Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Leeds, England
Nationality : English
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-03-27
When Kaiser Chiefs formed up in not-so-sunny Leeds, England around the summer of 2003, their aim was not to conquer stadiums and change the world.Instead, these five oddballs began plotting a rather more modest plan.
In the shadowy corners of clubs and venues across the city Ricky Wilson (lead vocals, owner of stylish blue and orange suit), Andrew “Whitey” White (guitar), Simon Rix (bass), Nick “Peanut” Baines (keyboards and modeller of impressive pork-pie hats) and Nick Hodgson (drums and vocals) decided to form a band that would harness the awesome capability of being able to, erm, blag an early slot at their hometown Leeds Festival.Impressive, eh? They achieved it without breaking sweat, naturally, but with it came a whole lot more. 18 months down the line and the boys have gatecrashed the UK singles charts, laid waste to huge crowds as far away as Moscow, played triumphant support slots with Franz Ferdinand, made waves at US radio and signed to Universal Records.
Kaisers’ story actually begins some time before they’d decided to name themselves after a successful South African football team. School friends Simon, Peanut and Nick had been playing together in various bands since the age of 15before spying art school graduate and restless-ball-of-energy, Ricky singing with a Rolling Stones tribute band.Initially Ricky refused their invitation to join the ranks, but eventually he relented. “I don’t know why,” laughs Nick.“We didn’t have any songs at the time.”
Of course, being at the core of the UK’s most vibrant local music scene made the band realize they had to raise their game musically. And so, after a particularly heated crisis meeting, they agreed that if they were ever to secure that Leeds Festival spot, they had to start afresh. They rapidly went about changing everything, which meant a new name (“It was the only one suggested that we didn’t all hate”) and ditching all their old songs.“
It was like seeing the light,” says Ricky. “We’d been trying so hard to fit in that we’d lost sight of what we were best at – not fitting in.” “Not fitting in,” it seems, involved crafting world-beating pop songs about looter-filled city streets at closing time and relationships-gone-wonky. Songs that could only have been written by observing the peculiarities of life in Northern England, and songs that sparkled with the sound of Madness and The Kinks to Roxy Music and Blur.
Says Ricky, “We stopped singing about working on a railroad and going to high school proms and starting writing about being broke.”
It struck a chord. First self-financed single, on UK indie label Drowned in Sound, “Oh My God” made number 66 in the British charts despite the fact it was a limited release. The follow-up, “I Predict A Riot” (their first proper release after signing to another UK indie, B-Unique) shot straight to the fringes of the UK Top 20. With all this going on, it’s hardly surprising that they were picked to open the NME Awards Tour 2005: a slot that’s previously helped set bands like Coldplay and Franz on their way to stardom.
Stateside, LA’s KROQ and Indie 103 had caught wind. How, exactly? It’s still somewhat of a happy mystery… Kaiser Chiefs swiftly became the unassuming subjects of a US label bidding war within 3 months of trying to find a home in the UK. (After all, they did accomplish their goal of playing the Leeds festival. Oh, and Reading.) Universal won said war. Did we mention that all their demos and previously recorded releases were all produced in Nick’s bedroom?
Right now, everybody wants a piece of Kaiser Chiefs. Celebrated producer Stephen Street (The Smiths/Morrissey,Blur, The Cranberries) was so bowled over he offered his services for their debut album, Employment. A barrage of bouncing art-pop brilliance, it’s scheduled to soundtrack 2005 from the minute it hits stereos this coming spring. But with all these achievements behind their belts already, and acclaim oozing from the media on both sides of the Atlantic, what could be next for the Kaisers?
“I won’t stop until I’ve got an apartment in every major city in the world,” reckons Ricky. “New York. Helsinki. Also, I want all my ex-girlfriends to recognize me on television. But above all, I want to get a new filling for my tooth.”
Kaiser Chiefs' second album Yours Truly, Angry Mob was released in February 2007. The group recorded the album throughout the September and October 2006 at Hook End Studio in Oxfordshire, England. The group took inspiration from Led Zeppelin and American rock music, and recorded over twenty-two songs.
On 4 August 2008, the band confirmed the name of their third album as Off with Their Heads. It was released on 20 October 2008. The first single "Never Miss a Beat" was released on 6 October 2008.The band also released a DVD of their live performance at Elland Road from 24 May where they played to a sold out capacity crowd of 40,000 people. The DVD contains the full set from the home of Leeds United as well as highlights from the Kaiser Chiefs performance for the 2007 BBC Electric Proms.
Following a long hiatus (since 2008), Kaiser Chiefs announced that they expected to release their fourth studio album in mid-2011. The album was recorded over a period of eighteen months at various locations including drummer Nick Hodgson's self-built east-London studio. The album's producers included Tony Visconti, Ethan Johns and Owen Morris, in addition to Nick Hodgson himself.
On 3 June 2011, Kaiser Chiefs launched their new album from their website. However, instead of simply allowing fans to download the pre-made album, the band instead employed a new policy of allowing fans to "create their own albums". Using this technique, fans are able to choose 10 out of 20 songs to create "their album" for £7.50; the band provides streams of roughly one minute to preview each track before selection. Furthermore, after the creation of some albums, by early customers, later customers could be able to select an already created album if they desired, with the original creator being reimbursed one pound for each copy of their album downloaded/sold.
-Ricky Wilson – lead vocals, percussion
-Nick Hodgson – drums, backing vocals, lead vocals (on Boxing Champ, Remember You're A Girl, Man On Mars, Acting Up, It Ain't Easy(demo) and If You Will Have Me) and acoustic guitar (on acoustic Love's Not A Competition(but i'm winning)),
-Andrew "Whitey" White – guitar (live backing vocals)
-Simon Rix – Bass Guitar (live backing vocals)
- Nick "Peanut" Baines – keyboards/synths, percussion/hand claps (on Modern Way and You Want History)
-Yours Truly, Angry Mob (2007)
-Off with Their Heads (2008)
-The Future Is Medieval (2011)
-Start The Revolution Without Me (2012)
View the full website biography of Kaiser Chiefs.