Kaiser Chiefs return to Edinburgh

Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs

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KAISER CHIEFS are living proof that sometimes you need to take a step back in order to go forward.

At their peak, the Leeds lads were selling albums by the million, bagging countless awards and packing out stadiums like Wembley.

Then they disappeared without trace after their third album, the ominously titled Off With Their Heads, sold poorly.

But according to frontman Ricky Wilson, the band simply needed time to themselves after years of constant touring.

“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 in a broad Yorkshire accent.

Not that the band didn’t have a ball while they were riding high in the charts.

“We had a fantastic five years and luckily I’m not a heroin user, so I can remember it all,” laughs guitarist Andrew White.

Asked for the absolute highlights, he says, “Touring with U2 and performing to over one million people at Live 8 have to be among the biggest highs, as was collecting three Brit Awards on one night.”

By the end of it all, though, they were ‘knackered’ and in need of a break.

“We had been touring solidly around the world all that time, we just didn’t stop,” says White. “Since signing our deal in 2005, we did three albums and we were off – everywhere.

“It had been amazing, but we got to a stage where we felt we just needed to live in our houses and see our loved ones.”

After their well-earned hiatus a rejuvenated Kaiser Chiefs are back on a UK-wide tour that brings them to the HMV Picture House tonight.

As well as hits like I Predict A Riot and Ruby, a large portion of their set will be drawn from comeback album The Future Is Medieval, which was released last year via their website.

In a novel marketing move, it gave fans the chance to select ten of 20 tracks and create their own bespoke album.

Explaining the thinking behind it, bassist Simon Rix says, “A lot of bands moan about people not buying their music and we thought rather than moaning it’s better to try to do something different - so that’s what we did.”

White admits the band aren’t sure they’ll scale the heights of their early career again, but that won’t stop them trying.

“We’ve been there and done it,” he says. “We’ve played stadiums, we’ve had number ones, we’ve won awards - but we still crave it.

“A bit of you says ‘just enjoy it now and go with the flow’ but the other part of you says ‘I want to get back in there and be current’.”

There’s been plenty of talk recently about the demise of guitar bands as a whole, but White reckons it will take just one quality act to come through the ranks to change all that.

“There hasn’t been that ‘new Oasis’ or ‘new The Smiths’ yet and I really want one to come out and rejuvenate British guitar music again.

“If you listen to the radio, how many guitar bands do you hear? You’ve got Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian but not many more.

“If you like that genre of music, which I think Britain does, and that’s what we’re based on, then it’s not great - but hopefully this drought will inspire a band like it did with The Smiths in the 80s and Oasis in the 90s.”

Kaiser Chiefs, HMV Picture House, Lothian Road, tonight, 7pm, £25, 0844-847 1740