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Friday, August 07, 2009
Fresh from releasing their new album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Q Radio's Danielle Perry caught up with Tom (vocals) and Chris (bass guitar) from Midlands-based rock group Kasabian, to talk about the people and the music that has made them who they are today.
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Q: Who would you say was the most influential person in your life, who has made you who you are today?
Tom: It’s a tough one, this is really deep. Possibly my granddad. I don’t know what else to say, because he was a big father figure to me. He was a Sergeant Major, a Japanese Prisoner of War and lived in Singapore with my mum at his own army base out there. There was something about him that was just gold. I really adored him.
Q: Did you spend a lot of time with him when you were younger?
Tom: Yeah. Me and my brother idolised him, as he’d just talk to us about things. There were other figures; my dad was one of them, he taught me right from wrong.
Q: Was it the legacy of your grandfather? His strength of character?
Tom: He was solid, yeah. He had big blue eyes, golden brown skin, glowed and looked amazing. He was just incredible. My mum said I looked a lot like him when he was in his twenties.
Q: Is he your role model? Do you think you would have achieved as a person if you grow up to be like him?
Tom: Yeah, completely. I wish he was here now, to see it [the success of the band] and to see what I’ve done. My old man is my role model as well, without a doubt; he kept me strict – well tried to! – kept me on the straight and narrow. He did well, you know. So I had two kinds of father figures.
Q: And when you’re a father yourself, do you think you might try and instil it into them? Do you want children?!
Tom: I’d hope to have children one day, though I’m still a child myself. I’ve got to learn to grow up. This sounds pretty weird, but a song which I grew up to was Benny King’s Stand By Me. I remember I had the 45 on vinyl and it was from the film Stand By Me in 1985. And the B-Side was [sings] Take out the Papers and The Trash. I suppose that reflects my childhood. It’s my favourite song that’s ever been written, in my opinion.
Q: How about yours, Chris? What was the most important relationship when you were growing up, or even now?
Chris: My older brothers, probably. I used to live with them; I never grew up with my dad, as my mum and dad split up when I was about two. So I never grew up with him but I see loads of him. I’ve got an older brother who is 34 and another who is 31, so [they were] always there as my best mates and the people who I looked up to and influenced me. My mum obviously was a big influence, because she brought four kids up on her own. It’s family figures - people like that; Ronald McDonald was there every time I was hungry – and Hamburglar!
I used to listen to whatever what my mum and brothers were listening to. I grew up with a lot of Michael Jackson.
Q: So, strong family units basically?
Tom: Yeah, this is really deep! It’s not weird deep though.
Q: So you all grew up in the same village. Did you all hang out together or go round to each other’s houses? Your families must have known each other as well?
Tom: I kind of knew Chris Edwards in secondary school and knew who Serge was, because of football. I was taller than Serge; he was tiny! He had a tiny, squeaky voice.
Chris: He went to live in America for three months didn’t he?
Tom: [laughs] Yeah, and he died his hair peroxide blonde!
Chris: He did. And then he ate loads of GM Foods and came back about seven foot! [Laughs]
Tom: I didn’t really hang around with Chris and Serge. They had their own lot in their part of the village and I had my lot. I suppose we started connecting on a Friday night; I’d head up on my BMX fairly mashed and they’d be there with a bottle of cider! And from then on Serge asked if I wanted to be in this band he’d got with Chris, and I thought, “Let’s try it!”
Q: So how did the subject of music come up? Was there one band which united you altogether that you all had a passion for?
Chris: The Britpop era in general. Obviously Oasis was a massive influence to us. They were the pinnacle of the music at that time. So we used to learn chords from Oasis, The Beatles…
Tom: Serge once camped outside HMV all night for a Britpop CD. There was a vibe that no band had created for a long time when Oasis brought out their third album. Everyone was just s***ing themselves for this album. Pulp and Supergrass, it was an amazing time. Be Here Now sparked pandemonium in the UK, people queuing overnight, it’s crazy. You ask Noel Gallagher and he’ll say the same thing.
Chris: I remember my mum’s husband queuing for me! We had GCSEs at the time and I think we skipped a couple of the exams so we could go round Serge’s and listen to the CDs. It was a pinnacle time when we were all buzzing for it. We knew what we wanted to be then.
Tom: Just things kids do when they’re 16… we would try and mimic The Who with Serge jumping around like [Pete] Townsend! But it was amazing, because we used to get free studio time. I used to go there with my younger brother and we used to jam and make a couple of songs. We did a song called My Dreaming. They were good and we started progressing and doing demos.
Chris: We had nothing else to do apart from going down the park playing football and drinking. I know it sounds quite clichéd and a lot of people do it, but we didn’t have anything else to do. So we went to the studio to rehearse three or four times a week and that was our life.
Tom: We had a residency at The Big Word in Leicester. It was cool, because we were completely religious about music. Just the whole innocence of it all was pretty amazing.
Chris: Then we got chucked out for not paying!
Tom: Yeah, Rocky the manager threw us out. We were in debt with him a bit so then we started rehearsing in Serge’s Dad’s MOT garage in the freezing cold. You wouldn’t be able to feel your fingers. Just getting there was the fun.
Q: Was there anyone from your village who had actually been in a band and particularly successful? So where did that self belief come from? Were you all quite confident people to believe it could happen?
Tom: I just think we were cool cats; we were cocky and we’ve got this enigma about us. We didn’t know when it was going to happen, but we had a feeling inside that it was going to happen one day. It’s pretty mad.
Q: Was this your first ever band and was it just a magical meeting and merging of people together?
Tom: Yeah, we’ve been together for 12 years – that’s a long time. We were 16/17. It’s unbelievable isn’t it? We were boys!
Q: So you’ve got all the different dynamics in the band and you’ve had a few line up changes as well. Are you content with it now? Do you still want perfection?
Tom: Well, I’m a perfectionist and so is Chris, but I think we’re at a level in this band where we’re comfortable in what we are. We’re good musicians and I think we’ve turned out good.
Q: When you go away – you toured for four years – that’s a huge amount of time to go away for, how is that altogether as characters? Are you sick of it now?
Chris: Living out of a bag is great, it’s what we love doing! With different characters on the bus, no-one gets in each other’s space. Tom’s mental; I’m the one who keeps a lid on it…it’s good that we all get on and we never argue. It sounds weird…
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