Kaiser Chiefs learn to play the game in rock ’n’ roll biz
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The Kaiser Chiefs are a band that will play the political games of the record industry, just don’t expect them to like it.
And why should they, anyway? The dance-rockers have hit home with fans in their native Britain and abroad, scoring a No. 1 on the U.K. Singles Chart and Download Chart with their hit Ruby off latest release Yours Truly, Angry Mob, an album that has topped the charts in Europe and other countries around the globe. Add that success with three 2006 Brit Awards (British Rock act, live act and group) and an NME award (best album) and ask what more a label could want.
“The job we have, if you want to call it that, is the best job in the world, isn’t it?” says keyboardist Nick (Peanut) Baines of being a big-time band (sentiments of that are framed on the track Retirement). “But you realize that you do all the things in a band that you don’t want to do, but you sort of ‘have to do.’ Like meet some advertisers when it really doesn’t matter, but you’re being told to play the game a little bit … the way you have to play up to the man, that sort of thing.”
Voila, the new unapologetic bad boys of British rock, or so they claim the press would have you think. The Chiefs recently refused an invitation to play a July 1 concert organized by Prince William and Prince Harry commemorating their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. They argue they were unfairly portrayed in the media as turning their noses up at the prestigious event.
“We had a tour planned already,” Baines says. “We planned the whole year ahead. I heard about it and it sounded like we sort of snubbed it and turned it down, didn’t it? And that’s not true at all. It was misreported.”
Of course, when you’re a recent chart topper from Leeds — the band is named after a South African team that now retired Leeds
United soccer legend, Lucas Radebe, used to play for in younger days, incidentally — you don’t say no to every assignment, especially when you get an invite to play on the 40th anniversary cover release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, on the original equipment the Fab Four used to record the album.
“Yeah, we were asked to get involved,” Baines says. “(Original producer) Geoff Emmerick is on board. Other bands were asked to do the whole album, a track each. We’re still deciding on which track we’re going to do. It’s pretty cool, and we’re going to do it when we get back from the States. (Doing it on the same equipment,) that’s the deal. It’s quite unbelievable, actually. We’re sort of stunned-excited, you know, to be asked to do it.”