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Arctic Monkeys lose bassist

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New York (Reuters): The Arctic Monkeys, who were voted the best British rock band earlier this year, said bass player Andy Nicholson has left the group after pulling out of a North American tour last month. ''We are sad to tell everyone that Andy is no longer with the band,'' the three other bandmates said on their Web site (www.arcticmonkeys.com).

''We have been mates with Andy for a long time and have been through some amazing things together that no one can take away. We all wish Andy the very best.'' The band said that Nick O'Malley, who stood in when Nicholson was absent from the recent North America tour, would carry on playing bass for their remaining shows this summer. The bass player's initial departure last month tour was blamed on ''fatigue following an intensive period of touring''. No further details were given for why he had quit the indie rock band.

The young quartet from Sheffield, who are all aged about 20, have successfully ridden a wave of Internet hype to the top of the charts, stealing headlines at the NME music awards earlier this year with three prizes, including Best British Band. The Arctic Monkeys' album, ''Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'', this year took the record for the fastest-selling debut album. The band has been labeled the next Oasis and hailed as the first superstars of the iPod age through marketing their music over the Internet.

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