Kasabian are a British rock band that was formed in Leicester, England in 1997. It consists of singer Tom Meighan, guitarist and singer Sergio Pizzorno, bassist Chris Edwards, drummer Ian Matthews and guitarist Tim Carter, plus touring members Ben Kealey and Gary Alesbrook. Kasabian have released six studio albums to date.
Early years (1997 - 2002)
Sergio Pizzorno, Chris Edwards, Tom Meighan and Ben Kealey met while attending Leysland High School in Countesthorpe near Leicester. Inspired by the success of Oasis in the early nineties, but influenced by many different styles of music, including hip hop, krautrock and rave music, Serge and Chris initially formed a band with Ben on drums and another friend as the singer. When the latter lost interest they remembered hearing Tom sing in the local park, having "an incredible star quality", so they asked him to join. The band was originally called Saracuse, a misspelled version of Syracuse, "where the Beatles done a gig." After they realised they needed a second guitarist, Tom's brother played with them a few times before Chris Karloff completed the line up. Ben later left the band and was replaced by a series of session drummers, including brothers Ryan and Mitch Glover, and eventually a drum machine.
Saracuse recorded their first demos at Bedrock Studios in Leicester, where Chris worked as an engineer. Together with producer Scott Gilbert they finished their very first demo CD on Christmas Eve 1999.
In 2001, the band went to Bristol to record a demo CD at Bink Bonk Studios and were introduced to drummer Ian Matthews by the studio's owner. They recorded several songs with Ian, including Processed Beats, Butcher Blues and Beneficial Herbs.
Xfm DJ Eddy Temple-Morris happened upon Processed Beats and played the song on the radio for the first time, to a great response from the public.
They found out that they got signed on Tom's birthday, 11 January 2002.
Kasabian (2003 - 2005)
- Main article: Kasabian
Upon being signed, the band changed their name from Saracuse to Kasabian, after Linda Kasabian, who drove the getaway car after the Tate/LaBianca murders committed by members of the Manson Family. Chris Karloff saw the name in a book and "thought the word was cool." Kasabian is a common Armenian surname and means "butcher". In a 2012 interview Serge commented that Linda Kasabian had heard their music and was allegedly "pleasantly surprised."
To avoid distractions, Kasabian moved into a remote farm house in Rutland, later dubbed Paradise Studios, where they lived and recorded their debut album in two rooms.
Garret "Jacknife" Lee was originally slated to produce the album on the recommendation of the record label, however, it did not work out because the band felt he was changing their music too much. Kasabian subsequently decided to produce the album themselves, with help from Jim Abbiss. Only Lee's mix of Reason Is Treason eventually made it onto the album as a hidden track.
The album release was preceded by two limited edition singles: Processed Beats and Reason Is Treason. A demo version of Processed Beats was released in late 2003 on CD and as a 10" vinyl wrapped in a white flag bearing the band logo. Reason Is Treason was similarly released in February 2004 as a promo CD wrapped in brown paper sprayed with a masked man stencil, and on vinyl with a stencil included. Kasabian's first widespread single release was Club Foot on 17 May 2004.
Preceded by the second single L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever) on 9 August 2004, Kasabian's self-titled debut album was released on 6 September 2004 in the UK and peaked at #4 in the album charts. Processed Beats got a full release as the third single on 11 October 2004.
After touring in the UK extensively since 2003, Kasabian went on a promotional tour to Japan and New York in November 2004, filming Field Of Dreams and the Cutt Off video. The band played their last gig of the year on 15 December 2004 in London, which was later released in full as Live From Brixton Academy.
Cutt Off was released as the fourth single off the album on 3 January 2005. In March, a reissue of Club Foot was released on vinyl and two CD singles. After having toured with Kasabian for a year, Ian became a permanent member of the band in April 2005.
In February 2005, Kasabian supported The Music on 19 dates of their US tour. They returned to North America to play their own shows in May, June and July.
Throughout September 2005 Kasabian supported Oasis on 15 dates of their North American tour. Following the last gig of the tour in October, Kasabian took a few weeks off and went to Rockfield Studios, Wales in December to record their next album - without Chris Karloff, who had relocated to New York in the meantime.
Empire (2006 - 2007)
- Main article: Empire
Kasabian finished Empire in February 2006 and started rehearsals. In May 2006 the Empire Tour started in Mexico City, with Jay Mehler replacing Chris Karloff on guitar. An official announcement regarding his departure was not issued until July. He had still contributed to three songs on the record: Empire, By My Side and Stuntman, as well as the b-side Ketang, but was not involved in the recording process anymore. Jay had previously supported Kasabian with his old band, Mad Action, and immediately stepped in to rehearse and record the b-sides for the Empire singles with them in early 2006.
Empire was released on 28 August 2006 in the UK and went to #1 in the album charts. In a departure from the previous predominantly electronic sound, the album features Moroccan strings on several songs, as well as guest vocals by singer Joana Glaza on the title track, which was released as the first single off the album on 24 July 2006.
