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Arctic Monkey’s Alex Turner: “my Grandad helped with the lyrics”

Related Artists: Arctic Monkeys

Artists often talk about how their family inspired their music or lyrics but, for the lead singer of one mega-popular British rock band, that influence was a bit more literal.

According to a recent interview with Alex Turner on Radio X, Turner said that his grandad was a great help on some of the lyrics on the new Arctic Monkeys album.

Nope, it’s not the hit “Why’d You Only Call me When You’re High”, which is unlikely to have impressed a member of Grandpa Turner’s generation. Nor is it likely to be any of the beautifully poetic – but unflinching and coarse – lyrics from the Sheffield Jam’s debut, “Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.”

Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino, released earlier this month, is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2013’s AM.

The song American Sports – track three on the new record – features some slightly mystifying lyrics: “Breaking news, they take the truth and make it and fluid / The trainer's explanation was accepted by the steward.”

Speaking to John Kennedy on Radio X, the songwriter explained that he was visiting his grandparents before he and the rest of the Arctic Monkeys lads had started writing for the album.

“We were talking, he and I, and he declared out of nowhere: ‘You know I often think of phrases from time to time that I think you might be able to do something with’.

“I thought, alright, I can take all the help I can get at this point, I’m sort of drawing a blank. What have you got in mind?

“He’s a horse racing fan, and whenever there’s a steward’s inquiry, what you hear back after is: ‘The trainer’s explanation was accepted by the steward’. "

“He shared this with me and I thought, it’s so loaded. So I had to write that down, and I sellotaped it in my notebook. I wrote a lot of it around that [phrase] and what I interpreted it to mean.”

And so it made its way onto the album. Fair play. All that our grandad talks about is how “things used to be better in the old days” and some worrying things about Brexit.

“It’s nice to know he’s got me back,” says Turner of his grandad.