Chief con­cern

Get ready to Duck. Kaiser Chiefs front­man Ricky Wil­son talks to MAR­ION McMULLEN about the new al­bum, pos­si­ble father­hood and why mu­sic will al­ways be his main job

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‘I’ VE just had a bit of an ar­gu­ment with my fi­ancée,” Ricky Wil­son in­forms me right at the start of the in­ter­view, “she’s just found out when my next day off is but, hey, every day is a day off re­ally.”

It’s cer­tainly a busy time for the Kaiser Chiefs front­man with new al­bum Duck just out and a UK arena tour start­ing next Jan­uary.

“I can’t even think about the tour and next year,” he chuck­les. “There’s so much hap­pen­ing now. It’s like talk­ing about Hal­loween when it’s only March. You get taken up with this kind of feel­ing of emo­tion, re­leas­ing some­thing to the world that you know peo­ple are al­lowed to crit­i­cise.

“It’s hard. If we re­leased 20 al­bums a year I don’t think I’d feel so pre­cious about it, but you do feel quite pro­tec­tive about a new al­bum. It’s part of you.

“It’s re­ally weird at the mo­ment. I got picked up by a car this morn­ing. Nor­mally I get the Tube, but they sent a flash car around. I got out to get a can of Coke and I asked the driver if he wanted any­thing and he was shocked be­cause no one had ever asked him be­fore ... so I got him a can of Red Bull.”

Duck sees the band re­claim the cre­ative swag­ger that un­der­pins their best work like I Pre­dict A Riot, from 2005 al­bum Em­ploy­ment, and Ruby, which fea­tured on Yours Truly, An­gry Mob from 2007.

“It’s un­de­ni­ably fan­tas­tic and un­de­ni­ably Kaiser Chiefs,” says

Ricky. “What this al­bum is about is re­gain­ing trust in the fact I en­joy what I do. At some point, I’d for­got­ten that was a big part of it.”

He adds: “The in­ten­tion was to make a re­ally Kaiser Chiefs-y record but we’ve man­aged to do some­thing that doesn’t sound like any­thing we’ve done be­fore.”

New sin­gle Peo­ple Know How To Love One An­other re­flects the feel-good fac­tor of the al­bum, while Golden Oldies sees 41-year-old Ricky re­flect on the pos­si­bil­ity of be­com­ing a dad.

“I think it’s ac­cept­ing the fact that if I’m go­ing to live life prop­erly I should prob­a­bly try and have chil­dren – if I’m able,” he says. “But hav­ing chil­dren is some­thing that is not guar­an­teed. That is what the Ricky Wil­son, pic­tured far right, is pre­par­ing to hit the road with the Kaiser Chiefs in sup­port of new al­bum Duck, be­low song is about. There is so much stuff in life you just ex­pect and if you don’t get it, well, I don’t want to wake up one day and think ‘S**t, I missed out on the im­por­tant stuff do­ing flim flam things and didn’t have time. I didn’t know how to pri­ori­tise’.”

In the mean­time, Ricky and fi­ancée Grace Zito – they met when he was a men­tor on BBC singing com­pe­ti­tion The Voice UK and she was a stylist on the show – have labradoo­dle Ree­dus to keep them busy.

“He wouldn’t eat his break­fast this morn­ing. He’s been stay­ing with my mum and dad and they spoil him,” says Ricky.

“My mum said ‘We gave him a Mc­Don­alds as a treat, but we didn’t give him the bun’. No won­der he won’t eat his break­fast.”

Ricky proved a TV nat­u­ral on The Voice UK and more tele­vi­sion has fol­lowed, along with ra­dio pre­sent­ing and even a stab in the Celebrity Great British Bake Off kitchen for Chan­nel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer cam­paign, but per­form­ing with the Kaiser Chiefs re­mains his main job.

“I can’t do any­thing else,” he says simply, “and I didn’t want to. Mak­ing records and songs is, out of all the artistry out­puts, I think my favourite. You get to do it more than once in front of a lot of peo­ple.” Kaiser Chiefs have been go­ing for 15 years, but Ricky ad­mits some crit­i­cism is still baf­fling to him.

“One said we made mu­sic that’s de­signed to make a crowd jump up and down and sing along and that’s ex­actly what we want.

“I went to see the Spice Girls re­cently and there were 80,000 peo­ple there hav­ing the time of their lives and one per­son went to re­view the show who didn’t like the Spice Girls and was not go­ing to en­joy it.”

Ricky says the fu­ture is bright for Kaiser Chiefs and they are in it for the long haul.

“Bands break up be­cause of money, but we don’t care about that and every­thing is split equally, or be­cause of artis­tic dif­fer­ences. We might have dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal tastes, but we are sim­i­lar in what we want to hap­pen from the mu­sic...

We know we love each other. We don’t have to go through group ther­apy. We just get on with it, keep it light, and en­joy it.”

One (re­viewer) said we made mu­sic that’s de­signed to make a crowd jump up and down and sing along... that’s ex­actly what we want.

■ For de­tails on the al­bum, Duck and the up­com­ing tour dates go to kaiser­chiefs.com

Ricky pic­tured with fi­ancée Grace Zito

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