Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno became the band’s frontman after Tom Meighan was kicked out

“When a band has to prove themselves, it’s really exciting and I love being in that position,” says Kasabian frontman Serge Pizzorno.

“I’ve always enjoyed being an outsider – I’ve written a lot of songs about that – and that’s where Kasabian found themselves.

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Serge Pizzorno (foreground), 41, became the frontman of Kasabian in July 2020 after singer Tom Meighan was fired for assaulting his current wife Vicki Ager.Credit: NEIL BEDFORD
The Alchemist's Euphoria will be the band's first album since the departure of Pizzorno Meighan.

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The Alchemist’s Euphoria will be the band’s first album since the departure of Pizzorno Meighan.Credit: NEIL BEDFORD
The band's original vocalist, Tom Meighan, was fired for assaulting his wife, Vicki Ager.

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The band’s original vocalist, Tom Meighan, was fired for assaulting his wife, Vicki Ager.Credit: PA: Press Association.

“We knew what was up to him and we deserved our chance. The ‘new’ shows we played were really special and this album gave us a lot of confidence.”

Pizzorno is upbeat and has a lot to say as we talk about their seventh album, The Alchemist’s Euphoria, the first without original vocalist Tom Meighan.

I sit with the musician in his publicistics office and discuss two emotional years for the Leicester band.

Pizzorno, 41, became the frontman in July 2020 after singer Tom Meighan was fired for assaulting his current wife, Vicki Ager.

Watch Crouch take the stage with Kasabian at the Isle of Wight festival.
Kasabian Frontman Says Band Nearly Disbanded After Tom Meighan Was Fired For Hitting His Wife

Meygan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, but domestic violence charities criticized the order as insufficient after it was revealed in court that Meygan repeatedly hit Ager, held her by the throat, and dragged her by her ankles.

However, fans were divided over the decision to fire Meighan due to the incident, with many fans expressing their opinion on social media that he should be given a second chance. “I knew about the chatter,” Pizzorno says.

“But no one knows what happened except us. For me, the group is sacred, and we decided that everything remains within the group. An eye for an eye? I won’t go there.

“Playing live or recording albums was the only way for me. I speak live or on record.”

The future of Kasabian was bleak. For 17 years the band was one of the biggest British bands, but Pizzorno, bassist Chris Edwards and drummer Ian Matthews didn’t know what was going to happen next.

The songwriter admits that he thought about the new frontman, but they kept coming back to the fact that these are HIS songs.

“These words are in my blood,” he tells me. “I know where I was when I wrote each of these songs. It means something on stage when the words come from within. So I had to get up and I had to come over. I really didn’t have a choice.”

Pizzorno says that his decision to continue working and become the band’s vocalist was supported by his friends and family.

“Absolutely insane”

He says: “Having Kasabian songs for the rest of my life didn’t just affect me. It affected Dibs (Chris) and Jan, our team and families.

“What else were we going to do? Go and do something else? I have to pay my damn mortgage, and so we had to do what made us happy.

“We made the decision as a band to continue with me as a vocalist. Tom knows we’re there if he needs us. We talked to him and he knows it. But later he went further. He left solo before we knew what we were going to do.”

Taking on singing duties, Pizzorno stresses that he never wanted to be a frontman when he formed the band as a teenager.

“I didn’t want to be a singer. This is not my calling. But by necessity, I am now,” he says.

“I didn’t have much time to think too deeply about what’s good for me as I can rethink.

“I can go anywhere when I’m sitting on the couch, but when I’m on this stage, the focus is absolutely insane. I just keep it going. It’s like jumping out of an airplane.

“As long as you pack the parachute yourself, everything is fine. Once you have made your choice and stepped onto this stage, there is no going back. You are in free fall and by then I can’t worry about anything.”

Pizzorno says he didn’t want to be “a guitarist trying to be a frontman” and says he drew inspiration from artists he loves, such as Tyler, the Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger.

He says, “I want people to listen to the songs, come to live shows and be part of the moment — the experience and the fucking energy of our shows. I just want people to go crazy with our music. And that’s what happens – kids go crazy in the mosh pit.”

“Another Animal”

Sipping a cup of tea, the singer and father-of-two says, “Being a frontman, however, is a completely different thing.

