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Hotstar


12:00 AM Monday, 7/4/05 |   |

Kasabian wants you to dance.

Bored by the lifelessness they saw in contemporary rock, the four Leicester, England, natives realized the music was missing something: a groove.

"I hear it in my favorite music," guitarist/songwriter Sergio Pizzorno told Pollstar. "I love The Beatles, I love the Stones, I love The Who.

"I hear a Stones tune and I hear dance music, you know? I hear tunes that make me want to move my feet. And I think that kind of went out of rock 'n' roll in a way. It's kind of dreary and they just kind of plod along, and I like a bit of funk, a bit of groove, man."

It appears the fans do too. Kasabian's electro-rocking self-titled debut has sold nearly half a million copies in the U.K. since its September release, and was released in the U.S. in March.

"We were just bored, really," Pizzorno explained. "We just didn't want to sound like The Jam anymore. We thought we'd try new things out, and we wanted to make people get down."

And get down they did: "People came to the gigs to go and dance

and chat up women

rather than just stand there in the front and throw beer at everyone."

The band members

Pizzorno, Tom Meighan, Chris Karloff and Chris Edwards

got together around 1997, before any of them played an instrument.

"We were just mates, you know

never been in any other band, didn't want to go do proper jobs," Pizzorno said.

The band aimed high.

"As soon as we started, we said we're gonna be the biggest band in the world

nothing more, nothing less. And we told everyone that we worked with ... and everyone laughed at us, you know, as you would. But slowly but surely, we're kind of making headway."

Pizzorno said the band rehearsed "religiously" but played live only sporadically at first, preferring to focus on crafting quality songs.

"We never wanted to play a show unless we were confident that we were gonna be really good," he said. "It took us quite a while ... we mostly concentrated on making great music. We wanted to make beautiful singles and beautiful songs so the live thing took a backseat."

However, that all changed when the band's single "Processed Beats" made a splash in U.K. dance clubs and incited a record label bidding war.

The group had been submitting demos to no avail for years, but, Pizzorno said, "Once one label was interested, then they all came running. That's pretty much the way it is, you know."

Kasabian signed to RCA in 2002 and promptly hooked up with manager Graeme Lowe. They convinced the label to let them self-produce their album, recorded at their rural farmhouse headquarters.

"They were a bit wary at first," Pizzorno said, but the band's previous success producing its own singles made for a valuable bargaining chip. "We just told them that it was going to be the best fucking debut album of all time and they should let us do it."

RCA agreed and the band immediately hit the road to build support for the record.

"We literally got in a van and played as many gigs and as many towns as we could," Pizzorno said. "And I'd say the reason we have all this success back home is 'cause we did that."

International Talent Booking's Mike Dewdney concurred: "They kept playing and playing and playing, and every time they did a show, every promoter wanted them back."

The agent hooked up with Kasabian through Lowe shortly after the RCA deal.

When he first saw them perform, it was "very raw and needed a lot of work," Dewdney told Pollstar. "But the nucleus of a great band was there."

"I've got to say, the geezer looks after us," Pizzorno said of Dewdney. "It's one of the main reasons why we sold a lot of records. He just knows how to book bands; he knows where to put us. He picks the right gigs, and we're very confident whenever he tells us we can sell out a show."

Practice makes perfect, as they say, and the band has developed a live set to rival any headliner.

"What really pushed us over the edge was we opened at pretty much every single festival in the U.K. last summer," Dewdney said. Performing on the main stage at Glastonbury, Reading and countless other Euro fests, Kasabian attracted interest from press, radio and

perhaps most importantly

the fans.

When it came time to try their luck in America, Kasabian hooked up with Marty Diamond of Little Big Man Booking, who told Pollstar working with the band was "a no-brainer" after he heard their album through Lowe.

Kasabian opened for The Music earlier this year and came back for a headlining run in May, during which they sold out Chicago's Double Door, Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club, and other venues.

After this summer - when they'll do Lollapalooza, Japan's Summer Sonic, and, of course, the Euro festivals - the band will return to the U.S. supporting Oasis. Dewdney said the Gallagher brothers handpicked Kasabian as their opener.

Plans are already in the works for a headlining tour after that, keeping the group busy until Christmas.

Dewdney is as confident as the band members that they'll reach their lofty goals.

"They're winning fans everywhere they go, so it's just going to be a question of time."

 


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