Kasabian are an English rock band from Leicester, formed by Tom Meighan (vocals), Sergio Pizzorno (guitar and vocals), Chris Edwards (bass), Chris Karloff (Keyboards and Guitar) and Ash Hannis (drums) who left shortly before the release of the first album. During the recording of the band’s second album, the drummer Ian Matthews became a permanent member. Shortly after this, Chris Karloff was asked to leave due to “creative differences”. He was replaced during the recording of their third album by Jay Mehler.
The band members are from the Leicestershire villages of Blaby and Countesthorpe. They met while attending Leysland High School and Countesthorpe Community College both in the village of Countesthorpe.
The band took their name from Linda Kasabian, the young pregnant girl who drove the car in which the killers escaped after the murder of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, the second of the Tate-LaBianca murders.
The band has been compared with the likes of Primal Scream, with whom they share an electronica-indie rock fusion, and The Stone Roses and Oasis, with whom they share confidence, swagger and rough vocal style.
Their music is often compared with “Madchester” group the Stone Roses in music magazines such as NME, though the band have disputed their labelling as a “Madchester” band as “lazy journalism”.
Early years (1999–2002)
The band was formerly called Saracuse and started recording at Bedrock Studios in Leicester where Chris Edwards worked as an engineer. The first demo EP was produced by Scott Gilbert and handed to the band late on December 24, 1999. Their first public appearance was at the Vipers Rugby Club to celebrate Chris’ 18th birthday with family and friends. The band was soon spotted and changed its name to Kasabian, after Linda Kasabian, a member of the Charles Manson cult (aka the Manson “family”) famous for serving as his getaway driver. In an interview with Ukula, bassist Chris Edwards explained how the former guitarist Chris Karloff picked the name. Reading up on Charles Manson, the Kasabian name stuck with Karloff. “He just thought the word was cool, it literally took about a minute after the rest of us heard it… so it was decided,” says Edwards.
In the early days Tom Meighan used to post on the Libertines.org forum for short notice gigs and to promote his band.
Debut album (2003–2005)
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Their self-titled debut album was released in the UK in September 2004. During the recording, the band lived in a farmhouse at Rutland Water, so as not to be disturbed.
Despite having two prior single releases with debut single “Processed Beats” and lead single “Reason Is Treason”, it was their third single release “Club Foot” that finally gave Kasabian success in the singles charts. The song, which was written in the early years of Kasabian, went on to enjoy both critical and commercial success, becoming one of the bands best loved songs, and being performed at nearly every Kasabian live performance since its release.
The album was released on the 13th of September 2004 to good sales and generally positive reviews. Kasabian featured at Glastonbury Festival 2005 on the ‘Other Stage’.
During the recording of Kasabian’s second album, Empire, Christopher Karloff, one of the band’s chief songwriters, had “artistic and creative differences” and was asked to leave the band, according to the band’s website, although there is evidence to suggest that Christopher Karloff left due to personal circumstances.
He had contributed his writing skills to three of the songs on Empire, including the title track, which went on to be the first single released from the album. The album itself was released in the UK on August 28, 2006. The band recruited once temporary drummer, Ian Matthews, as a permanent member of the band. In October 2006, Kasabian recorded a live session for Live from Abbey Road at the famed studios. The song “Empire”, a self-described ‘call to arms’ and the first single from the album of the same name, reached #9 on the UK charts, based on downloads sales alone, and with only six days airplay. It stayed in the top 10 for 4 weeks. It was exclusively played on BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe show in July 2006 and immediately made available for internet download.
The album seems to focus on the horrors of war, and the problems of waging it. “Shoot the Runner” reached #17 in the British charts. A third single, “Me Plus One”, was released on January 29, 2007.
Kasabian won the Best Live Act award at the 2007 NME Awards. After receiving the award, Meighan had said: “This is the first award we’ve ever won, so about fucking time! Thank you NME!”
The band finished touring supporting the new album, playing at many festivals, including Isle of Wight Festival in June 2007, and second from top on the Pyramid Stage of Glastonbury Festival. On 7 July 2007 Kasabian performed as part of the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London. The following night the band headlined the NME stage at the T in the Park festival in Kinross, Scotland. The band ended 2007 by playing a 1 hour set at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party. Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher joined the band on stage to play guitar on the last 3 songs of the set.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2008–present)
The band released an EP titled Fast Fuse in late 2007 which featured the songs “Fast Fuse” and “Thick As Thieves” however the EP was not given any promotion or advertisement. It has been confirmed that both tracks will be featured in their third album. “Fast Fuse” was also included in the soundtrack to the video game FIFA 09, and was the official theme song of a WWE pay-per-view event, Cyber Sunday 2007.
