Franz Ferdinand biography
The name of the band was originally inspired by a racehorse called The Archduke. After seeing the horse win the Northumberland Plate in 2001, the band began to discuss Archduke Franz Ferdinand and thought it would be a good band name because of the alliteration of the name and the implications of the Archduke's death (his assassination was a significant factor in the lead-up to World War I).
"Mainly we just liked the way it sounded," says Bob. "We liked the alliteration." "He was an incredible figure as well," continues Alex. "His life, or at least the ending of it, was the catalyst for the complete transformation of the world and that is what we want our music to be. But I don't want to over-intellectualize the name thing. Basically a name should just sound good ... like music." Paul offered, "I like the idea that, if we become popular, maybe the words Franz Ferdinand will make people think of the band instead of the historical figure."
The song "Take Me Out", on the band's first album, was the second single to be released by the band. The single release of "Take Me Out" came with the B-side, "All for You, Sophia", based on the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, whose name was Sophie, not Sophia. The band chose the name Sophia rather than Sophie to give the song a better ring. The song mentions the assassin Gavrilo Princip, the Black Hand, the location of the Apple Quay and "Urban" (Franz Urban), the name often mistakenly given to Leopold Lojka, the driver of the car.
In addition to this, in 2004 the band played a number of "secret" gigs under the pseudonym "The Black Hands", alluding to the secret society that was held responsible for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.
The band is notable for its use of Russian avant-garde imagery in album and single covers. Examples include: "You Could Have It So Much Better", which references a 1924 portrait of Lilya Brik by Alexander Rodchenko; "Take Me Out", which references One-Sixth Part of the World, also by Alexander Rodchenko; "This Fire" which references Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge by El Lissitzky; and "Michael", with single art based on A Proun by Lissitzky. The song "Love and Destroy" was inspired by the scene of disorder made by Margarita, a character of Michael Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita", in the apartment of the literature critic Latunzky.
Also, in "Outsiders", the lyrics "In seventeen years will you still be Camille, Lee Miller, Gala or whatever" are a reference to the lovers of the artists Auguste Rodin, Man Ray and Salvador Dalí.
VideosMany of the videos to promote the band's singles take inspiration from Russian avant-garde much like their LP and CD sleeves.
The avant-garde music video for "Take Me Out", directed by Jonas Odell, was inspired by Dadaism (especially Max Ernst's Une Semaine de Bonté), Busby Berkeley choreographies and Russian constructivist design. Alex Kapranos explained the many and varied influences behind the 1930s-style promo for second single "Take Me Out": "It's kind of two dimensional in a three dimensional style if that makes any sense. It's a montage of images; ourselves, pictures and things taken from other places and put together in a strange, abstract way. That's what gives the video that strange, jerky, style". The video for "This Fire" is similar to "Take Me Out" in style.
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