Kasabian performing at Rock am Ring in 2014
Kasabian performing at Rock am Ring in 2014

Don’t touch that dial! If Kasabian have anything to do with it, the revolution will be televised. Spacecakes will be served from the steps of Number Ten, Fight Club will be on a 24-hour loop on all channels and their thermonuclear electro riot-rock will provide the soundtrack.

“It’s time, mate!” booms Tom Meighan. “Britain doesn’t own rock’n’roll but we’re the guardians of it, and everyone knows it. The Stones, Zepellin, the Pistols, the Gallaghers… we’re in that line. Coldplay are probably good blokes, it’s just that they’re, well, fannies.”

Kasabian (pronounced Kur-say-be-an) are sitting in front of roaring log fire at their rehearsal room-cum-living space on a farm in rural Rutland, near Leicester. Despite a 14-month residency at this rambling farmhouse, overflowing with spare rooms, the four of them (singer Tom, guitarist Christopher Karloff, guitarist/programmer Sergio Pizzoro and Bassist Chris Edwards) still sleep together in one tiny bedroom. But maybe that’s what happens when you name yourself after a member of the Manson Family.

“Linda Kasabian drove the gateway car after the murders,” offers Christopher of the infamous 1969 Hollywood massacre. “It’s just a good name. I don’t go round slashing up celebrities. (pause) Not yet anyway.”

“We’re not really into serial killers,” grins Serge. “But we do appeal to that crazy side of people. It’s that violent, repetitive element in the music that appeals to a gang mentality.”

Kasabian’s music is not for the paint of heart, Jaw-dropping debut single ‘Processed Beats’ builds from a sub-atomic rumble of bass and coiled guitars to a mogadon mantra over which Tom snarls lyrics like, “I break bones/Stealing mobile phones”. It’s like Primal Scream with toothache (Bobby G, inevitably, is a big fan) and comes with a free flag to add to the air of brooding menace. If it sounds like the aural equivalent of a gang of kids loitering on street corners in Leicester after midnight, that’s because it is.

“Tom used to sing in the streets, that’s how we formed the band,” volunteers Serge. “We’d hang around drinking a few beers and then he’d start randomly singin: Cypress Hill, Motown, Michael Jackson, just whatever came into his head, really fucking loudly. After it was funny you’d realise that he had this brilliant voice. You didn’t have much choice, you could hear him three streets away.”

Kasabian’s rock’n’roll juggernaut has so far streamrollered the opposition. “When we played in Cardiff there was silence for 30 seconds after we came off,” says Tom. “They didn’t even know what had happened to ’em.”

“Those were the stealth gigs,” adds Serge. “Now the gloves are off, we’re gonna start recruiting for real.”

© NME October 25, 2003

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