilco Johnson for the Big Issue earlier this year.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

He has also interviewed The Doors organist Ray Manzerek. It didn’t go so well, though: "’I told Ray Manzarek I loved how you could play the organ line from Light My Fire almost entirely on the white keys.’’ Manzarek replied: "What? Are you implying my music is simplistic, you moron?”

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Franz turned down an offer from Prince William for a Royal Command Performance at the Queen's Buckingham Palace Christmas Reception in 2004. "Ideally, musicians belong outside the Establishment. When they cross that line, it's like something in them has died," Alex explained.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Franz was only meant to be "a bit of a laugh" for frontman Alex instead of a career, having inherited a bass guitar from Mike Cooke of Belle & Sebastian.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

The band once put on a show during an art exhibition at friend Celia Hempton’s flat.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Kapranos cites Soviet-era author Mikhael Bulgakov as a key influence.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Drummer Paul Thompson’s record label NEW! only deals in vinyl.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

The rock band started their own book club whilst touring.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Kapranos delivered a speech at the Edinburgh Lecture in which he called for state support of rock music, campaigning for bursaries to be available to bands in addition to orchestras.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Alex Kapranos drove a Land Rover across Kosovo for an anti-landmine charity before he found fame.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand performed with Black Eyed Peas and Maroon 5 at the 2005 Grammys.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

The song ‘Lucid Dreams’ was used in the Madden '09 video game.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Nick McCarthy was dressed as '80s dandy-man Adam Ant at the party where he and Kapranos met. After a punch-up resulting from some cheeky vodka-grabbing the two became friends.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Thomson used to work as a nude model and participate in medical research trials.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Soon after forming, the band set up a rehearsal space in a derelict Art Deco warehouse fringing on the River Clyde called the Chateau. Kapranos was later arrested by police who accused him of running it as an illegal drinking den.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

A lightswitch was once the catalyst for an argument between Kapranos and McCarthy so severe that it nearly split the band up.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

The album ‘Tonight’ features the sounds of a human skeleton, bought for £12 ("it seemed like too good a bargain to ignore, even though there was no head on it," claimed Alex.) The band then snapped the bones and used them to drum – which they believe gives the album it’s urgent sound.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

McCarthy celebrated the success of the band's debut album by buying himself "a Y-reg Mercedes estate, which cost me £250. That's about as carried away as I got.’’

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Hardy spent his youth in Wyke, Bradford, where his baker-dad was renown for his pain au chocolat and experiment brioche.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Hardy’s creative juices stem beyond music - his synaesthesia (which enables him to hear smells) inspired paintings saw him secure a place in Bradford College’s BTEC Foundation Course of Art and Design in 1998.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

When Hardy first met Kapranos at the 13th Note in Glasgow, he apparently disgusted the frontman with a string of dead baby jokes.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Though repulsed by Hardy’s humour, Alex ended up chatting to him and found he was unemployed. The vocalist got him a job alongside him as a dessert chef.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Hardy is said to enjoy receiving pretzels from fans on tour.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

Paul Thomson is also a talented dancer. Having tapdanced his way to a part in a West End production of ‘Oliver!’ as a child, he also reportedly choreographs many of the band’s music videos.

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50 Geeky Facts About Franz Ferdinand

In an interview where they were asked about one of the strangest places they had found themselves in following fame, Hardy said: "I think it might've been Usher's [post-MTV Awards] party in Rome, when he came out cuddling two tiger cubs."

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