Legend has it The Kooks took their name from the song on David Bowie's "Hunky Dory" album. Interestingly, there are other song titles on the album that would have made far more compelling band names. What about 'Life On Mars?', 'Eight Line Poem' or best of all, 'Queen Bitch'. Now there's a band name. If they'd ventured to the next album, "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars" they could have been 'Moonage Daydream', or 'Suffragette City'. And who could resist downloading a band called 'Rock N' Roll Suicide'? But The Kooks is what they settled on and The Kooks is what they are.
The Kooks formed in '05 at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. Signed by Virgin U.K., they released a couple singles, "Eddie's Gun" and "Sofa Song," that didn't do much. But "You Don't Love Me" managed to crack the Top 20. Their debut album "Inside In/Inside Out" was issued in January, '06. Hot on the heels of that release came yet another single, "Naive," which Pritchard wrote when he was 16. It landed in the Top 10 making The Kooks the British Band of the Week. The next stop was South By Southwest in Austin and shows in New York and L.A. The U.S. version of "Inside In/Inside Out" arrived in October '06. The set earned The Kooks several award nominations and they won Best UK and Ireland Act at the '06 MTV Europe Music Awards. But with success there's often a dilemma. Rafferty was forced to leave the group in January, '08, because he was having difficulty coping with life on the road. Dan Logan was brought in to be Rafferty's short-term replacement though Rafferty's return seemed doubtful.
"I don't want to say anything that may upset him but when it happened it made us all even more determined to succeed, said Pritchard. "It was tough but we couldn't let it get in the way as we think we are a good and important band that deserves to be big. For all the good things you're going to have bad." Pritchard concluded saying, "maybe being in a band like this isn't for everyone." Ya think?
Undeterred, The Kooks finished recording their sophomore effort "Konk." "I want this album to be big," pronounced Pritchard. "I've got an ego - I want the album to do well. I want our singles to come on the radio and for people to have their heads blown off by them."
For what it's worth, in an interview at the '07 Coachella Festival, Courtney Love named The Kooks as her daughter Frances Bean Cobain's favorite band. On the other hand, there was certainly no love lost between Pritchard and Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell. Both publicly proclaimed their loathing of the other and his band giving the excitable British music press even more drivel to write about.
Like their mortal enemies, Razorlight, The Kooks play Garage Rock cut with Britpop. Borrell once implied that The Kooks would bend over backwards (that's putting it politely) to garner airplay on Britain's Radio 1. Looking at The Kooks' singles from "Inside In/Inside Out" and how they progressed up the charts, he may have a point. "Sofa Song" and "Eddie's Gun" are both energetic guitar romps. "You Don't Love Me" with its slashing guitar is more restrained and mainstream oriented while the band's genuine hit, "Na´ve" is safely mid-tempo. "See The World" is closer, in style and spirit, to the earlier singles, and that's good. There's a reckless, 'just kickin' around' charm to The Kooks best songs.