In 2002, Franz Ferdinand had a guitarist playing drums, a drummer playing guitar and a bassist who couldn’t play anything. By 2004 they had a multi-platinum album, a Mercury Music Prize and festival slots in front of huge crowds.

Within months of debut single Darts of Pleasure’s release in 2003, the band moved from indie hype to mainstream success, with follow-up Take Me Out launching them into the stratosphere.

While some of their early noughties contemporaries languish in obscurity, the band have evolved and continue to release acclaimed albums while performing to a devoted fan base around the world. 

It’s not all been plain sailing. The band, whose trophy cabinet includes Brit, Ivor Novello, NME and Q awards, have survived lineup changes, record company pressure and being swung from a chandelier while sleep-deprived as a man is set on fire in the background.

This year saw the release of ‘Hits to the Head’, a 20-track best of which traces the band’s journey from rehearsing in a jail cell to headlining arenas. 

The Herald: Franz Ferdinand backstage at Glasgow's Theatre RoyalFranz Ferdinand backstage at Glasgow's Theatre Royal (Image: Colin Mearns/Herald Scotland)

It’s a story that features emails from David Bowie, collaborations with musical legends and a time when “it seemed like the rest of the world was going crazy and we were the only sane ones”. 

As the band prepare for a homecoming show in Glasgow, they look back on 20 years of Franz Ferdinand. 


There were varying degrees of musical experience within the founding members of Franz Ferdinand. While the singer had been a prominent part of Glasgow’s music scene for years, their bassist hadn’t even picked up an instrument. 

The band came together in Glasgow, despite only one of the four having been born in the city. Huge success awaited them, but their ambitions were far more modest. 

Alex Kapranos (vocals and guitar, 2002-present): I was part of the Glasgow music scene. I started putting on bands when I was 19 in the 13th Note, in 1991, and I’d been in various other bands. I’d known Paul for years. Paul had first come through from Edinburgh when I was putting on the Kazoo club in the 13th Note. I got pally with him, and he used to stay with me quite often when he came through to Glasgow. 

I introduced Paul to John from the Yummy Fur, and then I ended up in the Yummy Fur for a wee while as well, so we had that connection before. 

Paul Thomson (drums, 2002-2021): I was grafting, sleeping on people’s sofas. I had jobs working for directory enquiries, in the Clutha and in the 13th Note club with Alex on Clyde Street, which then became the Barfly. We worked in there together, which was a great job actually. 

At that time I was in a band called Pro Forma with my friends Simon and Vic, and I was just hanging out at the Art School because Bob was studying there and Alex’s then-girlfriend was also studying there at the time. I was working there as a life model as well. I had various jobs in-between signing on.

Alex: Bob and I met in early 2000.

Bob Hardy (bass, 2002-present): We met because our girlfriends at the time were in the same class at Art School, and then when it came to the summer and I needed a job, Alex was working in the kitchen and he said he could get me a job washing dishes.

I moved from Bradford to Glasgow to go to Art School in 1999. I was a huge fan of the Glasgow music scene from afar. Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, the whole Chemikal Underground scene, the Delgados, Yummy Fur. One of the reasons I moved to Glasgow was because of the music scene, and I was very excited to get here.

The Herald: Stuart Braithwaite of MogwaiStuart Braithwaite of Mogwai (Image: Herald Scotland)

Just to hang out in places I’d heard about like the 13th Note, and go and see bands, just being part of the scene was very exciting. I didn’t play an instrument until I was 21, really. I had no ambitions to start a band.

Alex: In my mind there were always two things running in parallel, particularly the more I made music. You always wanted to make something great. You always feel like you wanted to make music that was going to have some impact in the world and completely change the world, while resigning yourself to the fact that you might make a single that had 500 copies, 450 of which sat underneath your bed for the rest of your life. 

Paul: Having been in bands in the past, we just thought we’d maybe put out 500 7” singles, get them pressed up in the Czech Republic and just punt them to shops like Rough Trade, and then probably tour the UK. That’s what I’d done previously with Yummy Fur. 

You go away for a week on tour to promote your record, and you just do London, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield. Leeds and you’re basically just drunk for a week, and then you go back to signing on or working.

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Another beloved Scottish band were to play a significant role in Franz Ferdinand’s development.

Alex: Bob and I used to listen to a lot of music together in the kitchen at Groucho Saint Jude’s, and because of the way that kitchen was we would end up doing a lot of shifts when it was just the two of us on. Quite often we’d do a Saturday when Bob was doing the KPing and I was doing work in the kitchen, and because I was the chef in charge of desserts at that time, we’d often be the last ones in the kitchen as well, waiting for people to order their pudding, and during that time we listened to music and just ended up talking about the music we like.

We’d make tapes to bring in and play each other songs that we like and just talk about it, and I guess that conversation went from what we liked about music to what we would do if we were in a band. 

Mick Cooke - who played trumpet in Belle and Sebastian at the time, and was also in the Amphetameanies, who I was playing in at that time - he came down to rehearsal one day and said “Oh I’ve got an old bass, does anybody want it?”, and I said “Oh yeah go on I’ll have it”.

His words were “Do something useful with it”. I remember it very clearly. That night I had a bottle of whisky, and I gave Bob a call and said “Do you want to come over and drink some whisky and learn how to play bass?”.

Bob: It was a social thing really. It wasn’t like ‘Do you want to come round and start a band?’, it was just like ‘Here’s some songs’.

Alex played me an early version of This Fire, and I was like ‘That’s really good’. It was a very different version, it was just on the Wurlitzer piano. And then he said “Well, why don’t you try and play along? Push this one here and then that one there…”.

Alex: “Stick your finger there, bounce it off the string…”. 

There was this debate that we were having. I had this theory that if you could get a sound out of a musical instrument that made you a musician, not necessarily the best musician in the world but you had stepped onto the ladder. That huge scale between pretty basic and useless to being a virtuoso.

Bob: I can see your point…

Alex: It was just the kind of chat you have when you have a few drinks and Bob was saying ‘Oh no I’m not a musician. Just because I’m playing these notes, that doesn’t make me a musician.

Bob: I still stand by that a little bit.


Taking their name from Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, whose assassination in Sarajevo led to World War I, the band emerged with a fully-formed sound and aesthetic. Sharp suits, skinny ties, artwork inspired by Russian constructivism and ‘music to make girls dance to’. 

