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Kasabian: Going Mental

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: May 26, 2005

w/ Madaction, Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers
May 29, 9p.m.
Sokol Underground,
13th & Martha
$10 adv; $12 DOS

The critics, in all their wisdom, are saying Kasabian is the new Oasis.

They're comparing the band to everyone from Primal Scream to Happy Mondays to My Bloody Valentine. Kasabian's self-titled RCA debut is a big hit across the water, selling nearly 500,000 copies since its release there last fall. Sell-out arena shows throughout Europe followed, as epitomized in a live video for their hit "Club Foot," showing a throbbing crowd "going mental" as if Mick, Keith and the boys were on stage.

But that's the U.K. Here, on the shores of these United States, Kasabian is still just another underground rock act trying to break through in the only market that really matters. They may be selling out arenas in Manchester and Glasgow, but they'll be hard-pressed to fill Sokol Underground on a Sunday night.




The return to club land is just another challenge, said Kasabian keyboardist/guitarist and primary songwriter Sergio Pizzorno. "It's good for the soul, man," said the cheeky Brit after a sound check at Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theater. "You get used to playing these big venues and expect it. We started in the clubs. We can play in front of 50 or 5 million and it's exactly the same. It's the spirit of the band, man."

Pizzorno's distracted cadence and rushed cockney delivery give the conversation an air of consequence. In short, it's how I imagine it would be like interviewing someone important, like one of the Stones.

I mention that the CD's been compared to releases by The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, thanks to its funky, Manchester-style beats. Regardless, Kasabian has been grouped with bands in the indie scene over here, probably because their videos have received airplay on MTV2's indie-flavored program "Subterranean." Fact is, their music has more in common with hip-hop than indie.

"Thank you, man, that's a great compliment," Pizzorno said. "The music is born out of being bored with indie and rock music and doing something different."

Being bored appears to be the band's biggest motivation. Pizzorno described his sleepy hometown of Leicester, U.K., as being filled with honest, hard-working people getting on in life. "There's beauty in that," he said. "But the boredom makes you want to get out and make music to escape. When you're an artist, you need more. You need to travel and play your guitar. We've somehow been chosen to make music and be on this path, man."







"The music is born out of being bored with indie and rock music and doing something different."





"Creativity is overrated, integrity is everything."



It's a path that comes with directions in the form of the band's heady manifesto filled with earnest platitudes that was included in their press kit. Among the jewels of wisdom:

"The Kasabian Movement is you, the fifth member of Kasabian. Together we can make something special."


"It doesn't matter what you believe in as long as you believe it. Creativity is overrated, integrity is everything."


"It's not about bullshit New York or wanky Hoxton. You can live the rock and roll lifestyle but there's no point if you hit the button and it sounds like shit. Cut out the bull and irrelevance to find the real life."

Heavy stuff, man. And there's more, with headlines like "Personal Revolution" and "Live It for Real." Though it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, Pizzorno sounds a little embarrassed by the manifesto these days. "We had a lot of red wine making that thing," he said. "We needed something to give the press. So you have a few beers and speak out loud and write it down. It was one of those moments in life. We don't regret it, as yet."

Kasabian, he says, is more than just a manifesto. It's about "giving the people a reason to go mental" and "bringing togetherness" at their impromptu dance parties. They just want to share love.

"If people in Omaha bought our album, they deserve to see us on stage," he said. "We're having a great time in America, just trying to stay alive."

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Published in The Omaha Reader May 25, 2005. Copyright 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.