For his latest column Martin Cooper looks at the style of Leicester’s Kasabian, purveyors of finely-crafted songs in the classic Britrock vein.
Martin Cooper investigates the modern Britrock style of Leicester sons Kasabian.
Leicester band Kasabian formed in 1997. They have since scored five charttopping albums and played dozens of sold-out tours. Comprising Tom Meighan (vocals), Sergio Pizzorno (guitar), Ian Matthews (drums) and Chris Edwards (bass), they blend classic rock, psychedelia and Britpop styles. Previous guitarist Chris Karloff quit the line-up in 2006. The group has also won the Best Band In The World Today award from Q Magazine, Best Live Band from NME, and headlined Glastonbury.
Initially launching their career under the name Saracuse the quartet started recording at Bedrock Studios in Leicester, where bassist Edwards was one of the engineers. After changing the group name, recording an initial EP and getting out on the live circuit, they signed to BMG Records. With the release of their eponymous 2005 debut album, Meighan, Pizzorno and co were booked to play on the Other Stage at Glastonbury, after which they began to gain an ardent following. The third single Club Foot from the debut album, put them firmly on the UK map and the song has been a staple of their live set ever since.
Kasabian have continued to be extremely popular, doing particularly well on home territory, but have also maintained a massive following on the live circuit. Indeed, they seem to be the darlings of the festivals including the Isle Of Wight, the Edinburgh Summer Sessions, and Genoa in Italy - where many of the guitarist’s family still reside.
Sergio Pizzorno’s style is firmly rooted in the ‘less is more’ Brit-rock style and he’s happy to cite Noel Gallagher as an influence. Pizzorno is something of a guitar anti-hero and plays simple parts that serve the band’s songs, often leaving space really well and playing one simple part instead of layering up many guitar textures.
Our track this month is simple from a technical point of view, but highlights some of the ways that Kasabian’s guitar parts and motifs back up the bass and the drums and play around chord tones and harmony. There’s a real lesson to be learnt from this, as rock is not always ‘pedal to the metal’.
Bb- We’re in the key of Dm (D-E-F-G-A- C), although the track ends with an A major chord (A-C#-E) which points towards A Phrygian
Dominant (A- C#-D-E-F-G), essentially making the V chord from D minor (Am) major (A), by playing C# instead of C.
NEXT MONTH Martin delves into the bluesy-rock style of GN’R and Velvet Revolver’s Slash
Sergio Pizzorno al ways plays si mple parts that ser ve the song rat her than his ego
Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno playing a matt black Epiphone Casino
Sergio Pizzorno uses a collection of vintage style instruments including a Rickenbacker 480 and 481, an Epiphone Casino and a Fender Jaguar. He often uses a Vox AC30 amp and effects such as the Electro Harmonix POG and Microsynth. Go for a classic rock sound, using traditional tones and medium gain, adding such effects as suit the song.