Naming a group can often be the most difficult process. Countless bands have split up, even before they really started, because they were unable to settle on a moniker. The original Kaiser Chiefs are a popular South African football (soccer) team. It was the only name suggested that everyone in the Leeds group didn't all hate. As a result Ricky Wilson (lead vocals), Andrew "Whitey" White (guitar), Simon Rix (bass), Nick "Peanut" Baines (keyboards) and Nick Hodgson (drums and vocals) overcame a major obstacle.
The Kaiser Chiefs came into being when school chums and co-members of many a failed group, Rix, Baines and Hodgson, decided to put together a band to earn a spot at the Leeds Festival. Needing a singer they approached Wilson who was doing time in a Rolling Stones tribute band. Despite such a questionable occupation with an unsteady future Wilson turned them down. Any band that gets turned down in favor of a tribute act is in serious trouble. Fortunately, after being approached a second time, Wilson relented. Adding White, the group nailed the Leeds Festival gig. And that turned out to be just the beginning.
The Kaiser Chiefs' agreeable, fun loving Rock first appeared on a self-financed single, "Oh My God," that took Britain by storm managing to shoot to the hallowed #66 spot on the charts. Aw well, it was an indie so how well could it do? Their next effort, "I Predict A Riot," showed up on the B-Unique label and actually, almost but not quite, grazed the UK Top 20. This action got them noticed and a NME tour slot.
On the lookout for new music and a competitive edge in the fierce L.A. market, radio station KROQ began playing the Kaiser Chiefs and before long they were signed by Universal (after a label bidding war for the group's services). The Kaiser Chiefs issued their U.S. full-length debut, "Employment," in '05
Two years later, the group released sophomore effort, "Yours Truly, Angry Mob" which yielded an immediate U.K. #1, "Ruby." The song later cracked the U.S. Modern Rock Top 20 peaking at #19.
A handful of '07 U.S. shows were nixed so the Kaiser Chiefs could focus on writing. "We are just really desperate to write some new stuff," Hodgson told Billboard.com. "We don't know exactly what we're going to put out."
"Never Miss A Beat," the lead single from "Off With Their Heads," was composed during this period. The Kaiser Chiefs' third studio album landed in October, '08.
Following a hiatus, Kaiser Chiefs spent eighteen months at various locations including drummer Nick Hodgson's self-built east-London studio working on their next album. Along the way, the group enlisted top flight producers - Tony Visconti (David Bowie), Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon/Counting Crows) and Owen Morris (Oasis).
With twenty songs in the can, Kaiser Chiefs let fans 'create their own album" by allowing them to select ten of the songs for download at a set price. Eventually, twelve of the twenty songs comprised "The Future Is Medieval," which was reissued the following year in North America with the title "Start the Revolution Without Me."
Kaiser Chiefs issued their first compilation album, "Souvenir: The Singles 2004-2012," which contained a new track, "Listen To Your Head".
Near the end of '12, Hodgson announced via Twitter that he'd left to concentrate on other projects. The band named Vijay Mistry as Hodgson's replacement before embarking on a U.K. tour. As part of that trek, they played a hometown concert at the First Direct Arena, being one of the first artists to perform at the new venue.
Kaiser Cheifs' fifth studio album, "Education, Education, Education & War" was released in '14. Recorded in Atlanta with producer Ben H. Allen III, it was the group's first studio effort with Mistry.
2007 Yours Truly, Angry Mob
2008 Off With Their Heads
2011 The Future Is Medieval
2012 Start The Revolution Without Me
2014 Education, Education, Education & War"
The Kaiser Chiefs offer an irresistible buzz-saw pop. They're not afraid to go over the top, which they do with energy and humor. Another plus is Wilson's cock-sure vocals. He's not afraid to push a song. Probably learned that from singing all those Stones tunes. His lyrics deal, not with big issues, but everyday life. Like a Colin Farrell character (if not Farrell himself), good intentions get turned around in entertaining ways.