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Kaiser Chiefs Refreshed, Ready for New Album and Tour

Ricky Wilson: 'No one wants to hear people in bands talking about how rubbish their life is'

January 26, 2012 1:40 PM ET
ricky wilson kaiser chiefs
Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs performs in Munich, Germany.
Stefan M. Prager/Redferns

Kaiser Chiefs will release their new album, Start the Revolution Without Me, March 6 and start a U.S. tour that night in Boston. It's the British band's first U.S. release since 2008's Off With Their Heads. While it's been four years, frontman Ricky Wilson tells Rolling Stone the group only took a five-month break. The rest of the time was spent writing and recording new material. But that short vacation did the band a lot of good, especially here.

"You take a little step back, and now we’re going back to America and we’re flying first class and we’re playing on Letterman and we’re doing all these amazing things," he says. "We’re playing Coachella and doing our biggest U.S. tour. It’s actually really exciting."

The brief respite also reinvigorated them as a band. "You kind of get used to being in a band, and you don’t look forward to things as much as you really should," he says.

If the band needed to remind themselves of that fact, Wilson isn't complaining. "No one wants to hear people in bands talking about how rubbish their life is when there are a million kids in a million garages across the country who are queueing up to take their place," he says.

So he's focusing on the positive, of which there's plenty at the moment. "Over the last summer, when we were doing festivals all over Europe and Australia and Japan, suddenly you remember people come to see you because they enjoy it," he says. "Just remembering that is an amazing feeling."

Now they'll get to share that feeling Stateside and at Coachella, playing on the same day as fellow Brits Radiohead, Noel Gallagher, Kasabian and more.  Wilson is excited to see them all – of Radiohead, he says, "Fucking hell, man" – but one act he is particularly curious about is David Guetta.

"People fucking love that guy," he says. "I’m in a band with guys with guitars and drums, but I totally understand why David Guetta is one of the most popular people on the earth right now. It’s because it’s fun and people like it."

Kaiser Chiefs also plan to bring the fun, and they don't aplogize for that. "At a festival we like seeing the bands where everyone sings along," he says. "We write those kind of songs."

The group brought that same populist approach to the new music. When a very different version of this record was released last year in the U.K. under the name The Future Is Medieval, the band recorded 25 songs and let fans pick the album they wanted. "Fans could choose their 10 favorite tracks and then they owned that. They sold their copy and they got paid for it," he says.

For the U.S. version the band let their new label, Cooperative, have a go at making the sequence they wanted. "We said to them, 'You’ve got this batch of songs, you make your album,'" he says. "They made their album." And how does he feel about it? "When we recorded the 25 we knew we had to be happy with anyone’s choice of 10. That was why they all had to be up to a certain standard. Tthere was no filler. And I know some people who don’t like our band might disagree with that, but personally I do feel we’ve made the strongest body of work we’ve ever done."

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