Kaiser Chiefs are teetering rakishly on the brink of worldwide superstardom. Theyâ€™ve just played a handful of riotous and rapturously received gigs in America and are heading back over the Atlantic next month. Their second single â€˜Oh My Godâ€™ has been added to the radio one play-list and is released on the 21st February to be followed by the eagerly anticipated Stephen Street produced debut album, presently titled 'Employmeny', in March. They are currently touring with the likes of The Killers and Bloc Party; tickets for which are about as rare as an Asian Babes porn mag in a monastery and - Iâ€™d imagine â€“ as hotly contested over. Add to this the fact that theyâ€™ve just had to upgrade venues for their our headline tour in April due to overwhelming ticket sales â€“ and it looks like 2005 is going to be the porcelain dogs-bollocks for the boys from Leeds. And whatâ€™s more â€“ they deserve it. Gigwise caught up with the delectable Whitey to talk about cheese sandwiches, white sports socks and ripping off E.L.O.
Gigwise: Youâ€™ve had a rammed schedule recently, what with completing your forthcoming album, playing dates in America and the current NME tour... when the hell do you ever get any time off, and what do you do to relax?
Whitey: Well at the moment itâ€™s 3 gigs on and then a day off and if weâ€™re in the area [near Leeds] we just go homeâ€¦ put the slippers on, put the TV onâ€¦ yeah, itâ€™s not very rock â€˜nâ€™ roll!
G: You did a special Tsunami gig in Leeds recently, how did that go?
W: Yeah it was brilliant, absolutely packed which was brilliant. We hadnâ€™t had a chance to play a hometown gig for a while so it was great. People were queuing from 2 o clock and they had to turn loads of people away which was really bad. Everyone paid, we had a big guest-list but everyone paid â€“ even we paid!!
G: How did you enjoy America; what were the audiences like?
W: It was my first ever time in America and itâ€™s amazing, brilliant. When we got to Los Angeles it was the worst weather theyâ€™d had in recorded history which was mad and itâ€™s absolutely massive â€“ you have to get a taxi everywhere!
G: Youâ€™ve got a hefty backlog of gigs under your belt now â€“ which has been your personal favourite?
W: Ohh thatâ€™s a difficult oneâ€¦ no actually itâ€™s got to be supporting Franz Ferdinand at Brixton Academy.
G: Youâ€™ve toured with some pretty amazing bands, The Ordinary Boys, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, right now with The Killers, Bloc Party and the Futureheads â€“ who would you say has been your favourite?
W: Well everyoneâ€™s been really nice. Franz Ferdinand are such nice guys, theyâ€™ve really helped us out loads.
G: Is there no-one youâ€™ve just thought are a bunch of twats?
W: Um I actually think that weâ€™ve just been really lucky to be honest. The Ordinary Boys are just really nice guys, we talk to them all the time. Futureheads, again, really nice guys, Bloc Party â€“ really nice guys, oh and The Killers [you guessed it] really nice guysâ€¦. In fact weâ€™ve just had dinner and everyone was sitting on one table and I was on my own on another table and Brandon â€“ is that his name? The lead singer? â€¦came and sat next to me!! Iâ€™ve got a picture of it, do you want to see?!
At this point Whitey brandishes his brand new camera and proudly zooms in on what looks like two school boys eating Spotted Dick in a canteen
â€œLook everyone else is over thereâ€ he points out â€œand look â€“ thatâ€™s me and him!â€
G: What do you think of the music coming out of Leeds at the moment? You seem to be getting the most attention out of your fellow Yorkshire men, The Glitterati, The Cribs, The Blueskins for example?
W: Well â€¦ weâ€™ve only had one single out ...
G: Yeah, but youâ€™re blatantly well on the way to being massiveâ€¦?
W: I hope so yeah, it would be nice if we were. The Cribs are a really underrated band, a fantastic band but theyâ€™re on a small independent label and theyâ€™ve got no money to go touring and make a decent record. But the songs are just amazing, and in fact â€“ theyâ€™re coming on tour with us in Aprilâ€¦which is nearly sold out and we havenâ€™t even advertised it yetâ€¦ and theyâ€™ve only been on sale for two days.
G: Does that mean youâ€™re getting quite big-headed?
W: Actually, I think I am! Iâ€™m not a big-headed person and I usually would always say no, I donâ€™t get big-headed â€¦ but I think I am getting a little bit!
G: Why what have you been up to?!
W: Well Iâ€™m a vegetarian and when we were staying in a hotel in New York recently called the Tribeca Grand I ordered a cheese sandwich. Only I didnâ€™t get a cheese sandwich, the waitress bought back this weird cheese and dill thing which seriously was THIS (he indicates about a footâ€™s distance between his two hands) BIG! So I sent it back and told them I want BREAD, I want CHEESE and I want more BREAD, and they came back with something really crap. I think thatâ€™s the most rock and roll thing Iâ€™ve ever doneâ€¦
G: You must be really excited about the release of 'Employment' â€“ how do you intend to celebrate?
W: Well I guess weâ€™ll have to do some sort of boring launch thing in London but what would be really great is a big party back in Leeds!
G: You seem to have ripped off some E.L.O. album artwork on your â€˜I Predict A Riotâ€™ single, was this intentional?
W: I know! I just noticed that the other day when I was looking in the HMV sale! Maybe we have the same designer for our records as they did? Maybe he just designs the same cover every twenty years in the hope that no-one will remember the last one?
G: Wouldnâ€™t that make him about eighty?
W: Oh yeahâ€¦
G: And now to the real nitty-gritty; what your fans are really dieing to knowâ€¦if you were a fruit what would it be and why?
W: Without doubt â€“ a banana. Theyâ€™re just gorgeous and ripe and Iâ€™m a bit green really.
G: Nice answer. What are your favourite coloured socks?
W: Dark blue [he rolls up his trousers and wobbles on one leg to demonstrate] but I also like those fluffy white sports socks for when Iâ€™m feeling a bit wacky.
G: What is your favourite word in the English language?
W: Oh I donâ€™t knowâ€¦whatâ€™s yours?
G: I have two: plonker and plum.
W: Oh then I think mine would have to be â€˜bonkers,â€™ itâ€™s a great wordâ€¦or is it too similar to plonker?
G: No thatâ€™s okay â€“ you can have it. Finallyâ€¦ is there anything youâ€™d like to add?
W: Um, well Iâ€™d like to sayâ€¦if thereâ€™s anyone out there whoâ€™s worrying about us, then donâ€™t â€“ because weâ€™re all fine. And I know it sounds a bit shit, but thank you so much to everyone who is supporting us, we really do appreciate it.