Alex: Because we’d spent so much time talking about what we liked about bands, a lot of those ideas came before we’d played any notes together. I’d been in a few bands that had got together just to muck about, and maybe there was a degree of idealism behind this band. ‘If we’re going to do something it should be really grand and, I would say, ambitious, but in a fun way’. 

Not ambitious as in ‘we want to sell a certain amount of records’, I mean conceptually ambitious. Wanting to make something that had substance, not just within the music itself but within the aesthetics and how you held yourself and what made a band. 

I guess because Bob wasn’t a musician, there was never this attraction to just getting together and jamming, which so many bands start off from, like ‘come on, let’s get together and jam’, which usually makes for awful music and awful bands. 

Bob: ‘Let’s just jam’ are my least favourite three words in the English language. 

Alex: The sound came about from many things - what we saw round about us, what we wanted to rebel against and what we did like. A lot of our social activities were spent going to gigs but also going to clubs as well, things like Disco X, Optimo and up the Art School. We did a lot of socialising that involved listening to dance music and dancing, and so it seemed natural that the music that we were going to play would have that. 

We wanted the music to cover that side of things, but also the kind of music that we wanted to listen to. I guess the stuff that we talked about was things like Leonard Cohen or Neutral Milk Hotel or the Everly Brothers. It was that level of songwriting, having strong melodic content and a certain substance to the lyrics as well, and sticking that with the beat.

The Herald: Leonard Cohen performing at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970Leonard Cohen performing at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 (Image: PA Images)

I was in my late twenties at that point and had presumed that my opportunity to have any kind of career as a musician was well and truly over, so there was nothing that we did which was made with a commercial slant behind the decision. Everything was purely for artistic reasons rather than commercial reasons, which probably is what made it quite a fun thing. 

It was a fun band to play in, and also quite contrary to the other bands that were round about us in Glasgow at the time, and probably in Britain as well. I think that was quite a strong part of what we were doing. We didn’t want to be like any of the other bands that were kicking around. 


Blackpool-born Nick McCarthy was raised in Germany and left for Glasgow in 2001. After meeting Alex at a party, the original Franz Ferdinand lineup came together.

Alex: The first time I realised that we sounded pretty good was when we started rehearsing with Paul and Nick. We started getting the songs together properly, and used to rehearse at my flat in Dennistoun and Nick’s house in the southside. 

When we started off, Nick was playing drums and Paul was playing guitar. Paul’s a terrible guitarist and Nick’s a terrible drummer, so the band sounded like your archetypal band that would have played the 13th Note, a bit shambolic. Good fun, but couldn’t really play properly. 

But then Bob went out to the offie to get some booze, and when he was out I managed to persuade Paul to sit behind the kit and Nick to maybe try the guitar, and as soon as they started playing it was like ‘F***, this sounds amazing. This sounds really, really good’.

The Herald: Franz Ferdinand at the NME Awards in 2004Franz Ferdinand at the NME Awards in 2004 (Image: PA Images)

Bob: I remember walking up the steps back to the flat from the off-licence which was directly below. I could hear a band. They sounded really good, like a record. I was like ‘what the hell’s that?’. When I went downstairs it didn’t sound like a record. When I came back upstairs it was like ‘oh wow this is a band. I get it now, this is actually quite good’.

Paul: I could play guitar to a point and Nick could play drums to a point, but he was playing stand-up drums. He had the kick drum on its side like Moe Tucker (from The Velvet Underground). That limits you to a certain rhythm, and it was always primal, plodding.

Bob went to the off-licence to buy some beers and by the time he came back we'd switched. I’d put the bass drum round, flipped it and put it where it was supposed to be, and actually sat down to play it, and it was just like ‘oh, this sounds like a proper band now’, not like early Jesus and Mary Chain. 

Alex: I’d known several bands that had sounded good, some of which had gone on to success like Belle and Sebastian or Mogwai. I’d seen them come through the 13th Note scene, and then go on to do something great, but I’d seen others that had been wonderful that hadn’t done anything. Bands like the Girlfriends or the Stanleys or Trout, that were great bands but never really got beyond that scene. 

In the back of my head I was still presuming that ‘oh we sound great, we’ll play some parties to our pals, maybe release a single, but it’s unlikely it’ll go further than that’.

Bob: And I would have been absolutely fine with that as well.

Alex: Me too.

The Herald: Franz Ferdinand's success exceeded their frontman's expectationsFranz Ferdinand's success exceeded their frontman's expectations (Image: Colin Mearns/Herald Scotland)


T in the Park and Glastonbury may have only been a couple of years away, but they were a far cry from the abandoned buildings in which Franz Ferdinand honed the songs and live act that they would showcase on those stages.

Bob: The Chateau was an abandoned building on Oxford Street on the south side, just near Bridge Street underground, that Alex and Nick had stumbled across one day. It was six floors of empty warehouse space. We took it over with some friends who used to run a gallery and we were going to use it as a music hub and hold parties, and so we did. 

Alex: There was a combination of things that we had lying about. Some people put some art up, and I remember there was all this sports equipment that we found in the basement so we brought that up, and there was a rocking horse. I had an air rifle, and we had a shooting range where you had to sit on the rocking horse. People would rock you and you had to shoot a target. 

We had pals from Art School who were Swedish. They were both really good at it because they’d had to spend time in the Swedish army. 

Bob: We had a big party with Uncle John & Whitelock, Park Attack and maybe Scatter, and we played. It was pretty huge. In my head, there were hundreds of people there, but it was probably 50 or 60.

Alex: No, it was really busy.

Bob: In my head it was like Glastonbury. We played this gig and the police came and closed it down, because there was no sound insulation. It was just a glass box on top of this building on the south side. It was fun. 

We couldn’t really use that again, because we’d been rumbled, but then we found the jail, which was in the east end, in the old courtroom on Tobago Street. 

The Herald: Nick McCarthy at T in the Park 2004Nick McCarthy at T in the Park 2004 (Image: PA Images)

Alex: That was a really interesting building. It had been the old east end CID, so there was a police station, a courtroom and a morgue. You would get lifted by the cops, you’d spend the night in the cells, then you’d get tried and eventually hanged and laid out in the morgue, all in the same building complex. That had been empty for years.

Bob: It was an incredible building. We had a cell there that we used to rehearse for the first record.

Alex: When we first started, we rehearsed in the courtroom, this big hall. We were in this big reverberant room and we started playing in a particular way. That was for a week or so during the summer when it didn’t rain, but as soon as it started raining we realised there were loads of holes in the roof so the rain was coming through and landing on the amps. That’s when we moved into the cell. 

