Eez-eh, Now! Exposed Meets Kasabian ahead of their gig at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on 13 December 2014.
What a year it’s been for Leicester legends Kasabian. Following a stonking Glasto headline slot, and a historic hometown show in front of 50,000 people at Victoria Park in Leicester, this month sees them setting off on a huge autumn UK tour – culminating right here in Sheffield on December 13.
Currently in the form of their lives, both on stage and on record, we caught up with frontman Tom Meighan to find out more.
If you could, imagine you’re back in 1997 – did you ever think you’d be playing sold out arenas? Was it ever your mission, so to speak?
Yeah, I predicted it man, I went to a psychic and everything (laughs). Seriously though, no. I mean, we set out to be f*cking rock stars, to get on the cover of NME, and all that good shit! It’s gone by so fast. When I think back to ’97, it’s been a f*cking crazy time. I’ve wanted to be a rock star since I can remember, and to play in front of massive crowds, it’s all about the people and playing live – it’s absolutely amazing, man. It was our aim to be what we are today – and we’ve worked hard for it. It’s about having a dream, everyone has a dream, I followed mine and stayed with it – and it paid off. You’ve got to follow your dreams no matter what…
What can we expect from the tour in terms of the setlist – a bit of everything?
Yeah, a bit of everything, really. There’s gonna be six songs from the latest record, and a mix of other stuff. We’ve put out so many songs, it can be a bit of a headache putting together the final setlist because you want to make sure the show is gonna be f*cking amazing, you know? It’s a good headache, though – it’s a lot of fun going through our songs and picking out certain ones. It’s insane to think how much stuff we’ve done – but I’ve loved every minute of it.
Our wonderful city of Sheffield is the last date on the tour, is there any particular reason for this?
No reason really – that’s just how it played out. I love it in Sheffield though, really good city to play. We’ve had so many good memories there – and I’m excited to be going back there in December. Our tour manager sorts all that stuff out, it just happened to turn out that way.
We recently put out a tweet asking for people’s most memorable gigs in Sheffield – and Kasabian came up for when you were the support act for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Leadmill in 2004. Do you remember it at all?
Oh yeah, I do remember that! It’s pretty crazy when I think about it. I mean, I’ve been a massive fan of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club since I was little – and so to play with them back then was like a dream come true. Motorcycle Club are a proper rock and roll band, they’ve been through all sorts of shit, had problems over the years, but they’ve stuck at it and given it their all – so to be compared to those guys is amazing. I remember the venue quite well, quite dark and full of atmosphere, yeah it was a good gig.
What’s the strangest thing to ever happen to you on tour?
Absolutely loads of crazy stuff has happened throughout the years. Much I don’t really remember, unfortunately, but they’re the best times anyway, aren’t they? Nothing really strange has happened, you might come across some strange people now and again, but apart from that – we’ve just had loads of good times as opposed to anything weird or strange or whatever.
On that note then, do believe in ghosts or anything paranormal?
I believe something more than us is out there, my friend. There’s got to be when you think about it. Yeah, I believe in all that paranormal shit, absolutely. It’s nice to believe in something like that, you know, that spirits are around us and what have you.
What’s the best and worst thing about being on the road?
There’s definitely more best than worst. Playing music at different cities every night is an incredible feeling, I’ve been able to visit some amazing countries in such a short amount of time. I mean, one night we might be playing Italy, and the next night we could be playing somewhere in Canada, you know? It’s a crazy life, but I love it. It’s getting to all these places that’s a bit of a downer. It feels like I’m stuck in a tin can sometimes when I’m flying for so long – so, if anything, that’s the worst thing about it. It can be so boring at times, just flying in the air for what seems like forever, but once we’re up and playing to all these people none of that matters because the feeling I get is f*cking amazing.
Have you had any injuries whilst on tour?
Honestly mate, nothing too devastating. I remember panicking really bad when I woke up in Germany and couldn’t speak – I’d lost my voice completely, so that was terrifying as we had more shows to do. We’ve only ever had to cancel three gigs, which I think is impressive considering how long we’ve been knocking about. I don’t like letting our fans down – so, if one of us does have an injury, it’s more than likely we’ll play regardless. But yeah, for me – nothing too serious, thankfully.
Where do you see yourself and the rest of Kasabian in 20 years’ time then? Still doing gigs?
Old, fat and bald (laughs) – just like everyone else, man. I think we’ll still be playing music – but who knows what can happen in the future? We’ll have to see – but I like the idea of making music still in 20 years or even longer. As far as I’m concerned, everyone is up for doing this for a long time, it’s a lifetime commitment.
Catch Kasabian at the Motorpoint Arena on December 13. Tickets are £32.45 and £43.45. See www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk for more.
Kasabian: Cast In Stone
Well, polymer clay, to be precise.
This here Sergio and Tom are the work of local artist Jaqui Dowling – who previously featured in Exposed back in 2004.
10 years on, following something of a respite, she’s back – touting local lot Velcro Teddybears as her inspiration to get back in the game.
“I’m a big fan of the band,” she tells us. “In fact, I’ve even done a Velcro Teddybear range! They really encouraged me to start up again – and hopefully I’ll be exhibiting some pieces at their bar, The Royal Standard, in the near future.”
Now looking to take things to the next level, everyone from Jake Bugg to Amy Winehouse and Ian Brown has had the Dowling treatment – whilst she’s passionate about promoting the local scene too.
“I love bigging Sheffield up,” she smiles. “I gave Alex Turner some Arctic Monkey statues at The Leadmill. They were in a shoe box and he asked if it was a bomb! I’ve done loads of others – The Rev, Steve Edwards… the list goes on.”
Jaqui’s available for commissions and prices start at £20. Give her a tinkle on 07985481178 for more.
Kasabian were formerly called Saracuse.
They’re named after Linda Kasabian, a member of the Charles Manson cult (aka the Manson family), famous for serving as his getaway driver.
Kasabian have released five studio albums – Kasabian (2004), Empire (2006), West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2009), Velociraptor!(2011) and 48:13 (2014).
Their first public appearance was at the Vipers Rugby Club to celebrate band bassist Chris Edwards’ 18th birthday.
Kasabian and last month’s Exposed interviewee, Noel Fielding, have a long standing friendship. Head here for our top 5 Noel Fielding and Kasabian moments.