Following a brief dalliance with a more electronic sound on 2014’s 48:13, Kasabian made a much welcome return to a more rock-ish sound this year on new LP For Crying Out Loud. It’s full of brash guitars, boastful lyrics and the swagger of a band who, despite ever changing trends, has managed to stay on the top of the heap.
Having just come off headlining the Reading and Leeds Festivals late last month, Vanyaland caught up with K-Sabes frontman Tom Meighan ahead of Saturday’s (September 16) show at Royale to talk about the band’s longevity, how he would curate a Britpop festival, and “that fucking clown” from It.
Michael Christopher: Kasabian made a concentrated effort to go back to the guitar sound of the band. I know [guitarist] Serge [Pizzorno] has talked about falling in love with the guitar again. How did that work for you when he came back with that direction?
Tom Meighan: I totally love just songs on a guitar. We’ve been experimental for the last few years, and I think Serge just went back to basic songwriting, you know? Great melodies and great rock songs — it’s fucking nothing more and nothing less isn’t it? I was proper stoked when he was like, “Listen to this.” I was [like], “Oh man… we’ve got that massive, massive rock pop songs,” you know? I was buzzin’ when he showed me the demos, you know?
One of my favorite lines from the new record is when you’re calling out all these new bands who get some fame and you say, “Trying to start a war, I heard it all before/Now go fetch me a milkshake, don’t forget the straw.” Were you guys thinking about anyone in particular when you were writing that?
I just think it’s an arrogant thing — isn’t it? It’s just the bravado more than anything. I think it’s macho and it’s cocky — it’s like what a boxer would say, you know what I mean? It’s tongue in cheek as well.
What did [longtime band roadie] Rick Graham think about you putting him on the cover of the record?
He actually did some promo and signed some albums [laughs]. No, I mean, we kind of immortalized the old fucker — do you know what I mean? He’s been with us since we broke through 13 years ago; puttin’ him on there is fantastic. It kind of strikes out and stuff. He loved it — listen, he’s got his five minutes of fame now, so he’s over the moon. When he dies, he’ll be immortalized forever [laughs].
You mentioned how long he’s been with you. Kasabian has been around for 20 years now; ther first album came out 13 years ago. When you look at all the bands that came up in the UK around that time and now you’re one of the few left not just standing but thriving…
Yeah, we’re thriving my friend. It’s only us, the Arctic Monkeys and Muse and so few other bands from England that are still around — on this scale. But, I mean, we’re thriving, and I think we’ve hit something. We headlined Reading and Leeds [Festivals] a couple of weeks ago, and that was like, fucking, it was like a pinnacle for us. It was right, it felt right, the crowd was right — the gigs were fucking amazing — and we’ve hit something at the minute. I can’t describe it. We’ve hit a moment; if that makes sense.
You’ve gone on record saying that as a kid you were “petrified of that fucking clown” from It.
You can’t be happy about the remake and how well it’s doing.
No man — well, the book was amazing and the one they made in the late-’80s was pretty shit because it was a TV film wasn’t it? But I wanna see the fucking new one I bet it’s amazing, so… hahaha!
[Turns serious] Yeah — that’s not funny. That’s fucking sad. I mean, that’s not funny. I don’t find that funny. I like Stephen King in general mate, you know what I mean? But that’s really fucking sad isn’t it? You don’t do that. I mean, come on — how far do you want to take it?
Kasabian is named after the getaway driver for one of the Charles Manson murders Linda Kasabian. You have just committed a crime. It doesn’t have to be a major infraction…maybe you just robbed a bank. Who do you enlist as the getaway driver?
I’ll tell ya — Vin Diesel [laughs]. Be pretty fucking smooth wouldn’t it? Boom! No one would fuck with us [if it was] me and Vin Diesel, so it would be massive, yeah.
I just read a book, it’s called How Not to Worry — hahaha — and I recommend it. It’s done me a world of good because I get anxiety and it’s done me the fucking world of good. Stop worrying — it’s great. Yeah…it works [laughs].
::SEVEN OF SOMETHING
Michael Christopher: The next several months loosely represent the 25th anniversary of the Britpop explosion. If you could curate a festival with seven bands from that era, whether they are together today or not, who would they be?
…probably Massive Attack
Who am I missing? Ocean Colour Scene…
I’m missing someone else… it’ll come to me in a minute… ah man… this band called Space…
Space! “Female of the Species”
Yes — yes. That’s it.
KASABIAN + THE SHEILA DIVINE :: Saturday, September 16 at Royale, 279 Tremont St. in Boston, MA :: 6 p.m., 18-plus, $35 in advance and $37 day of show :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page :: Featured photo Phil Knott