Big Day Out 2012: Kasabian

By Scott Kara

Kasabian. Photo / Supplied
Kasabian. Photo / Supplied

Like his good mate Noel Gallagher, Tom Meighan doesn't mind letting the world know how great he thinks his band - Kasabian - is, and for that matter, how great he is.

"Rock 'n' roll will never tell a lie," he says grandly in his cheeky, loutish lilt, "and when you walk the yellow brick road mate, you never stop and we're still going and no one has ever got in our path. And we're built great, and we're good people, and we're a good f****** rock 'n' roll band."

Though they have come up with many anthemic dance rock songs - like the trance rock of Reason is Treason, the sing-along pomp of Shoot the Runner, and most recently Days Are Forgotten off latest album Velociraptor! - it's this posturing bravado that has helped Kasabian make a name for themselves since forming in Leicester in the late 90s.

These days, the band - also made up of songwriter and guitarist Sergio Pizzorno, bass player Chris Edwards, drummer Ian Matthews, and guitarist Jay Mehler - are one of British rock's biggest drawcards.

"I asked Serge the other day," says Meighan, "'are we going to be round in 30 years?' And he's like, 'F*** yeah. We'll be bald and fat on stage and and f*** it'. So we will be like the Who.

"The truth of the matter is we are f****** good. That's what it boils down to. And it's in my blood to be the singer in a rock 'n' roll band from the day my mother gave birth to me."

Little Tommy Meighan grew up in Leicester listening to his folks' Motown records, a bit of the Carpenters, and 80s-era Michael Jackson. Come the mid-90s he was looking to do what many young lads of his age were doing - forming a band inspired by the Britpop movement.

"So that's what we did," he says of meeting Edwards and Pizzorno in 1997. "I thought Chris was the funniest little f**** I'd ever met and I thought Serge looked like a f***** beanstalk," says the 31-year-old with a hoot. "No, but really, they were just people who wanted to start a rock 'n' roll band."

And so began Kasabian's bid for rock superstardom and notoriety.

Lately though, it seems, Kasabian may have pulled their heads in a little bit - and Velociraptor! is proof. While it still has its wild, rousing rock moments on Let's Just Roll Like We Used To, there are also songs such as Goodbye Kiss, the most beautiful song the band have come up with.

Meighan describes it as a "Roy Orbison wall-of-sound Phil Spector song" and it's clear he's proud of it.

"It breaks my heart when I sing it [Goodbye Kiss]. It's close to home basically. It's a nice song. It means pure heartbreak, I'm not laughing am I?"

In contrast to "naughty" songs like Empire, which got the masses jumping at the Big Day Out in 2010, and "stoopid" songs like Underdog, off last album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum from 2009, Meighan reckons "this one's a proper album". "We've actually written some beautiful songs that are heartfelt rather than trippy Ecstasy songs. And we've always had it in us and that's what blows my mind, that people are going, 'Wow where did that come from?'. But we've always had it in us, mate.

"It's an album with really big songs. It's not like we never had any before, but we just started writing songs again.

"We've got it together," he insists. "We really have. There are people getting married, they're having babies, and it's been emotionally a beautiful time."

LOWDOWN

What: British louts who rock

Where and when: Big Day Out Stage, 7.15pm

Listen to: Kasabian (2004); Empire (2006); West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2009); Velociraptor! (2011)

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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