Kasabian started work on their third album in late 2007. The band have said that their third album will contain an early Pink Floyd-influenced song that “sounds like Syd Barrett.” During the making of their third album, they recruited live replacement Jay Mehler as a permanent member of Kasabian.
When asked about the direction of the album, frontman Tom Meighan explained, “It all joins together which is beautiful, there’s no gaps in it, it’s very psychedelic, there’s very much elements of the first but it’s a more distant sounding Kasabian than we have been with the last two albums.” He also spoke of the title, “It’s a loony title mate, but we have a couple of titles and we have picked one that has lots of words, it’s a tongue twister!”. The band also headlined the Main Stage at Creamfields in Daresbury, England, debuting “Fire”, a contender for the new record. This was followed by a set at the Hydro Connect festival in Inverary, Scotland.
The album had been scheduled for an early 2008 release but its release has now been pushed back until 8th June 2009. The album is set to feature the tracks “Take Aim”, “West Rider/Silver Bullet”, “Where Did All The Love Go”, “Underdog”, “Happiness”, along with first single “Vlad the Impaler” and the aforementioned “Fast Fuse”, “Thick As Thieves” and “Fire”, the first physical single to be released a week earlier. It has been announced that Kasabian will play in several places across Britain between June to July 2009 in support of Oasis. They will be supporting at a number of concerts along with Coventry band The Enemy. The band also announced their own headline tour to take place in June.
For this album the band recruited American hip hop and electronica producer Dan The Automator, who is best known for his work on the first Gorillaz album. Guitarist Sergio Pizzorno told BBC 6 Music; “It’s a real journey and it also will fill a dance floor. It’s about people joining in and I think that’s what we’re about. There’s a couple of songs that kind of went New York [Rolling] Stones and there’s definitely one song that sounds like Daft Punk and The Clash together, which is quite interesting. We’ve always been really funky and we’ve always had a real groove, and I think he helped with pulling things out and being more rhythmic rather than throwing loads of instruments at it. I think it’s definitely got more rhythm.”
On March 5th 2009, albumvote.co.uk revealed that the album title would be West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum with the release date set for 8th June 2009. The opening track of the album will be “Underdog”.
They played a number of intimate warm-up gigs where they previewed songs off their new album starting in Margate on March 23rd, Preston on March 24th and Leeds on March 25th, before their Teenage Cancer Trust performance at the Royal Albert Hall, on March 27th 2009.
On March 25th 2009 it was revealed on Kasabian’s website that the song “Vlad the Impaler” will be available for free download for a period of 4 days beginning March 31st. However, the album’s first official physical single will be the track “Fire”, to be released June 1st 2009. The promo video for “Vlad the Impaler” stars Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh fame playing a vampire slayer. and will be directed by Richard Ayoade.
“Underdog” leaked onto the internet and was available on youtube on the 18th of April 2009.
On the 20th April, it was announced that Kasabian would play The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival before headliner Bruce Springsteen, as his special guests.
- Live from Brixton Academy (July 4, 2005) Arista Records (UK) / BMG/RCA (US) Download only
- Fast Fuse (13th July, 2007) Limited edition 10-inch
|UK Singles Chart||UK Download Chart||US Modern Rock||Italian Singles Chart|
|2004||“Reason Is Treason”||–||–||–||–||Kasabian|
|“Club Foot (reissue)”||21||36||–||–||Live from Brixton Academy|
|“Shoot the Runner”||17||29||–||–|
|2007||“Me Plus One”||22||–||–||–|
|2009||“Vlad The Impaler”||–||–||–||–||West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum|
- Music from the OC: Mix 5 (2005 · Warner Bros./Wea) – “Reason is Treason”
- Revolutions: Alternative Bands, Radical Music (2005 · Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd.) – “Club Foot” and “Processed Beats (live)” (Bonus track)
- The Saturday Sessions: The Dermot O’Leary Show (2007 · EMI) – “Pictures of Matchstick Men”
- Tom Meighan – Lead Vocals (1999 – present)
- Sergio Pizzorno – Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals (1999 – present)
- Chris Edwards – Bass (1999 – present)
- Ian Matthews – Drums (2005 – present)
- Chris Karloff – Rhythm Guitar & Omnichord (1999-2006)
- Ash Hannis – Drums (1999-2004)