“Basically everything,” Kasabian bassist Chris Edwards said in response to a query about the music he’s most recently hated. “It’s just all the manufactured crap that’s flooded the market,” he elaborated over the phone from his London hotel. But musical doomsdayists needn’t fear, because Kasabian says that they are here to change all that.
“I just hope that true rock and roll will come back. Having some heart rather than doing it for a paycheck or doing it to look good or be famous,” Edwards said. “All these bands that get together at art school or music college and think, ‘Oh, we’re good musicians, let’s start a band.’ Everything is manufactured. It’s about time things got back to reality.”
For Kasabian, “reality” involves hard charging guitars that create an almost oppressively heavy backing to Tom Meighan’s clenched-teeth, id-driven vocals. Throw in a rhythm section that’s more electronica than rock, and you got Kasabian. Think Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on E. But angry.
This formula has helped the band regularly sell out huge venues across the pond, and they hope to do the same soon in America. Edwards is quick to mention, however, that “this time last year we were playing for 30 people.”
He credits Kasabian’s emergence to their hometown of Leicester, England, but not necessarily for a reason the city council might crow about.
“There wasn’t a lot to do at night, other than drink and smoke on the street and cause a bit of mischief,” he said. “So we decided to pick up guitars and put ourselves to good use. That’s what really helped us: it was boring.”
What they did when they picked up those guitars has become modern folklore in the notoriously rabid British musical press. Like Brit-rock transcendentalists, they retreated to a farm to make their eponymous debut.
“During the day, if it was a nice day, we’d go outside and play football and play snooker, and at night we’d work on the album,” Edwards recalled.
That album has vaulted Kasabian to legendary status in England, as they are breathlessly mentioned as heir to the throne of the British House of Rock Lads, previously occupied by the likes of The Stone Roses and Oasis. Although Edwards said their music is not similar, their attitude, stage presence and confidence is. “We’re in that same vein,” Edwards said.
Edwards swears the band is only trying to save rock and roll, as opposed to the world, in spite of a press kit manifesto that most nationalist groups would kill for.
“We’re just normal lads trying to be a good group and keep British rock and roll alive,” he said. A humble goal indeed.
Kasabian will open for The Music at the 9:30 Club Friday.