We went from this huge room to this room that was literally 9ft by 6ft or something like that. It was absolutely tiny, so we could just get the drumkit and some amplifiers in and all stand super close next to each other, in this room with concrete walls and floors. I think that had a big impact on our sound. We went from this very spacious kind of sound to this very close, tight room, and I think just rehearsing in there really made us play in a particular way. 

We put on different nights in there as well, which often ended up getting busted by the police as well. It was quite funny that the police would come to put a stop to a party that was in their old home. 

Bob: Police have stopped a lot of our things. A few rehearsals as well at Nick’s house. 

Alex: We were generally a nuisance . 


The band’s self-titled debut began to take shape. 

The Herald:

Alex: We rehearsed all the time. In 2002 and into 2003, the band became our main social activity, either playing gigs, doing stuff at the Chateau or writing and rehearsing. We’d played those songs completely inside out, we’d demoed them, and we knew exactly what the arrangements were. 

When it came to actually going into the studio, certainly for me, I had a really strong idea of how the record was going to sound, down to every beat and every melody, which made it both easy and difficult to record.

It caused a certain amount of friction with Tore (Johansson), our producer, who is a really talented guy and a really great producer, but it was probably quite difficult for him dealing with a band that knew exactly what they wanted to do. There was no space for him to make it his production. If there was any tension it was me being kind of difficult and not letting him put the extra stuff on. Ultimately it made it sound like a good record. 

The recording itself was very fast, We just went in and played the songs.

Bob: We were there for two, two-and-a-half weeks. The tracking was finished in the first week.

Alex: At the heart of that record is probably about three or four days worth of performance, and that’s essentially what the record is.


Debut single Darts of Pleasure was released in September 2003. Within five months they were at number 3 in the UK charts with its follow-up. 

Paul: I’d always just been in really wilfully annoying, noisy, weird bands. Now, the way that people were reacting at shows, it was like ‘oh, this is good’. And my parents seemed to like it as well.

Bert Thomson (Paul’s dad, 1976-present): We liked Darts Of Pleasure.

Ellen Thomson (Paul’s mum, 1976-present): I went round everybody that I worked beside and asked them to buy the single, and I went up and bought all these singles from HMV. I bought about 20 copies of Darts Of Pleasure, and went round telling folk “It’s only a single. Come on, get your money out!”.

When they got so successful I was so excited and immensely proud.

Bert: They were everywhere. Not just music magazines. Fashion magazines.

Ellen: We bought all the papers.

Bert: I was talking to a guy in my work who said “I was just reading about your son’s band in the Guardian”, and I said ‘Oh they’re in the Times as well”. 

Paul: It was amazing that they were into it. It’s the ultimate sign of respect when your family likes what you do, and obviously they were massively excited about the fact that I was in this successful band and doing what I always wanted to do from a young age. 

People would dance at the shows, having never heard the songs before, and then people would come back to shows having seen us before, and remember certain songs, Take Me Out being the obvious one. It was a bit like ‘something might be happening here’.

Alex: It was a really mad, rapid movement for the band, in a very short space of time. We played our first gig in the spring of 2002 and recorded our first album in the summer of 2003. Darts of Pleasure came out in September 2003, and then things started going crazy about February 2004. Literally two years after our first gig, we were in this total media maelstrom. 

Bob: For me, playing Glastonbury, travelling around the world and all that kind of stuff was particularly rapid because I was still learning how to play the bass at this point, and suddenly the spotlight was really on us. It was quite a thing. 

Alex: To us it seemed like the rest of the world was going crazy and we were the only sane ones.

Bob: I don’t think I really understood what was happening until a while later, seeing it happen to other bands and saying ‘oh, this is what it must have been like from the outside’. On the inside, it was like the eye of the storm, really.

Paul: It didn’t really sink in until probably after I’d quit. Now every day, it’s just like ‘wow, what an insane life I’ve had’. I can barely manage to do two things in a day, whereas back then it felt like we were doing 50 things in a day.


Stardom took a bit of getting used to, not just for the band but for those around them. 

Alex: I remember going back to Glasgow between touring and TV things, and people I knew would talk to me in a weird way. It was like ‘What are you talking to me like that for? Stop being weird with me’. At the time I probably wasn’t realising from the outside how weird it all must have looked, but it was an odd time’. 

Bob: ‘I walked into town from Dennistoun with my old flatmate and went down along the Trongate, and people just kept stopping and asking for my photo. Every time it happened it was funnier because I was with my friend who I lived with when I was a student for years, and he was like “Is this real? This is bizarre”.

The Herald: Bob Hardy at the Reading Festival in 2004Bob Hardy at the Reading Festival in 2004 (Image: PA Images)

Alex: I stayed in Finnieston for years then Dennistoun for a long time, and I was quite used to being chased by wee neds. I remember a guy flinging a Buckfast bottle at my head. I was just generally used to getting abuse because I dressed a bit, well, to their eyes a bit strange. 

We were by the side of the Barras so maybe we were doing a gig there or something. I remember a gang of young lads coming up, and thinking ‘here we go, we’re going to get some abuse here’, and just steeling myself for it, and then they were like “No way! You guys are the guys from Franz Ferdinand”. They wanted to be our pals rather than chase us. That felt really weird. 

We didn’t have any mentors or anything like that. I sometimes wish that we had.

Bob: I’m not sure we’d have listened.

Alex: It sounds wanky saying it, but David Bowie came to a few gigs and I did email him for a while, or he was emailing me, but I couldn’t really reply because it felt like I was destroying the image of him that I had in my head. 

I didn’t want to spoil it. I didn’t want to discover that he might be a bit of an arsehole, which I’m almost certain he wasn’t, but it’s not even that, I just didn’t want him to be real and ordinary. 

The Herald: Bowie reached out to frontman Alex KapranosBowie reached out to frontman Alex Kapranos (Image: Herald Scotland)

Every time you meet somebody who’s famous, that’s the most revealing thing, just discovering that they’re just an ordinary person. Sometimes that’s very reassuring, because it makes you feel like ‘oh yeah, I’m just an ordinary person, I could do it as well’, but I didn’t want him to be like that. 

I was a bit stressed out, finding some sides of the success difficult to deal with, and I remember Eleanor, my girlfriend at the time, saying “Look, this guy’s writing to you, he wants to help you out, he wants to give you advice”, and I would just say “No, I can’t do that. It’ll just ruin my idea of what David Bowie is if I speak to him”. 

I wish I had. He probably would have given me some good tips.


Take Me Out became one of the decade’s defining anthems.

