Mercury Prize: Foals frontman Yannis explains his ‘run-in with a knife’

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“It hurt a lot,” said the star

When Foals take to the stage at the Mercury Prize ceremony on Thursday night, frontman Yannis Philippakis won’t be playing his guitar.

The singer tweeted on Tuesday that he’d had a “run-in with a knife” that left him unable to play, with pictures showing deep stitches across three fingers of his right hand.

“They only had enough anaesthetic for the middle finger,” he told the BBC.

“So the other two were done without anaesthetic and that hurt a lot.”

Speaking about the injury for the first time, Philippakis explained what went down earlier this week at a fete on the Greek island of Karpathos, where this father comes from.

“My cousin, who’s in his 50s came over with quite a sharp knife, and was saying ‘We come from the same blood, we’ve got the same blood,'” the star explained, his hand still wrapped in bandages.

“He was kind of nicking his hand, like a ‘blood brothers’ kind of thing. And I just instinctively put my hand out to try and stop him doing whatever he was doing.

“I must have caught the blade and he pulled away, and it was quite sharp, so it just opened me up.”

The incident caused “a whole scene,” said Philippakis, as he was “spilling blood on the whitewashed walls” of a local church.

Initially, friends “tried to stop the bleeding by opening up some cigarettes and putting some tobacco on it… but then the blood was coming through, so I went and got stitches in the village.”

The injury has forced Foals to pull out of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn festival on Friday, but Philippakis says the injuries should heal.

“No tendons,” were severed by the blade, “and hopefully no nerves either,” he said.

Foals have drafted in The Maccabees’ Felix White to play guitar at the Mercury Prize ceremony at London’s Hammersmith Apollo.

They’re one of the frontrunners to win the album of the year prize, for their fifth album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1, which distils the uncertainties of our crumbling political systems and ecological crises into an urgent, if disorientating, rock record.

Other nominees include Slowthai, whose belligerent Nothing Great About Britain is currently the bookies’ favourite.

Idles’ Joy As An Act Of Resistance and Dave’s Psychodrama, both of which tackle the politics of division, are also looked upon favourably; alongside agenda-setting records by Little Simz and Anna Calvi.

The winner will be announced live on BBC Four, with coverage starting at 2100 BST.

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