Late '60s cult leader, Charlie Manson (head of the murderous Manson Family in L.A. ), originally wanted to be a Rock star. He even submitted a demo tape of his acoustic ramblings to producer Terry Melcher (Byrds, Paul Revere & The Raiders, etc.). Melcher passed and almost got caught in Manson's crosshairs.
Manson never achieved musical fame, though famous he is. Still, he has had a strange influence on Rock. Guns N' Roses covered one of his songs (on "The Spaghetti Incident"), Marilyn Manson took one-half of his/their name from him and the U.K.'s Kasabian lifted their moniker from a Manson family member. Linda Kasabian did not participate in the Manson Family murders but later became a state witness testifying against Manson. Her testimony played a key role in cult leader's eventual conviction.
So why name your group after an obscure participant in a horrible saga? "We didn't think too much about it," said Pizzorno in an interview. "It was an innocent thing that just sounded good. In America we get asked about it a lot." No kidding. Of course, when people get the connection there's a certain shock value. It's edgy and gets attention. And that's what everybody wants.
While Kasabian, the group, harkens back to a bygone era, they don't go all the way to the crazy late '60s. Rather, the group's influences range from Oasis to '80s big beat Dance/Rock, including a heavy dose of Flock Of Seagulls. Music that was fun, propelling and thunderous but with an underlining ethereal atmosphere. There was something to move to and trip out on.
Kasabian formed in Leicester but decided to hole up in a farm house to work up songs. Communal life, bonding and all that stuff. Finding pop and Rock music dull, they borrowed heavily from the Stone Roses, Charlatans U.K. and Primal Scream for an electronically tinged sound. When they emerged, vocalist Meighan led the way capturing the attention of the fickle Brit music press with a swaggering, reckless charm.
When the "Processed Beats" demo became an overnight hit in U.K. clubs, Kasabian caught the attention of RCA and were signed in '02.
But there was more. The band worked up a marketing campaign with logos, fold outs and hand stenciled CD covers. This creativity, along with the music, propelled Kasabian's late '04 debut album into the U.K. Top 5. Their self-titled U.S. debut followed a few months later.
During the recording sophomore album "Empire," Karloff, one of the band's main songwriters, had "artistic and creative differences" resulting in his departure. After serving as a tour guitarist Jay Mehler was made a full-member (replacing Karloff). "Empire" dropped in the late summer of '06.
The next year saw the arrival of the EP "Fast Fuse," containing the title track and "Thick As Thieves." Both songs later appeared on the group's third studio album, "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum." When it was released in the U.K. the '09 set went to #1 where it stayed for two weeks.
A couple months later, Kasabian joined All-American Rejects, Hoobastank and Boys Like Girls for Asia's first MTV World Stage concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Kasabian creates energetic yet tripped out songs (that are often laced with airy backing vocals). Their self-titled debut opens with "Club Foot," an Oasis influenced Rocker. Touches of the past show up in the synth driven "Lost Souls Forever." and "Reason Is Treason" which sound fresh out of the '80s. Don't miss Kasabian's first hit "Processed Beats," with its sparse groove, or "Cutt Off."
Kasabian's "Empire" relies on catchy loping rhythms to get across. It starts strong with the title track ("all wasted away") and "Shoot The Runner." "Last Trip (In Flight)" and "Me Plus One" have an edge to them. From there, "Empire" unravels becoming a keyboard/electronic mish-mash that concludes with a pair of DOA ballads, "British Legion" and "The Doberman."
Take psychedelic/druggy club arrangements; mix with Brit Pop sensibilities; shake well and you have "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. "
"Where Did All The Love Go?" has a hazy pop feel (handclaps and all). That's countered by "Fast Fuse" which takes a riff, close to "Train Kept-A Rollin'," and buries it giving the song a strong undertow. "Secret Alphabets," which leans toward Beck, and the hypnotic "West Ryder Silver Bullet" are tailor-made for the dance floor.