Kasabian (// kə-SAY-bee-ən) are an English rock band formed in Leicester in 1997 by Tom Meighan, Sergio Pizzorno, Chris Karloff, and Chris Edwards. Drummer Ian Matthews joined in 2004. Karloff left the band in 2006 and founded a new band called Black Onassis. Jay Mehler joined as touring lead guitarist in 2006, leaving for Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye in 2013, to be replaced by Tim Carter. Meighan left the band in July 2020.
|Also known as||Saracuse|
In 2010 and 2014, Kasabian won the Q Awards for "Best Act in the World Today", while they were also named "Best Live Act" at the 2014 Q Awards and the 2007 and 2018 NME Awards. The band's music is often described as "indie rock", but Pizzorno has said he "hates indie bands" and does not feel Kasabian fit into that category.
Kasabian have released six studio albums – Kasabian (2004), Empire (2006), West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2009), Velociraptor! (2011), 48:13 (2014), and For Crying Out Loud (2017). The band's music has been described as a mix between The Stone Roses and Primal Scream with the swagger of Oasis. Their music has won them several awards and recognition in the media, including a Brit Award in 2010 for Best British Group, and their live performances have received praise, the most notable of which was their appearance as headliners at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival.
Early years (1997–2002)
The band was formerly called Saracuse. They started recording at Bedrock Studios in Leicester where Chris Edwards worked as an engineer. The original band members came from Countesthorpe and Blaby, and the band formed while Pizzorno, Meighan and Edwards were attending Countesthorpe Community College. The first demo EP was produced by Scott Gilbert and handed to the band on 24 December 1998. Three songs were recorded live: "Whats Going On", "Life of Luxury" and "Shine On". Their first public appearance was at the Vipers Rugby Club to celebrate Edwards' 18th birthday with family and friends. The band was signed to BMG by London DJ and producer Sam Young and changed their name to Kasabian, after Linda Kasabian, a member of the Charles Manson cult who later went on to testify against Manson at his trial. In an interview with Ukula, bassist Chris Edwards explained how 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... so it was decided", says Edwards. Kasabian is a common Armenian surname, from the dialectal Armenian ղասաբ ġasab taken from Arabic (Arabic: قصّاب, romanized: ḳaṣṣāb) "butcher" and the patronymic ending յան -yan. Sam Young had been working at Concept Music, a small independent label, when the band's manager left the Saracuse demo on his desk. Concept wanted to sign the band and a two single deal was offered. However, Young did not take over managerial duties and did not solely get them signed instantly to BMG. EMI were interested in the band as well.
Their eponymous debut album was released in the UK on 13 September 2004, receiving good sales and generally positive reviews. During the recording, the band lived in a farmhouse near Rutland Water to avoid being disturbed. Kasabian featured at Glastonbury Festival 2005 on the "Other Stage".
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 gave Kasabian success in the UK Singles Chart. The song, which was written in the early years of Kasabian, went on to enjoy both critical and commercial success, and being performed at nearly every Kasabian live performance since its release.
During this period, various drummers played with Kasabian, including current keyboard player Ben Kealey, DJ Dan Ralph Martin, Martin Hall-Adams, brothers Mitch and Ryan Glovers and some others. While recording in Bristol, the band met Ian Matthews, who plays on "Processed Beats", "Butcher Blues", "Beneficial Herbs" and possibly some other songs on the debut album and B-sides. He was asked to tour with them in 2004 and became a permanent member in April 2005. The album was produced by Jim Abbiss.
Empire and Karloff's departure (2006–07)
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 he left due to personal circumstances. He had contributed to three of the songs on Empire.
The album, which was co-produced by Jim Abbiss, was released in the UK on 28 August 2006. "Empire" was released as the first single from the album, and reached No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart "Shoot the Runner" reached No. 17 in the same chart. A third single, "Me Plus One", was released on 2 January 2007.
Kasabian won the Best Live Act award at the 2007 NME Awards.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2008–10)
The band released an EP titled Fast Fuse in late 2007 which featured the songs "Fast Fuse" and "Thick as Thieves". Both tracks are featured in their third album.
Kasabian started work on their third album in late 2007 with producer Dan the Automator. On 5 March 2009, it was revealed that the album title would be West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, with a release date of 8 June 2009. The song "Vlad the Impaler" was released as a free download for a period of 4 days, as a preview for the album. The promo video for "Vlad the Impaler" stars Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh. Fielding is a fan of Kasabian, and appeared in an NME cover with the band. The album's first single was the track "Fire", which was released on 1 June 2009, used as the theme song for the English Premier League from the 2010–11 season onward, and the song "Where Did All the Love Go?" was released as the second single. The third single "Underdog" was used in the mobile and PC game Asphalt 8: Airborne as well as in the movie Takers (2010).
On 14 June 2009, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum reached No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart, spending two weeks there. West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was shortlisted for the 2009 Mercury Prize, and was named "Best Album" at the 2009 Q Awards. The band won "Best Group" at the 2010 Brit Awards. At the 2010 Q Awards the band won the "Best Act in the World Today".
The first three albums were released as a box-set called The Albums in 2010.
Kasabian started work on their fourth album, Velociraptor!, in November 2010 with Dan the Automator as producer. It was revealed in a number of interviews that some songs were already written. One track, titled "Green Fairy", which featured on the London Boulevard soundtrack, is present on the record under the name "La Fée Verte", but the album version is different from the soundtrack version. In June 2011, Kasabian closed the Isle of Wight Festival. They also headlined Rockness festival and played at Rock Werchter in July 2011. The band confirmed that the album would be released on 19 September 2011.