For their UK arena tour starting in November 2006, Ben rejoined Kasabian on keyboards, initially only as a part time touring member. November also saw the release of the second single off Empire, Shoot The Runner. On 29 January 2007, Me Plus One was released as the third and last single off the album. It is to date the only single featuring lead vocals by Serge.
In autumn 2007, the Fast Fuse EP, featuring early versions of Fast Fuse and Thick As Thieves, was given a limited release. Fast Fuse was first played at a gig in Leicester in July 2007, making it the first song from the upcoming album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum to be performed live.
The tour ended on 31 December 2007 at Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay show, where Kasabian were joined on stage by Noel Gallagher.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2008 - 2010)
- Main article: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Despite being busy recording West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum during most of 2008, Kasabian played several gigs and festivals throughout the year, previewing Fire and Thick As Thieves. Early in the year the band retreated to their Leicester studio, E-Land Mig, to start working on the record, before flying to San Francisco to work with producer Dan the Automator for several weeks and record the vocals. After mixing it in New York, the album was finished in December 2008.
On 5 March 2009 the title of the album was revealed. In late March, Vlad The Impaler was released as a free download on Kasabian's website, together with its video, starring Noel Fielding in the title role.
Following the release of Fire as the first single on 1 June 2009, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was released on 8 June 2009 in the UK and went to #1 in the album charts, where it stayed for two weeks. Fire peaked at #3 in the single charts, making it Kasabian's highest charting single to date.
The West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum Tour started on 23 March 2009 with three warm up dates preceding Kasabian's Teenage Cancer Trust gig. Following several promotional gigs, the band played three consecutive homecoming gigs at De Montfort Hall in Leicester. They went on to support Oasis on ten dates of their stadium tour throughout June and July 2009, while playing their own gigs in between. On 27 June 2009 they played at Glastonbury Festival before headliner Bruce Springsteen.
Where Did All The Love Go? was released as the second single off the album on 17 August 2009.
On 26 October 2009, right after Kasabian started their European tour, Underdog was released as the third single off West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Following a 13-date arena tour through the UK, the band played the last show of the year at The O2 in Dublin, which was later released on DVD together with the deluxe edition of Velociraptor!. After playing at the Big Day Out Festivals in Australia and New Zealand, Kasabian returned to Europe in February 2010 before taking a few weeks off, during which Serge started demoing the first songs for the next album. Despite having already been released as a free download almost a year prior, Vlad The Impaler was released as the last single off the record on 15 February 2010.
In June 2010, Kasabian supported Muse at two gigs in Milan and Paris. On 14 June 2010, The Albums was released, a boxset compiling all three of Kasabian's albums. It went to #22 in the UK album charts. In August 2010, the band supported U2 at three gigs in Italy and Germany. The tour ended later that month with Kasabian headlining V Festival in Chelmsford and Stafford.
Velociraptor! (2011 - 2012)
- Main article: Velociraptor!
In October 2010, after taking a few weeks off following the West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum tour, Serge returned to his home studio in Leicester to start working on the songs he had demoed in May. After recording strings with the London Metropolitan Orchestra in November and vocals with producer Dan the Automator in San Francisco in early 2011, the album was finished in March 2011, having taken about six months in total.
In November 2010, London Boulevard was released, featuring an original score written by Serge. The soundtrack also included an early version of La Fee Verte, the first Velociraptor! song to be heard by the public, and Narcotic Farm.
Preparing for a series of festival throughout the summer, Kasabian played four small warm up gigs around England in June 2011, debuting Velociraptor! and Switchblade Smiles as the first songs off the new record. After the title and tracklisting were officially announced, Switchblade Smiles was made available as a free download with the pre-order of the album on 7 June 2011.
Kasabian's summer tour included headline slots at Isle of Wight Festival and RockNess, as well as a string of European festivals between June and September 2011. On 5 September 2011 they performed a secret gig in a hollowed out Boeing 747 at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire for 200 fans.
Velociraptor! was released on 19 September 2011 in the UK and became Kasabian's third consecutive #1 album.
After two months of promotional appearances, including a Live Lounge session at Leicester University, the Velociraptor! Tour officially started on 14 November 2011 in Berlin. It continued through Europe and, after a 16-date arena tour, culminated in two shows at London's O2 Arena in December, which were released on CD and DVD, and a New Year's Eve gig to see in 2012, which was streamed live on the internet.
Goodbye Kiss was released as the third single off the album on 20 February 2012.
In January and February 2012, Kasabian toured in Japan, New Zealand and Australia, as well as their first ever gigs in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. March and April saw the band return to the United States and Canada for the first time in six years. Their gig in New York City on 22 March 2012 was streamed live on the internet and parts of it were later released on The Bowery Presents Live: Kasabian at Terminal 5 in New York City.
On 7 May 2012, Man Of Simple Pleasures was released as the fourth and last single off Velociraptor!.
Kasabian continued to play festivals throughout the summer, supported the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Kiev in July 2012, and finished the tour with their headline performances at Reading and Leeds Festival in August. Two one-off gigs in Moscow and Brussels were later added in November.