Bob: I knew it was a good song from the very first time we played it all the way through in a rehearsal. ‘That’s good’. The amount of success it had was maybe surprising.

Alex: I think what surprised me was the mainstream success that it had. I figured that I could imagine hearing it in the sort of places where we would socialise…

Bob: Exactly.

Alex: I could imagine it being played in the Art School, or maybe the QM Union. I could imagine it getting into that NME world, as it was then, but not really beyond that. For it to then end up on CD:UK and Top of the Pops…

Bob: And KROQ in America. Taxi drivers in Austin knowing who we were because they’d heard our song on the radio.

Paul: I wasn’t expecting top 10, that was ridiculous. I heard a really bad cover version of it in Superdrug once.

Alex: It’s still a really fun song to play. I understand why it’s popular, and I never resent playing it.

Bob: It’s a song that I don’t get bored of playing.


September 2004 saw Franz Ferdinand beat the likes of Amy Winehouse and The Streets to win British music’s most prestigious award.

The Herald: Franz Ferdinand with Jools Holland at the Mercury Music Awards in 2004Franz Ferdinand with Jools Holland at the Mercury Music Awards in 2004 (Image: PA Images)

Bob: It was right in the middle of the crazy period, so again it wasn’t something I processed until years later, watching the Mercury Prize on telly, and other people winning it. 

It was a crazy evening anyway. We were performing at the Mercury awards, then we got a taxi to the GQ awards, and then we had to go back to the Mercury awards, and then we won the Mercury, and then we had to fly to America. It was all very hectic, and at the time I didn’t process it particularly.

The Herald: Franz Ferdinand with Sharon Osbourne at the GQ Awards in 2004Franz Ferdinand with Sharon Osbourne at the GQ Awards in 2004 (Image: PA Images)

Paul: We were flying to New York and there was a news bulletin on the plane, and it had us winning the Mercury on it, and I could see it on everybody’s little television. That was quite weird. 

Alex: At the time I didn’t realise the significance of it. Up until then, I’d never really paid attention to music prizes. I was vaguely aware in the back of my mind that they existed, but they didn’t really come into my world very much. 

Even when we won it was like ‘oh right, we’ve won that prize, that’s funny isn’t it?’, and I’ve never been the kind of person that won prizes. I never won a prize at school or anything, so it just seemed a bit weird. You feel like ‘is this for me?’. 

The Herald: Franz Ferdinand celebrate their Mercury Music Prize win in 2004Franz Ferdinand celebrate their Mercury Music Prize win in 2004 (Image: PA Images)

It’s only in retrospect, and seeing how significant it has been for other people’s careers as well, you realise that it was a big thing for us, and really must have made people see us in a different way. 

Paul: None of us ever expected anything like that to happen. It was beyond what we ever imagined. 


After their debut went 4x platinum in the UK and platinum in the US, expectations were high for album number two.

The Herald:

Alex: “Our US agent had booked a tour in the States for September/October 2005, so we had to finish the album before that tour started. The album was supposed to be out by then, and that was a massive pressure. I found that quite unbearable. 

“Making the first record it was ‘oh yeah, we’ll do that’. It was just for fun, whereas this time we had a deadline to reach and it made it feel a bit more like work in a way. Certainly for me. Everyone else f***ed off and just left me to finish it off, and I found that quite stressful. I finished it off in New York.

We’d had this period when the band started where we did nothing but write and rehearse and then play the odd gig, and then suddenly it went to just playing gigs and doing promotion. Hundreds and hundreds of gigs. 

I felt that it took away from the time that we had available for being creative, and for me that was the most enjoyable part of the band, probably more enjoyable than actually performing. Throughout all that period of the immediate success, I was intensely frustrated, because we weren’t continuing to write the songs, and that had been the fun part.

We ended the touring and the promotion much earlier than our labels would have liked us to do, especially our American label. They wanted us to tour and promote for another year. Looking back, I can see why they wanted us to do that, because I saw a band like the Killers do that, and they became like a different level of band because of it, but I think I would have gone insane from not making any new material. 

It felt like a relief to be able to start working on some new songs. 

Paul: We’d been on tour for 12 months solid promoting the first record, and then the US label came to us and said “We’re ready to make the first record a hit”. We were like ‘we’re ready to write another one. We don’t want to do another 12 months of touring playing these same songs’. 

‘We vetoed that and ended up recording another record in Scotland. A lot of it was written in the studio, because we didn’t have the material, but we’d spend a lot of soundchecks on that tour trying to write stuff and get stuff together. 

That was quite hectic putting that record together, and then we had festivals booked while we were mixing the record, so we were having to approve mixes while we were on the road. And then a US tour was booked and the record was supposed to come out and it was delayed, and we did a US tour before the record came out. 

The second record was pretty hectic. 

Alex: I do listen to versions and think ‘oh yeah that’s not quite right’. It went through my mind a lot when we were putting together Hits to the Head.  You’re almost tempted to go back and say ‘well we should record it like this and re-release it as the song it should be’. 

Walk Away is a really good example. We play it live a lot better than the version on the record. That record is quite rushed generally. The playing is quite rushed, and I wonder if that’s partly because of the pressure to deliver. We were literally playing the songs as fast as we could. 

Also, Paul didn’t like Walk Away. I think he did one take on the drums, and then we constructed it from that.

Paul: Maybe at the time I saw it as a bit wet, but I actually enjoyed it in the set because I always got a bit of a break. At that point I was actually playing guitar on it live, and I was like ‘let me play guitar on it live and that’ll make it interesting for me’. 

We had our friend Andy Knowles with us. He used to come on stage and take over on the kit. He would leave a gin and tonic for me. I would play guitar then go back and have a gin and tonic. I mean, we had pretty unhealthy drinking habits at that point.

Alex: Rich Costey is a great producer and a really, really nice guy, and I really loved working with him. I think he made a fatal mistake when making that record, which is he made us record everything instrumentally without the vocal, and so when you perform it instrumentally you play it differently from when you’re playing to the vocal. 

The vocal is the main part of an arrangement of a song, and if you’re performing that song without the vocal then the tempo ends up being wrong. I did all the vocals when we got to New York to finish it off, and I’d come to these songs and it was like ‘f**k, I can’t fit the syllables in’. Generally, I feel that record is too fast. 

But then again, I’m never satisfied. Every record that we’ve done, there’s things that I don’t feel satisfied about, and that’s fine. That’s just the nature of making things, isn’t it? You have to take it to a certain point and then just leave it alone, otherwise you will spend the rest of your life fiddling with the same thing. What’s the point in that?.