"Switchblade Smiles", the first song to be heard from Velociraptor!, was exclusively played on UK radio on 7 June 2011 during Zane Lowe's show on BBC Radio 1. The title and release date of the fourth album was also confirmed on the show. This first single from the album was available for visitors to listen to on the Kasabian website, and was available as a download for people who pre-order the album. Two tracks from the album ("Velociraptor" and "Switchblade Smiles") were premièred throughout the four-date warm-up tour including playing at the Leeds O2 Academy before the RockNess and Isle of Wight festivals in June 2011. A track from the album "Days Are Forgotten" was due for radio release on 22 July 2011. However, it surfaced online the night before. The album failed to crack the Billboard Top 200 chart upon its first week of release in the United States.
On 27 November 2011, Kasabian performed "Goodbye Kiss" during the BBC's Formula 1 2011 closing season montage. In the same month, the band went on a full tour of the UK, including two sold-out gigs at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, supported at the shows by Miles Kane and Australian band ME. On 31 December 2011, Kasabian played a New Year's Eve concert entitled NYE:Rewired at the O2 Arena, London. The event was streamed live on YouTube.
Following early 2012 dates in Japan, Australia, and Europe, Kasabian launched their North American leg in Dallas on 12 March, with 19 dates in U.S. and Canada until late April. It was announced on 16 May on the Kasabian website that their show of 15 December 2011, that was filmed at the O2 in London, would be screened in over 60 cinemas in the UK and Ireland on 30 May 2012. The film, titled Kasabian Live! Live at the O2 is distributed by Altive Media and Eagle Vision. On 29 June 2012, Kasabian performed at the Main Square festival in Arras France. At the end of the set, Tom Meighan returned to the stage without the band and performed The Beatles "She Loves You" unaccompanied, something that he had also done three days earlier in Athens, Greece, and on 16 June in Denmark at the NorthSide Festival. On 8 July 2012, the band headlined the UK festival T in the Park. Kasabian also headlined the Reading and Leeds Festivals on 24 and 25 August 2012.
In March 2013, Sergio Pizzorno confirmed via Facebook that touring rhythm guitarist Jay Mehler had left Kasabian to join Liam Gallagher's new band Beady Eye as a touring bass guitarist. Tim Carter joined Kasabian as a touring guitarist, first performing with the band on 6 March 2013 at Russell Brand's Give It Up for Comic Relief, comedy and music gig at Wembley Arena. Carter is a music engineering producer and assistant to Dan the Automator, who co-produced West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum and Velociraptor!.
Following a handful of gigs and festival performances throughout the year, Kasabian posted a teaser video in November 2013, announcing that they had been working on new material for the previous six months. The album was produced by Sergio Pizzorno. They also announced that they would be playing a homecoming gig in Victoria Park, Leicester to 60,000 people in June 2014, around the ten year anniversary of their debut album. On 4 April 2014, Kasabian were confirmed to be headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival 2014 on 29 June 2014.
On 28 April 2014, the band revealed that the album would be titled 48:13, and be released on 9 June 2014. The lead single to promote the album, "Eez-eh", was released on 29 April 2014. "Eez-eh" was performed at Glastonbury Festival 2014 alongside other tracks from 48:13 and previous albums. The show also featured two cover versions – "Crazy", originally recorded by Gnarls Barkley, and "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim, which has been used as an intro to their song "L.S.F.".
For Crying Out Loud and Meighan's departure (2016–present)
In 2016, the band played a short tour in May, culminating in two concerts at Leicester City Football Club's ground, the King Power Stadium, to celebrate the club winning the Premier League. At the first of these two concerts, Kasabian debuted a new song, "Put Your Life On It", dedicated to the city and those who are no longer with us to see the city's recent sporting achievements, accompanied by a gospel choir from De Montfort University. They also performed a short set in Leicester's Victoria Park, as part of the LCFC victory parade on 16 May. Numerous inspirations for the sixth album also have been listed, including Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and Claudio Ranieri. On 8 September, it was confirmed that "Comeback Kid" will be featured on the soundtrack of EA Sports game FIFA 17. In December 2016 the group were rumoured to be playing Reading and Leeds Festival the following year, but insisted that "The band are currently finishing their new album". The band did play the Reading and Leeds Festival in August 2017, as well as several other festivals that year.
In January 2017, in an interview to NME Pizzorno revealed that the upcoming album would contain a track called "Bless This Acid House", which, in the musician's opinion, is one of the best songs he has written.
In March 2017, it was confirmed that the band's sixth album would be titled For Crying Out Loud, and released in May of that year. The album cover features a photograph of the band's guitar technician Rick Graham. The band embarked on a world tour in support, that included performances at the Reading and Leeds Festivals and headlining TRNSMT in Glasgow.
In July 2020, it was announced that Meighan was stepping down from Kasabian by mutual consent due to personal issues. He admitted in court that he had assaulted his ex-fiancée with their child present, subsequently receiving community service. In late October 2020 the remaining band members issued a media statement confirming both Meighan's permanent dismissal from the band and his termination as a partner in their touring and merchandising companies.
On 28 May 2021, Kasabian announced an October tour of the UK, their first since Meighan's departure, with Pizzorno assuming all lead vocal duties and touring guitarist Tim Carter becoming a full-time member of the band.
- Studio albums
- Kasabian (2004)
- Empire (2006)
- West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2009)
- Velociraptor! (2011)
- 48:13 (2014)
- For Crying Out Loud (2017)
Awards and nominations
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