48:13 (2013 - 2015)
- Main article: 48:13
In March 2013 it was announced that Jay was leaving Kasabian and joining Beady Eye. He was replaced by Tim Carter, who already had some history with the band, having worked as an engineer and assistant to Dan the Automator on West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum and Velociraptor!, as well as providing additional guitars, keyboards and percussion on several songs.
Following a handful of gigs and festival appearances throughout the first half of the year, Kasabian officially finished their tour on 29 June 2013 with a headline performance at Hard Rock Calling, the first ever festival held in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In November 2013 it was announced that the band had been working on material for their next album since May. In December they recorded strings with the London Metropolitan Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios and finished the album by January 2014. Throughout April the tracklisting for 48:13 was revealed on Kasabian's official Instagram account, following Tom and Serge painting the album's at the time unannounced title on a wall in London. On 28 April 2014, the title and the album cover were unveiled on the official website and Explodes was made available with the pre-order of the album.
Preceded by warm up gigs in France, Ireland and Scotland and the single Eez-Eh, 48:13 was released on 9 June 2014 and became the band's fourth consecutive #1 album. In the same month Kasabian played a homecoming gig to 50,000 people in Leicester and headlined Glastonbury Festival for the first time. The second single off the album, Bumblebeee, was released on 3 August 2014. On 5 September 2014 the band performed their debut album in its entirety at iTunes Festival to mark the tenth anniversary of its release.
After gigs in Australia, Japan, North America and a short European tour, Stevie was released as a single on 10 November 2014. An 18-date arena tour in the UK and Ireland, including a five-night residency at Brixton Academy in London, finished on 13 December 2014 in Sheffield.
In March 2015, Kasabian returned to South America for the first time since having to cancel several gigs there in 2012 due to illness. Between June and August the band played festival in the UK as well as in Europe, and the 48:13 tour officially ended on 29 August 2015 in Zurich.
For Crying Out Loud (2016 - present)
- Main article: For Crying Out Loud
Former session musicians
- Kasabian (2004)
- Empire (2006)
- West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2009)
- Velociraptor! (2011)
- 48:13 (2014)
- For Crying Out Loud (2017)
- Live From Brixton Academy (2005)
- Live In The UK (2011)
- Live! (2012)
- The Bowery Presents Live: Kasabian at Terminal 5 in New York City (2012)
- The Albums (2010)
- Empire / West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2011)
- Kasabian / Empire (2013)
- West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum / Velociraptor! (2014)
- iTunes Festival: London 2007 (2007)
- Fast Fuse EP (2007)
- West Ryder EP (2009)
- iTunes Festival: London 2009 (2009)
- iTunes Festival: London 2011 (2011)
- Processed Beats (2003) - demo
- Reason Is Treason (2004)
- Club Foot (2004)
- L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever) (2004)
- Processed Beats (2004)
- Cutt Off (2005)
- Club Foot (2005) - reissue
- Empire (2006)
- Shoot The Runner (2006)
- Me Plus One (2007)
- Fire (2009)
- Where Did All The Love Go? (2009)
- Underdog (2009)
- Vlad The Impaler (2010)
- Days Are Forgotten (2011)
- Re-Wired (2011)
- Goodbye Kiss (2012)
- Man Of Simple Pleasures (2012)
- Eez-Eh (2014)
- Bumblebeee (2014)
- Stevie (2014)
- You're In Love With A Psycho (2017)
- Kasabian Tour (2004 - 2005)
- Empire Tour (2006 - 2007)
- 2008 Tour
- West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum Tour (2009 - 2010)
- Velociraptor! Tour (2011 - 2012)
- 2013 Tour
- 48:13 Tour (2014 - 2015)
- For Crying Out Loud Tour (2016 - present)
Awards and nominations
- Main article: Awards and Nominations
- ↑ Kasabian's Serge: I'm no indie boy
- ↑ The Story of Kasabian, BBC Radio 1, 30 June 2009
- ↑ Dave Simpson catches up with Kasabian on their US tour
- ↑ Kasabian interview - Tom Meighan and Chris Edwards (part 1)
- ↑ The fight for Kasabian
- ↑ Leicester Mercury, 16 June 2012
- ↑ Ukula Music :: speaking with Kasabian on their first trip to America
- ↑ KROQ Coachella House Kasabian Interview
- ↑ Excellent Online Interview
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Official Charts Company: Kasabian
- ↑ Kasabian split shock
- ↑ VOX Artists | Jay Mehler of Kasabian
- ↑ Ben Kealey's Dead Buni Bikes
- ↑ Kasabian joined onstage by Oasis star during Hogmanay show
- ↑ Kasabian on Velociraptor!
- ↑ Kasabian name new album Velociraptor! and reveal tracklisting
- ↑ Kasabian paint cryptic message on wall in east London
- ↑ Kasabian perform debut album in full as they play twice at iTunes Festival
- ↑ Sergio on South America and Unfinished Business