The album’s lead single Do You Want To reached number 4 in the UK, and was accompanied by one of the band’s most memorable videos.

Bob: That was fun. We worked with Diane Martel - who’s gone on to make other videos for us - for the first time. We filmed it in New York in this big warehouse, in a white gallery space, and we made a list of all these crazy things that we wanted in the video. We had a conversation with Diane, like ‘we want babies strapped to parents, we want a guy on fire, we want Alex to swing from a chandelier like Adam Ant’, and then we turned up on the day and she’d got it all. 

It was absolutely crazy. It was like being at the circus for a day, with people walking around in the craziest outfits. It was really fun. We were in the middle of Manhattan doing it and it felt very glamorous.

Paul: We all went out to a Christmas party at the Transmission gallery after we played two nights at the SECC. It was the second night, and that was the bookend of 2004. We all went and I think we were all going to spend some time at home after it, so I think we were all up for it and just up for getting very, very drunk. Christmas drinks, you know. 

The Kaiser Chiefs came out with us, and one of them said to Alex “I love your friends, they’re so arty”, and that’s how that lyric came about. We used to just go to art openings all the time to get drunk for free, and never really cared particularly about the art, especially if it was bad art.

The theme was loosely based on raising hell in an art gallery, basically. We wanted to do a Fight For Your Right To Party type of thing, and she was on board with that. 

At this point we were still in the studio in New York finishing the record off, and she came down with the stylist. We’d only just met her, and we just sat there with a sheet of paper, I was trying to remember ludicrous things that I’d witnessed at art openings, general misbehaviour or weird performances, and we just wrote everything down, and then she went out and found hundreds of extras that were willing to do this stuff’.

Alex: “I remember the bike thing in particular. I guess we were referencing things that had been significant in our lives. Things that had been formative for the band and our personal tastes. Paul’s reference to Brian Eno is in there, and there are various art references. When I was a kid, the Prince Charming video by Adam and the Ants where he swings from a chandelier was my favourite video in the world, so I wanted to have something like that. 

There was this piece that was supposed to be a sculpture made of a load of bicycles tied together, and there’s a shot in the video where I’m swinging from these bikes that are just loosely tied together with cable. We must have been filming for about 16 hours by this time, and I was shaking with lack of sleep. 

I must have been about 15 feet in the air, swinging without any kind of safety harness or a crash mat or anything on top of this concrete floor, going ‘this is f***ing madness, this could go, really, really wrong…this is such a buzz, I’m really enjoying it’. 

Paul: We nearly blew the budget when we set the guy on fire.


Franz Ferdinand toured their second album until the end of 2006, reconvening in Glasgow early in 2007. While the band’s debut LP was swiftly followed up, more than three years elapsed between albums two and three. 

The Herald:

Reports emerged of sessions with Girls Aloud and Sugababes production team Xenomania, but when Tonight: Franz Ferdinand was released in January 2009 it wasn’t quite as poppy as some had been expecting. 

Alex: Ever since Tonight I never talk about the music that we’re making. Journalists and fans are always curious to see what you’re going to be working on next, but your ideas always evolve over time. We’d done an interview, probably with the NME, and they were asking what the music was like, and when we first started making it we wanted to make a very pop record. 

We worked for a while with Brian Higgins and his Xenomania team, and that got into the public domain. It didn’t last very long. They did a great thing, but it ultimately wasn’t for us to make a record together. We ended up making something that ended up being a lot darker, and very much not a pop record, and so when that record came out, journalists and fans were expecting this super, high-gloss pop record, and that really was not what it was at all.

I think people were confused, disappointed, or they didn’t get what we were doing because their expectations lay elsewhere.

I feel that was a mistake on our part. I’ve learned from that. I never talk about the kind of music that we’re going to make as we’re making it.

Paul: I think it just naturally took a darker turn, and also we were writing and recording it in Govan Town Hall and we had to put rockwool in the windows because some of the neighbours were complaining. It’s that sort of thing where you’re making a noise in a room and then suddenly somebody’s hot water tap starts vibrating about half a mile away. 

We would just constantly get old women coming and saying ‘I don’t know what’s going on in there, but I can feel it in my house’. They couldn’t hear the music, they could just hear vibrations, so we knew we had to just lock this down as much as possible. 

So we sealed all the windows. Basically that was us for a whole year in this huge building, not seeing any daylight. That probably came through in the music a little bit. 

Alex: Making Tonight was difficult in some ways and really fun in other ways. There was a lot of experimentation. In some ways that was a great thing and in some ways that was a terrible thing. 

Bob: There was lots and lots of jamming. We were recording sections of songs that then got stitched together to make a whole song, so you never really felt like you were making progress. You didn’t come home from the studio going ‘yeah, we really nailed that song today’. It was just in the computer somewhere.

Alex: I could see where it was all coming together, but maybe I wasn’t explaining that so well. I think it’s probably the most interesting sounding record that we’ve made. I feel there’s a certain depth to it that we hadn’t reached on previous records.

Blood came about from working with Dan (Carey). That’s Dan’s record as much as it’s our record. It’s Dan’s dub version of Tonight, and it’s funny because in a way I would rather listen to that than listen to Tonight, because it feels like one step removed, and it’s like somebody else’s interpretation of the music that we were making at the time. 

It’s a really extreme record as well, and I do love that about it. It’s not like your traditional remixes or anything. It’s really, really weird. Because he was pulling the lyrics in and out and chucking them around it gives the songs quite different meanings and the emphasis is quite different on the songs.

It’s quite a brutal, uncompromising record, which makes it really fun.


Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions was released four-and-a-half years later, but at one point it was possible that a fourth Franz Ferdinand album would never be recorded. Alex and Bob met in Orkney to discuss the band’s future. 

The Herald:

Alex: There probably was a chance of us splitting. We hadn’t really had the opportunity or the inclination to just talk to each other about quite trivial things that had built up over the years. That’s what was ultimately so good about it. Once we did talk it through, we realised how trivial the things that had been bothering us were.

Bob: We’d been touring since we started the band. We’d been working together, touring together, living on a bus, living in a studio together. 

When you have that close of a working and domestic relationship with someone, things go undiscussed and they snowball. We just needed to sort a lot of that s*** out. 

Paul: We recorded that album in little bursts. We thought ‘right we’ll go and record four songs at a time and treat them like EPs’, and then put it together as an album. We ended up recording about 20 tracks, and a lot of them didn’t even come out. It was fun. 

