Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs

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Kaiser Chiefs were a British rock band whose career was nearly derailed before it began, but perseverance and cleverness put them in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the early 2000s post-punk revival, when record labels were looking to sign up any gaggle of floppy-haired lads with skinny ties. The Chiefs certainly fit that bill, combining raucous party anthems with biting political commentary, enough to make NME and the like drool. However, they turned out to be far from a flash in the pan compared to almost all of their scene contemporaries. Before there was Kaiser Chiefs, there was Parva. Parva was formed in 2000 in the British town of Leeds by childhood friends Nick Hodgson, Nick Baines, and Simon Rix. While the latter two left Leeds to attend university, Hodgson remained in the area, where he met Andrew White and Ricky Wilson. Once Baines and Rix returned to Leeds, the five lads got together and decided to start a band, naming themselves Parva after the East Yorkshire hamlet Ruston Parva. Before long, the band had landed a record deal with Mantra Recordings, a subsidiary of Beggars Banquet. Their debut album, 22 (2003) was released in 2003, but it was not long before disaster struck. Mere months after the release Mantra Recordings was shut down by Beggars Banquet, and Parva were dropped. As a "dropped band," they soon found that they were damaged goods in the eyes of the industry. So, they decided to look for a more secure record deal, and to change their name. They eventually settled on Kaiser Chiefs, a play on the South African football club Kaizer Chiefs, the first club of legendary Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe. A raucous live gig soon landed them a manager, James Sandom, who got them a deal with B-Unique Records. Kaiser Chiefs were soon playing Russian festivals and opening the NME Awards Tour in early 2005. That spring, their debut album, Employment (2005), was released to rapturous acclaim from the British music press. Timing was on Kaiser Chiefs' side, as it turned out: not only was the press eating up any band that aped the new wave and post-punk sounds of the late 70s and early 80s, over in America, there was a second British Invasion of sorts going on, thanks to acts like Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, and Arctic Monkeys. Employment sold five million copies and was nominated for the Polaris Prize. Following a blistering worldwide tour, the Chiefs spent the fall of 2006 recording their sophomore effort. Released in February of 2007, Yours Truly, Angry Mob (2007), found them exploring a harder, more classic rock-indebted sound. Despite this stylistic left turn, the album debuted at number one on the UK albums chart and made it into the Billboard 200. Kaiser Chiefs closed out 2007 by playing two sold out shows at Earl's Court in London, to sold out crowds of 30,000 each night. October 2008 saw the release of their third album, Off with Their Heads (2008), while 2009 was spent touring all across Europe and back again. Due to exhaustion, the band spent late 2009 through early 2011 on hiatus. For their fourth album, Kaiser Chiefs assembled a murderer's row of big name producers, including Tony Visconti, Ethan Johns, and Owen Morris to man the boards. June 2011 saw the European release of that album, The Future is Medieval (2011), but it would be another year before it was released in the United States, and by then it would be given a different title, Start the Revolution Without Me (2012), and an entirely different track list. 2012 was spent touring all across the UK and North America and ended with some sad news: Hodgson announced he was leaving the band on December 4, 2012, via his Twitter. His replacement, Vijay Mistry, was announced on February 7, 2013, and the new lineup made its debut opening for Green Day at the Emirates Stadium, before embarking on a UK tour that lasted the rest of the year. For their fifth album, Education, Education, Education & War (2014), Kaiser Chiefs set up camp in Atlanta, GA with producer Ben H. Allen III (best known for his work with Animal Collective and Deerhunter). Ironic, considering that the album was a dark condemnation of British politics under David Cameron and the Conservative party. The next two years were spent touring Europe and the Americas, and opening for Foo Fighters in South Africa, South America, and Ireland. Following the heavy subject matter of their previous record, the Chiefs' sixth album, Stay Together (2016) was a synth-heavy pop album full of tributes to love and relationships. Following a European tour in 2017, which proved to be very inspiring for Wilson, lyrically, the band reunited with Ben H. Allen III, and signed a new deal with Polydor Records. Kaiser Chiefs' seventh album, Duck, was released on July 26, 2019.

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No Score Yet 100% The Graham Norton Show Music Performer 2014