Kasabian lands YYC for the first time
“Celine Dion, is she Canadian?”
Serge Pizzorno, lead songwriter and guitarist of British band Kasabian, is being tested on his Canadian music knowledge.
“I like Mike Myers, he’s Canadian right?” asks Pizzorno with a laugh. “Wayne’s World, does that count as music?”
“Forgive me for my English ignorance, we probably mix up American and Canadian [artists],” admits Pizzorno.
It’s impossible not to be charmed by Pizzorno’s engaging and warm personality. But as the leader and face of one of the UK’s most beloved contemporary rock bands, a certain magnetic charisma clearly comes with the territory.
And the attraction for Kasabian has certainly made its way across the pond, as Calgary prepares for the British band’s first appearance in the city.
It’s not uncommon that certain parts of Canada, particularly the non-Vancouver and Toronto parts, are the last places European bands tour, if at all. And it’s not as if there was no demand for Kasabian; their Calgary show was recently upgraded to the larger MacEwan Hall.
“It’s just so vast,” says Pizzorno. “[Canada’s] such a big place. I think if you’re a good touring band and you play enough shows, it can work. It’s just having the time to do that.”
Formed in 1997 in the Midlands of England, Kasabian proved early on to fans and critics alike what they were capable of when they released their self-titled 2004 debut album, filled with rock anthems and 60s-inspired tunes.
Members Tom Meighan, Chris Edwards, Ian Matthews and Pizzorno saw continued success with each follow-up album. Musical experimentation and growth were prominent, and as a result, gained Kasabian more respect as a band and higher rankings on the UK charts.
Their third album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Prize and also topped the UK Album Chart. Their secret?
“You don’t think about mortgage payments, or you don’t think what the fans are going to say if we try this or do that,” he says. “You’re kind of just following this path that you want to make art, and want to leave a legacy of great albums.”
With their latest album, 2011’s Velociraptor!, Kasabian welcomes their most mature and “reflective record” to their catalogue.
“I really thought about the lyrics on [Velociraptor!]. I always do, but this one in particular, I was dealing with more simpler subjects, like a breakup song,” explains Pizzorno.
“Run along like I’m supposed to.
Be the man I ought to.
Rock and roll sent us insane.
I hope someday that we will meet again.”
—from ‘Goodbye Kiss’
“You should be proud of your achievements and not let them be like an albatross,” says Pizzorno. “I think there’s a lot harder jobs out there in the world.”
As for their most recent achievement, it was announced that Kasabian would headline both the Reading and Leeds music festivals in England this summer. With four records under their belt, Pizzorno can think of no better time to headline the huge fests.
“It’s just the perfect time for us to do it.”
As a band of over 15 years, Pizzorno says Kasabian has fine-tuned and tweaked their live shows into something “beautiful.”
“It’s definitely a rock set, but there’s huge elements of dance music and electronic music in there as well, which really, really takes you to another dimension,” says Pizzorno.
Kasabian has also incorporated this glam-rock dimension into their wardrobe. Recognized for his rock n’ roll style, the fashionable Pizzorno has been seen donning fur and feathers in perfect Brian Eno fashion in recent performances.
“I’m loving David Bowie and Marc Bolan, and I’m just trying to do the 2012 version of those people, ya know?”
“You’re getting the whole deal; I’ve got my wardrobe with me,” he says laughing.
“Calgary, rest assured, everything will be OK.”
Kasabian plays Calgary at MacEwan Hall on April 7. Tickets are available through Prime Box Office.