Kasabian Rock’s back pages are littered with tall tales and weird stories about murder and mayhem. Everyone’s heard the one about the woman murdered while the Ohio Players recorded “Love Rollercoaster,” her blood-curdling scream inadvertently making it into the final mix; of Charles Manson’s dalliances with the Beach Boys; or the backwards messages in Judas Priest songs that made middle-American teenagers kill themselves. Well, here’s another one – while recording their self-titled debut in a rural farmhouse, U.K. electro-rock troupe Kasabian whiled away their evenings of pastoral isolation with bloody killing sprees. True story.
Well, sort of.
“There were shitloads of rats and mice,” singer Tom Meighan says. “We just sent the dog out to kill ‘em all, y’know? It was fucking awful.”
The Leicester foursome – filled out by singer/guitarist Sergio Pizzorno, guitarist/keyboardist Christopher Karloff and bassist Chris Edwards – raised a ruckus earlier in the year with a flurry of singles and guerrilla gigs across the U.K. that made the band a virtually ubiquitous presence in the British music press. With their self-titled album generating a solid buzz in Canada and set to drop in America in early March, Meighan is convinced that the band’s heady mixture of beats and bravado will play just as well on this side of the Atlantic when the band arrives with bombastic U.K. rockers The Music for a series of shows in mid-February.
“We did a one-off gig in New York at the Bowery Ballroom and the response was fucking awesome,” he says. “Most bands from England get to New York and kinda freeze, but we just gave what we had to give. We just went full-out and it totally worked.”
Going full-out is starting to become a trend. Neither snow nor rain nor gale-force winds can keep this band from their appointed rounds – back in September, Kasabian were booked to play Love Music Hate Racism, a benefit for Britain’s Anti-Nazi League near Stoke, when high winds blew the outdoor stage down. Undaunted, the band decamped to a small local venue, setting up equipment, organizing venue staff and selling the joint out, all within three hours. A progressive, adaptable and versatile bunch, Kasabian come prepared. Where most bands struggle to write their own bios, this one has a manifesto.
“Our manifesto is to basically cut rock ‘n’ roll up,” Meighan says. “There’s too many bands that just rehash everything, that goes stale… We want to cut rock ‘n’ roll up, mix a bit of funk, a bit of dance, a bit of ‘60s psychedelia. We’ve ended up with this mashed-up, crazy album.”
True, Kasabian-the-album does sound like a modern-rock mongrel – a brilliant bricolage of rock and electronic textures fused together to make a lumbering, dance-rock beast. But while the music and its meanings – courtesy of Meighan and Pizzorno’s warped lyrics – are muddy, the band’s basic message comes through clear as a bell.
“We give you our heart and our soul every time out,” Meighan says. “We give you the truth.”