For the most part it was in London. We did a couple of tracks with Joe and Alexis from Hot Chip and ended up doing the rest of the record with their engineer Mark Ralph, who was a super fun guy.

Alex: Stand on the Horizon is one of my favourite songs to play live, and that ‘melancholic euphoria’ is my holy grail for songs generally. Melancholic euphoria is where you’re adrift in the melancholy, but so deeply within it that you allow yourself to rise. It flings you forward into a greater place. 

I guess it’s the combination of the lyrical content, the intent and not being afraid to match that with something that makes you dance. Rhythmically it’s powerful, and melodically it’s powerful as well. 

Also, there are some quite personal references in the lyrics. I talk about my grandfather dying at one part in the song. It means quite a lot to me personally.

Paul: Alex went over to Oslo to finish off a track with Todd Terje, because he came over to start a track with us. That felt like more of a collaboration-heavy record, which is ironic given that the next record was a collaboration. Maybe we were naturally looking at that point to work with other people.


Franz Ferdinand and cult duo Sparks were mutual admirers, and they formed a supergroup in 2015. FFS, comprising Alex, Bob, Nick, Paul and Sparks brothers Ron and Russell Mael, released their self-titled album in 2015 before kicking off their tour with a show at Glasgow’s Art School. 

The Herald:

Alex: When we first got together, before Paul played with us when it was just me, Bob and Nick, we tried to play Totally Wired by the Fall and Achoo by Sparks.

I didn’t find it difficult at all to share a stage with them, because so much had happened in-between. It goes back to that David Bowie thing. As soon as you start working with somebody or you become familiar with somebody, any mystique evaporates immediately.

Bob: When you sit in vans for hours with people, you get past the whole rock star veneer.

Alex: “Making the record was remarkably easy. It was quite a surprise that it ended up being an album. I think they were keener to make it an album than we were. 

We’d met them at a gig in San Francisco. I bumped into them on the street and they said “We’re playing tonight, why don’t you come down?”, so we went down to see them. 

We’d spoken to them 10 years earlier about maybe doing a single together, but things had been going crazy for us. 

Paul: The whole idea came together three albums previously. We were just going to write a couple of songs for them, and they’d already written a couple of songs for us. They came backstage one time when we were in LA with a boombox and played us Piss Off.. 

Ron had written it with the intention of us re-recording it. I remember Nick commented on it, and he was trying to remark on the pathos within the track, but English is a second language to him and it came out as him telling Ron and Russell that he thought the song was pathetic. 

We didn’t hear from them for 10 years. I’m sure that wasn’t what they were thinking, but it was just like ‘yeah, it sounds really pathetic!’.

Alex: We sent them a piece of music, and Ron sent us a piece of music, and the thing that we sent over became the song Police Encounters. It came back with Russell doing some vocals and it had a bit of extra keys on it. We put some more on it and suddenly ‘oh wow, this sounds like a new band. This is quite exciting’. 

They weren’t doing anything else at that time, but we were touring and promoting an album, so it was quite difficult for us to put in the same amount of hours that they were doing. We would literally come back off tour and work on stuff as much as we could.

Paul: We wouldn’t have been able to do it if we hadn’t been doing it over email. The whole thing was demoed and written, 18 tracks, before we’d even set foot in a studio with them. 

Being in the studio with Sparks was really fun. John Congleton had not long done that big St Vincent record (her 2014 self-titled album), so we were all fans of his production. He was super fun to record with as well. 

Alex: Police Encounters is the best song on the record by a long way. That’s the song where you can’t tell the boundaries between the two bands. It just feels like something completely new. 

There were other songs on the record like Dictator’s Son which were written at a time when we were touring, and couldn’t really work on the songs or the arrangements so much, and they just sound more like Ron’s songs that were arranged by us. They’re fine, but they’re not as artistically interesting as Police Encounters.

Paul: I liked Police Encounters. That was quite an early one as well. It’s actually Brief Encounters from the fourth record, but we sent them an embryonic version of that and then they wrote a verse. 

Not long after that we booked a tour, and then they came over to rehearse in London and we had to learn something like 28 songs in two weeks, which was quite stressful, but everybody was so excited about it. That was overriding the stress. 

My favourite point was working out the songs for that tour and then doing the show at the Art School and actually pulling it off. It seemed like an enormous feat. We all managed to do it, we all pulled through. From then on it was great. 

The show we did at Glastonbury is probably my favourite of all the shows that we played. I remember Bob travelled up from London with them to Glastonbury to buy wellies, and I don’t think they’d ever seen wellies before, because they’re from LA. They were really taken with them and I think Russell bought two pairs. 

When Ron did his little dance during The Number One Song In Heaven he was doing it wearing wellies, totally caked in mud, but from the shin up he was totally immaculate. That was a really special show. 


FFS would be Nick McCarthy’s final involvement with the band. The guitarist’s departure was announced in August 2016, with a statement released citing family commitments. In May 2017, the band announced two new members.

Dino Bardot (guitar, 2017-present): I had just done a Masters at the Art School in Sound for the Moving Image and was quite set that I was going to do something with that, and then I played Purple Rain at a friend’s birthday party. Alex and Bob were there and they thought ‘hmmm…’.

Julian Corrie (keyboard and guitar, 2017-present): I was working for the BBC for quite a long time, doing my own music on the side as Miaoux Miaoux and working in a bunch of other bands. I had done about a year of production for other artists. I’d done an album for Malcolm Middleton from Arab Strap and was working on a record with Elizabeth Elektra. 

This film Lost In France, which is the history of Chemikal Underground, was showing in a place in Ireland and Alex was over with RM Hubbert, Emma Pollock, Paul Savage and Elizabeth. He was looking for someone to join the band, and independently they all said to talk to me, which was quite nice. 

He emailed me out of the blue and I was like ‘yeah, that sounds great’.

Paul: We’d tried to plough on the three of us. Sam Potter from Late Of The Pier was hanging out with us for a while, but he never really officially joined. It became obvious that we needed at least another member if we were going to play older songs live, and we needed somebody to cover Nick’s parts. 

Stuart Braithwaite (from Mogwai) and Elizabeth Elektra both suggested Julian. We just clicked immediately. He’s such an amazing, accomplished musician.

Dino joined after the album was recorded as a live musician. We had a relationship anyway having played in The Yummy Fur together.

Alex: It’s funny, because when we play songs from the Dino and Julian era in the context of the set with others songs, it just seems completely seamless, and now when we play I can’t even imagine playing with a different lineup. The older songs sound completely natural.

