BRIGHTON-BASED rockers Royal Blood triumphed at last night’s (February 25) Brit Awards, winning the best British group award.
The riotous duo, Ben Thatcher, formerly of Rustington, and Mike Kerr, who grew up in Worthing, were visibly stunned when they picked up the accolade during the glittering ceremony in London’s O2 arena.
Singer and guitarist Mike joked: “This is a huge surprise for us – it’s probably more of a surprise for people here as you probably don’t know who we are.”
The evening also saw Royal Blood being nominated in the prestigious Mastercard British Album of the year award, getting pipped to the podium by ginger-haired heartthrob, Ed Sheeran, who claimed two Brits.
Royal Blood also lost out on winning the British Breakthrough Act, being beaten by soulful singer Sam Smith, who has taken the UK and US by storm, winning a clutch of Grammy Awards, in December.
However, in spite of these loses, overall, the Brits helped Royal Blood top off a stellar year.
The hard rock duo, which only formed in 2013, picked up the best new band and best live band prizes at the NME awards last week.
Ben’s proud dad, David, who lives at the family home in Jubilee Avenue, Rustington, said: “Our whole family are delighted for Ben and Mike, and proud of them for their success.
“We watched the Brits together at home and there was a great celebration when the award was announced.”
David said that among all the chaos of the night, which also saw the duo take to the stage to perform a thrilling set for the audience, that Ben did manage to find time to call the family and celebrate the group’s success.
“He was on the phone not long afterwards,” added 68-year-old David, who works for the Arun Community Church, in Wick. “Ben was anxious to know how their performance had come over on the TV. You don’t get feedback from the audience at an awards show as you do when you are playing a gig!”
Ben grew up in Rustington, attending Rustington Community Primary School before heading off to study at the then Littlehampton Community School.
He comes from a musical family and thrived while playing countless gigs across Sussex, as well as teaching the drums to children in local school.
Mike grew up in neighbouring Worthing. Before his musical success, the aspiring chef had been studying hospitality and supervision at Northbrook College.
Jamie Hailstone, a contributor to Classic Rock magazine, has been following the duo’s meteoric rise to fame.
He said: “I was actually at a gig in Worthing last night, when I heard the news.
“It’s a tremendous achievement for both Mike and Ben, who have taken the music industry by storm with Royal Blood.
“Make no mistake, they have both worked incredibly hard to reach this point.
“In the finest traditions of rock and roll, they have put in the ‘leg work’ and come up with something, which is new and exciting. “You won’t believe the number of bands and music industry people who are now talking about the ‘Royal Blood’ sound - that’s how much of an impact they are making. And with a tour with the Foo Fighters coming up in the summer, things are only going to get bigger for them.”
An average of 5.3million people tuned in to Brits on ITV, according to overnight ratings. This rose to 5.8 million when ITV+1 viewers are added in.
That is up from the 4.6million who tuned in last year - but less than 2013’s overnight audience of 6.5million.