“I’ve always been good at the fact that when the suitcase ends up at home, I leave this guy on tour and he doesn’t come home, but it’s also about taking care of yourself before the concert.

“You have to prepare for the performance, be on top and watch your throat. It’s almost athlete level and I accept that.”

Kasabian returned to live performance in October 2021 with a UK tour including two nights at London’s Brixton Academy. They also headlined the Isle Of Wight festival and supported Liam Gallagher at Knebworth in June and the reviews were some of their best.

“Those concerts at Knebworth were just incredible. I love Liam and thank him for his trust and support in our performances.”

With new guitarist Tim Carter and The Music’s Rob Harvey joined by The Music’s Rob Harvey as a multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist, Pizzorno says: “Our gigs are full of new energy.

“In addition, a new generation of people is coming to us for the first time. This, combined with the fact that it has been locked up for two years, means there is a need for live music.

“We have always been about the new. We never had nostalgia. We’ve never made an album that sounds like the last. That’s why this new chapter works so well.”

I didn’t want to be a singer. This is not my calling. But by necessity I now

Serge Pizzorno, Kasabian

Pizzorno released The SLP solo album in 2019, which also inspired a new record, but now he says, “I’m totally focused on Kasabian.”

He says: “I had the idea for The Alchemist because I love the idea of ​​a guy in the studio bringing different genres together to create something new. Euphoria is part of creating something special when you fucking get that incredible feeling.”

The Alchemist’s Euphoria, produced by Pizzorno and Fraser T. Smith, combines the musician’s love of hip-hop, dance beats and a huge number of Italian movie soundtracks.

“This is a new chapter, but it comes from the same place as all the other albums. I see it as the next step,” says Pizzorno.

The album boasts some of the band’s best songs of their entire career. Chemicals and Scriptvre are already playing live, and the new single “The Wall” beat the Lionesses to victory in the Euro final on Sunday.

Rocket Fuel is fueled by critics’ comments about the band, and TUE (The Ultraview Effect) is dreamy psychedelic escapism.

“Grief Takes Time”

Pizzorno says: “In terms of the idea and vision of the record, the Ultraview effect is central. This song is basically three songs – almost a folksy intro, then it goes into electronica and then into Italian cinema. It’s fascinating.

“The idea behind the whole album was to get as much information as possible in a very short amount of time. Attention covers what they are – my bad.

“This album will always be an interesting record. Even if you come back to it in a few years.”

Stargazr is another standout psychedelic club anthem that, according to Pizzorno, “will appeal to different generations and be associated with different causes. To some it will be reminiscent of The Hacienda, while to others it will sound like Boards Of Canada and early 2000s Warp music. Others will refer to it because of The Chemical Brothers, and now it’s like Bicep. It just depends on where you are.”

He adds that closer to the album, Letting Go is: “The perfect mood for everything. Just let it all go, man. Don’t hold on to things and don’t go over things over and over again. We are reborn every minute of the day, and when you think about it, writing this record was like therapy.

“In the end, Tom made his decision. And then we had to make a decision. And it’s kind of simple. We had to move on and it took time, but grief takes time, doesn’t it?”

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Pizzorno says that now Kasabian are just looking to the future and have already started working on an arena tour in October.

“It was tough, but we are back and at our best. This music is my expression. That’s how I feel.”

  • The Alchemist’s Euphoria releases August 12th.
Produced by Pizzorno and Fraser T. Smith, The Alchemist's Euphoria is an album that combines his love of hip hop, dance beats, and a huge amount of Italian movie soundtracks.

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Produced by Pizzorno and Fraser T. Smith, The Alchemist’s Euphoria is an album that combines his love of hip hop, dance beats, and a huge amount of Italian movie soundtracks.Credit: PA: Press Association.
Pizzorno admits that he thought about a new frontman, but they keep coming back to the fact that these are HIS songs.

6

Pizzorno admits that he thought about a new frontman, but they keep coming back to the fact that these are HIS songs.Credit: NEIL BEDFORD

KASABIAN

Euphoria of the Alchemist

★★★★★

The Alchemist's Euphoria releases August 12th.

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The Alchemist’s Euphoria releases August 12th.

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