Today we’re taking a nostalgic look back at the first time certain bands appeared in the pages of NME. Here’s Arctic Monkeys, photographed in their Sheffield rehearsal space for their first appearance in the mag, a new band feature emblazoned with the headline: ‘The most talked about new band in Britain.’ This was early 2005. By October they’d had a Number One single.
Kings Of Leon looking ridiculously fresh-faced in early 2003, around the time of their debut EP, ‘Holy Roller Novocaine’. We travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to meet them. Bassist Jared Followill was just 16 at the time.
Foals goof around at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, 2007 – photographed by Danny North. At this point the only things they’d released were the limited editions 7″ singles Hummer (b/w Astronauts ‘n’ All) and Mathletics. They hadn’t yet started work on debut album ‘Antidotes’.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs graced the cover in April 2003, proclaimed the “most exciting band on the planet.” ‘Fever To Tell’ was finished but hadn’t been released yet, and the band were in good spirits, bantering about chronic masturbation, Karen’s love of “champagne and reefer”, and Nick’s love of “sucking face”.
The Strokes shot backstage post-gig in LA in 2002. They were still in the first flush of success – ‘Is This It’ had come out the previous summer – and even though Julian had injured his leg just before this photo was taken (hence the slight grimace), he and the rest of the band were partying hard.
The Killers in 2004, around the time of the ‘Somebody Told Me’ single. We shot them, not in their native Vegas, but on a lit-up dance floor in London’s King’s Cross. In the accompanying interview, Brandon confessed: “If I got a dollar for every time I was propositioned up to some MILF’s room, I’d be a rich man” (this being 2004, we had to explain the term MILF in brackets).
Franz Ferdinand were recording their debut album in Malmo, Sweden, when we interviewed them for their first NME one-pager. They released their debut single ‘Darts Of Pleasure’ around the same time. This being 2003, The Darkness were on the cover and there was a giant poster of The Datsuns.
Proclaimed the best new band in Britain, The Libertines first appeared on our cover in June 2002. The now-iconic shoot was the work of Roger Sargent, who later became their official photographer. Key quote: “I think two of us will be dead by Christmas” (Pete Doherty).
The Horrors were still pretty obscure when we slapped them on the cover in 2006 – they’d only released the singles ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’ and ‘Death And The Chapel’. Dean Chalkley took this shot down an alley in Soho.
The Maccabees’ first appearance in the pages of NME, November 2005, around the time of their debut single release, ‘X Ray’.
Kasabian in 2000, by Sam Jones. Marian Paterson recalls: “Before they hit the bigtime, Kasabian lived and rehearsed on a disused farm on the outskirts of Leicester, complete with rusty old tractors and barns.”
Bloc Party shot in 2003 by Ed Miles, at the New Cross Inn, south London, where the band formed and were living at the time.
My Chemical Romance’s first NME photo shoot, 2004. They’d just released ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ and in those days were still into all things gothic, so they were well up for this horror movie-themed shoot.
Crystal Castles, shot at photographer Tom Oxley’s studio in Dalston, 2008. Marian Paterson: “They’re quite mysterious and difficult to shoot but that tension is what makes them interesting. Nathan had a strong of idea of how he wanted himself and Alice to be portrayed. We were amazed by how fragile and delicate Alice looks in person, completely opposite to her onstage persona.”
Paramore photographed in their hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, in June 2007, shortly before the release of their second album ‘Riot!’
Biffy Clyo, shot by Ellis Parrinder in 2004, shortly before the release of their third album ‘Infinity Land’.