The Reason Andy Nicholson Left Arctic Monkeys

Imagine being in the Arctic Monkeys in 2006. There had been a lengthy period of gigging around the band's home city of Sheffield, England. During that time, according to The Guardian, the Arctic Monkeys revolutionized the distribution of music through the use of burned CDs, file sharing websites, and the social media platform Myspace. As a result, they saw their debut 2005 single "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" going straight to number 1 on the UK singles chart. The next year started with their follow-up single, "When The Sun Goes Down," released January 16, 2006, achieving the same feat.

The band was on the cusp of becoming megastars. Their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, which was released on January 23, 2006, made UK chart history. After selling more than 360,000 copies in its first week, it officially became the UK's fastest-selling debut album of all time, according to the BBC.  It was seen by many critics as the fulfillment of the many years of hype that the band had enjoyed until that point, winning the 2006 Mercury Music Prize and a slew of other awards. WPSIATWIN is now considered a bona fide classic among indie music fans and still ranks on many music magazines' lists of the greatest albums of all time

The Monkeys were attracting critics plaudits for their adrenaline-charged sell-out live shows. A North American tour beginning June 2006 beckoned. Why would anyone walk away from that?

Andy Nicholson leaves the Arctic Monkeys

The roots of the Arctic Monkeys go all the way back to 2002, with the original line-up of Alex Turner on guitar, Matt Helders on drums, and Alex Nicholson (pictured far right) on bass. Turner and Helders were neighbors, and met Nicholson through school. After then recruiting Jamie Cook as a second guitarist — also a schoolfriend, according to The Guardian ––the four members remained a solid unit all the way to 2006 and international acclaim. And then the band fractured.

According to The Independent – who in 2006 described the Arctic Monkeys as "Britain's latest supergroup" — the band has just completed a grueling European tour when bassist Alex Nicholson announced that he was taking a break from the group, as he was suffering "fatigue following an intensive period of touring." News of his departure hit the headlines of the British newspapers and music press, and almost all of them made note of the fact that the split had occurred on the eve of the band's crucial North American tour.

A replacement — Nick O'Malley, a friend of the group who at the time worked at a local supermarket — was drafted in to play bass on the tour, reportedly learning the Arctic Monkeys' set list in two days. O'Malley was originally intended to be a temporary replacement, but he has been the Monkeys' permanent bassist ever since.

Andy Nicholson expelled from the Arctic Monkeys

Upon the band's return, Nicholson was unceremoniously sacked from the Arctic Monkeys. The decision took some explaining, and the reaction from fans was not entirely positive. The fact was that the group found themselves in a difficult position, believing that their bassist would never be happy with touring. As Contact Music reports, at the time, Alex Turner hinted that the problem was Nicholson's homesickness: "I think Andy missed his girlfriend. I remember him saying to me, 'I just wanna go to the park and take me dog for a walk.'" Turner later clarified the band's position, according to the NME: "We sorta found ourselves in a situation where we wanted to move forward. It weren't like us wanting to carry on like this as punishment for him wanting to opt out."

Publicly, says NME, the group assured their fans that they and their old bassist remained good friends. Indeed, Nicholson reunited with his erstwhile bandmates when they played at Leeds Festival later that year, and photos emerged years later of members of the Monkeys as guests at Nicholson's wedding. My Muze reports Nicholson's description of the depression he suffered after his sacking from the group — he was in a "dark place" for three years and was having suicidal thoughts. Nicholson has since found success as a member of Reverend & The Makers, Mongrel, and releases music under the names Andy Gunn and Goldteeth.