Bob: On some of the old songs there are parts that we wouldn’t play live because we didn’t have enough musicians, so things that appear on albums like keyboard lines or guitar lines, we’re now able to bring into the live show. I think it’s made the live experience richer.

Alex: They came into the aesthetic of the band rather than wanting to change it. I think they understand what makes Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand. Of course, whenever a new personality comes into a band, you feel their presence, and with everybody that’s ever been in the band, I can’t say I’ve ever played with anybody in the band where I haven’t really enjoyed being in a rehearsal room, being in a studio or on a stage with them. They’ve all been brilliant people to play with. 

Julian: It wasn’t a case of figuring out what it was and then being like ‘okay, I’m going to behave like that now’. It’s a synergy that works. It’s not a question of doing revision.

Dino: You think ‘what’s my place in this?’ and you find a place you fit in and can be an interactive part of it. Bands are fluid things as well. The band is kind of the same and not the same as it was before .

Julian: If you listen back to the records that the band had made there’s a lot of variety of styles and ideas throughout the five albums, but there’s still a thread of cohesion there, where you listen to it and you’re like ‘oh, that’s Franz Ferdinand’.


Always Ascending was released in February 2018. It was the band’s first album recorded without Nick as well as their first with Julian. The late producer Philippe Zdar, who had worked with the likes of Hot Chip, Phoenix and Beastie Boys, proved a popular collaborator.

The Herald:

Julian: It was a weird quirk of how things worked with Dino and I where I joined earlier than he had, but then the announcement of the band’s new lineup was made together. Me being involved with the band was kept secret for about six months while we made the record”

Bob: The album I most enjoyed recording was Always Ascending, in London with Philippe Zdar.

Paul: As soon as Philippe Zdar got involved it was one of the best experiences making music I’ve ever had. Philippe really brought new levels of excitement to it all, because he was like a big child.

Bob: We really intensely rehearsed, we knew the songs back to front, and then we could really relax and just perform. I loved it. I would get up every morning just really excited to go to the studio. It was a brilliant time.

Alex: That’s when we make our best records. Knowing all the songs in advance and just going and playing them.

Bob: I love playing Lazy Boy. I still wish we released that as a proper single.

Paul: I thought Glimpse of Love was a great song. It was like a song off the first record, in that we were all throwing lyrical ideas at it. That was a fun song to write. All the hooks and toplines were all of us just throwing stuff at it and seeing what would stick. It was in the spirit of the first album, while being a progression on that. 

Bob: It’s just getting a nice headspace and a great atmosphere, and it takes away a level of anxiety, like ‘is this any good?’, because you’ve worked on it before to get it to the stage it’s at. It’s nice, it’s like the culmination of a process.


In October 2021, with the band assembling a greatest hits compilation, Paul announced that he was leaving. A replacement was recruited that same day. 

Paul: It had been on my mind on and off after Nick had left, but not because of it. At that point we all agreed that we wanted to continue, but I was swithering and wondering whether I should just pack it in. 

The stuff we did with Sam was really enlightening and then with Julian joining it was really exciting. I enjoyed working with Philippe Zdar too much, and then Julian and Dino being on tour made it fun again. 

The tour ground on a bit too much, and I wasn’t enjoying it as much, and at this point I’d been doing it for 15 years or something like that and trying to balance my family life and everything, which was always pretty difficult. I think that was difficult for Nick as well, and one of the reasons why he ultimately left. 

I think it was having to stop because of lockdown, that was almost like ‘from God’, because I don’t think we would have stopped otherwise. At that point I really took stock. The chat at that point was that we were going to do a greatest hits, and I couldn’t honestly face doing another two years of touring, doing a greatest hits tour. I just didn’t feel like I had it in me. 

I felt like I was letting everyone down as well. I stewed with that for a little while. I mean, it was 2020 and everybody was going out of their minds. Eventually I attempted to plough on and record these new songs, but I just wasn’t feeling it like I was.

The Herald: Paul Thomson playing at the Mercury Music Awards in 2004Paul Thomson playing at the Mercury Music Awards in 2004 (Image: PA Images)

Alex: It’s almost like we didn’t have time to feel the shock of it. That probably struck me later on, because we were doing the Hits to the Head record and, again, there was a time constraint on it. We literally had a week or so to record. 

With vinyl pressing nowadays, everyone gets a slot, and if you don’t get that slot then you’re f***ed for six or seven months. We knew we had to get this recording done. 

There were various pressures in Paul’s life, lockdown and stuff and he’d come to the conclusion that the idea of touring round the world again was really, really not for him. it had been quite overwhelming for him I think. That literally exploded out, like ‘I can’t do this’.

Paul: We hadn’t particularly discussed where our heads had been during the pandemic, it was just straight back in, and because that wasn’t addressed I think I suppressed it all and then it basically just blew up and I was like ‘I can’t do this anymore’. It was initially upsetting for everybody, but then they got Audrey in the same day so it was fine.

Alex: In the morning when we realised what the situation was, I was sat in the room with Bob and Dino and Julian, and said “Do you want to do this? Do you want to do this recording? Do you want to keep the band going?”, and everybody was like ‘oh yes, absolutely’. 

It felt very, very positive, so I said “Well, we’re going to have to get somebody to play drums, Paul really doesn’t want to do it”. 

So we literally sat there and said ‘okay, who’s the best drummer in Glasgow, apart from Paul?’, and everybody said Audrey. We sat and looked at some videos from YouTube together going ‘yeah, she’s brilliant isn’t she?’. 

Audrey Tait (drums, 2021-present): It was a wee bit surreal. I’d grown up listening to them. I guess I’m a little bit younger, so I’ve always been a fan of the band and seen them grow from their first single. 

There wasn’t a big build-up. It wasn’t as if there was an audition process or anything like that, as far as I was concerned. There wasn’t a huge amount of time, it was literally a couple of hours and then I was in the room with them. 

I would have been so nervous, but it was just being thrown in at the deep end, and I guess it was, not nerve-wracking but unusual circumstances, for the guys as well.

We were all just trying to find our feet, and we had to get a couple of songs ready for recording and take it from there. Even at that point, it’s not as if I was asked to join the band. I just saw it as stepping in and helping out, and thankfully it worked and it all felt quite good.

Bob: The deadline made us focus on just recording the songs we were recording, but it was strange going into the studio, because we were so up against time constraints, and having a new personality, a new person in the group, there wasn’t time to do gentle inductions. It was kind of like ‘okay, learn the songs, studio next Monday, we’ll see you there at 9am and record them’. It was straight into the furnace.

