May 17, 2007 / 2:11 PM / 12 years ago

Arctic Monkeys conquer UK; Is America next?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After conquering Britain with hit singles and two No. 1 albums, rockers the Arctic Monkeys are back in America, giving rise to the question of whether they can repeat their success here.

Singer Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys performs on stage during a gig at Leeds University, February 1, 2006. After conquering Britain with hit singles and two No. 1 albums, rockers the Arctic Monkeys are back in America, giving rise to the question of whether they can repeat their success here. REUTERS/Warren Smith

Band members are keeping their expectations low.

“We’re not bothered about not breaking America. We want to come here and enjoy it, not see it as a job,” said drummer Matt Helders.

The 21-year-olds from Sheffield in the north of England exude calm on stage and in interviews while remaining the talk of the rock world, adored by critics and assuming the role as icons for young, hip Britons.

Last year’s album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard pop charts in the United States and the recently released “Favorite Worst Nightmare” has reached as high as No. 7 in America.

The band is winding up an American tour that began at the Coachella Festival in California in April, playing a series of sold-out shows as they did last year to support their first album. But their American success remains overshadowed by their meteoric rise in Britain, where they have received hype similar to that heaped on Oasis a decade ago.

“We did hit No. 7 on the Billboard chart, which is miles better than any of us ever expected. We won’t be aiming any higher than that,” said bassist Nick O’Malley. “I don’t think we’ll have the No. 1 album.”

Helders said the band has refrained from marketing itself thoroughly in the United States, turning down television appearances and extensive magazine interviews.

“We didn’t want to get too big and too famous. We’re afraid of getting recognized everywhere we go. I don’t see any reason to put your song on a TV advert just to make some money.”

The Arctic Monkeys seem intent on avoiding the pitfalls of fame at an early age. O’Malley and front man Alex Turner still live at home with their parents. Helders and guitarist Jamie Cook just bought their own places, choosing to stay in the Sheffield area.

“We still all live in the same place we grew up. It’s probably just how we were brought up. We’re never going to move away to London,” Helders said.

While on the road, they avoid scandals.

“It’s not as crazy as you might think,” O’Malley said of life as a rock star. “We have a lot of fun and everything. We just seem like we’re a few friends constantly on holiday.”

Reuters/Nielsen

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