The Kooks make a thankful comeback

Courtesy photoFrom the heart: After a bad year in 2010

Courtesy photoFrom the heart: After a bad year in 2010

It’s a small but classy touch that Kooks acolytes might not even notice at first: the large-print words “thank you” adorning the booklet of the British quartet’s ebullient comeback recording “Junk of the Heart.”

But the heartfelt message is directed straight at them.

“It sounds a bit corny saying it out loud, but the fans have been so there for us through this whole time, when we were going through hell,” says frontman-songwriter Luke Pritchard. “And we truly do appreciate it so much. To still come back to the U.S. and sell out venues is really cool.”

That hell was all too real. After only two albums (2006’s “Inside In/Inside Out” and “Konk” in 2008), the picked-to-click Kooks — who play The City on Tuesday — suddenly found themselves derailing like their short-circuited UK peers Razorlight.

“We were on similar trajectories,” says Pritchard, who grew so dissatisfied with their direction he ditched an entire Jim-Abyss-produced session the group had tracked in New York. After which, he says, “My confidence was probably at an all-time low. I was quite freaked out by the whole thing and really questioning myself as a songwriter, and I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do.”

It didn’t help that drummer Paul Garred had been sidelined by nerve problems in his arm, or that the Kooks 2010 tour without him had left them feeling disoriented, less than whole.

But Pritchard arrived at carillon-pealing, new mod-flavored anthems such as “Rosie,” “Eskimo Kiss” and the sunny lead single “Junk of the Heart (Happy)” by disconnecting from showbiz and facing his depression alone.

“I definitely went back to the drawing board, and I ended up finding a lot of joy — and creative energy — just being on my own, writing with a laptop,” he says. “I discovered a whole new way of composing.”

Pleased with his nascent recordings, Pritchard forwarded them to Garred and guitarist-keyboardist Hugh Harris, who added their parts.

Then producer Tony Hoffer, hired to flesh out the ideas, wound up getting deeply involved.

“Like the song ‘Rosie’ just came from me and Tony sitting down and creating a percussion loop on our computers, which is something The Kooks had never done before,” Pritchard says. “So it was a completely different kind of creative process.”

Pritchard is also thankful for a new outlook-brightening girlfriend,  gorgeous model/musician Suki Alice, featured in the “Junk” cover photo. The couple even plans to record together soon.

“I’m really proud of this album,” he says. “We’ve rediscovered the soul of the band again, and that was a very hard thing to do.”

 

IF YOU GO

The Kooks

Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $40.50
Contact: (415) 371-5500, www.livenation.com

artsentertainmentmusicPop Music & JazzSan Francisco

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims.<ins> (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)</ins>
Looking at COVID through the SF prism of AIDS

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read