Alex: “Audrey’s been brilliant. She’s an amazing person, and she’s really fit well into the band. 

The impact of Paul leaving didn’t really hit me until later on. I’d been pals with Paul for years before Franz Ferdinand existed, and I’d like to imagine I’ll be pals with him for years from now onwards.

Paul: Audrey is an amazing, accomplished drummer and totally has her own thing. I’m an untrained drummer, so I guess there’s certain things that I just worked out myself that were maybe a bit weird, so I physically explained how to do it on a couple of things. 

I watched them play through the set and it was just ‘oh, they’ve got this, this is great’, and then we did the photo opportunity. 

Alex brought up two massive squashes from his garden to give to Audrey to make soup with them or something, so we took another picture which is just us holding these massive squashes. It looked like some sort of village fete. I wish we’d used that picture, but it didn’t really make much sense…

Audrey: Paul’s an amazing drummer and I’m a huge fan of his. Obviously I’m wanting to be really respectful of the parts that he’s written, but without imitating, and trying to put my own stamp on it. 

I feel like I’m still processing a lot of it. This year’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve never done big tours like this, being away for so long. That’s the trickiest part. It’s testament to the guys in the band and on the team that I don’t question anything musically. That’s always just really fun and the best part of it. 

The biggest thing for me has been being able to go on stage and feel comfortable, and just enjoy it all with everyone. 

Paul: It’s been amazing, in that we’ve had this opportunity that a lot of people don’t get to travel the world and basically see the best of every city when you get there. Sometimes you travel somewhere and you don’t know anybody there and you feel a little bit lost, and it’s not until you meet somebody who’s local and they take you around and show you the best of the city. It felt like that every day. I just met so many people and made loads of friends. 

It opened up the world to us. I don’t regret a thing. 


After five Franz Ferdinand albums, two departures and three new members, it was time for the best of. 20-track collection Hits to the Head was released in March 2022, featuring new songs Curious and Billy Goodbye.

Julian: For me, working on Curious has been really good, because I got to work on it pretty much from the earliest point of gestation. It was really fun to work on it and just get it coming together to the point that it ended up in. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Bob: “Making a best of, obviously it’s going to lean heavily on singles. I think every song on that record was a single apart from Outsiders. It was very similar to writing a setlist for a festival, where you’re playing to a crowd that aren’t necessarily superfans of the band and you just want to play all the bangers in a row.

Alex: It’s an album for people who don’t have all of our other albums, but know the band. It’s the same as my parents having Queen’s greatest hits or ABBA’s greatest hits when I was a kid. I love those greatest hits records. They were often my introduction to bands, and it’s a celebration of that side of the band, and also a retrospective as well. 

The Herald:

You’re looking back over a period and finding out what the identity of the band is and what the unifying aesthetic choices are and what the sound of the band is. 

It was quite satisfying putting it together in that sense, seeing how every song, whether it was recorded literally seconds before sending it off to be mastered or back in 2003 with Darts of Pleasure, it all belongs together when you listen to it.

READ MORE: 10 Teenage Fanclub songs that tell the story of one of Scotland's best bands


The Hits to the Head tour reaches Scotland on November 10 with a date at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro, but it’s not just Scottish crowds that have fallen for Franz Ferdinand. 

Alex: There are a few cities around the world that have very strong reputations among bands and musicians, and you always talk to each other about it. Glasgow, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Tokyo.

Bob: Latin countries just seem to have a different attitude to partying. They know how to let go, and just go for it, uninhibited.

Alex: We formed to play at parties, that’s what our initial medium was. Maybe it’s the whole idea of festival, it’s so much part of their culture. I think that side of what we do really, really resonates. 

It’s not just in Latin America. In Southern European countries as well, particularly Spain and Italy, it really resonates as well”. 

Paul: The first time we played in South America we were opening for U2, which was a good boost. When we did our own show in Rio, that was absolutely insane. I’m playing a snare drum that’s easily reaching 120db with each strike, and I couldn’t hear it over the sound of the crowd singing back to us. We were gobsmacked by that. 

It’s never really diminished, particularly in Chile. Which is great, because it’s an amazing part of the world. I’ve always loved going there. 

Dino: There’s a photograph in the booklet for the greatest hits album which is a drone photo of this festival that we played in Mexico, where we were second on the bill to the Strokes. It’s people like dots going forever, and the big huge screen on the side of the stage is just me playing guitar. It’s my favourite photograph. ‘I’ve arrived. I’m 50, I’ve arrived!’.”

Alex: Musicians always talk about Glasgow, and particularly the pint glass thing, the idea of all the pint glasses going flying in the air. People always mention that to us when they talk about playing in Glasgow, and how they’ve never seen anything like that before. 

Obviously for us, playing Glasgow is momentous, it’s absolutely huge, as is the guestlist which I think already runs into the hundreds…I’m really looking forward to it.


With 20 years under their belt, what would the Alex, Bob and Paul of 2022 say to their 2002 selves?

Bob: I’d say practice more, just early on.

Alex: I said that at the time.

Bob: Also, the rider isn’t compulsory. You don’t have to drink all of the rider. It’s optional.

Alex: You don’t have to drink everything all the time. You just have to drink everything some of the time…

I’d say carry on as you are, it’s fine. 

Paul: Go and see a dentist.

Fans would say to me ‘when are you going to get your teeth fixed?’. I’d be like ‘when are you going to get your attitude fixed?’ What kind of a question is that? Very rude. 


20 years in, Franz Ferdinand are still writing and performing. What do the band attribute that longevity to?

The Herald: Franz Ferdinand, 2022Franz Ferdinand, 2022 (Image: Colin Mearns/Herald Scotland)

Bob: I enjoy doing it. I don’t think I would be here if I wasn’t enjoying myself. As the years go by I’ve enjoyed playing an instrument more. I like having a longer term relationship with fans, fans you recognise through the years. That kind of connection is a really special thing.

Alex: It also relates to how you feel about the records you’ve made. I’ve always felt that as an artistic project it’s not finished yet. I feel like we haven’t done our best work, and maybe if we do get to that point then I’ll kind of go ‘alright, okay, we’ve done it, that’s fine’

Bob: 'Completed music'.

Alex: Do you remember that game you used to get on the phone called Angry Birds? I remember having it on my phone and you think you’ve completed it, but then they introduce a whole bunch of new levels. 

That’s what music’s like. It’s just like Angry Birds.