Is it fair to describe you as one of the most arrogant blokes in rock?
Well, I’m one of the few people who’ll give you an honest answer to that question. I just believe in what we do. I mean, we did Letterman the other day, and not only did I do David fucking Letterman, I did it with my best mates. Can you ever imagine what that’s like? It’s the best, man. Why should I be apologetic about it? Fuck that!
Do you get carried away with your own hype, though?
When I do, I just chill out with a bit of gardening. I’ve got a thing for trees at the moment. I’m like Tony Soprano in my vest and dressing gown watering my trees. That calms me the fuck down. But you know what, the reason I’m in a band is because of people like Keith Richards and Liam Gallagher. You’ve got to have a bit of a swagger about you.
Are you pals with Keith and Liam these days?
I’ve met Keith once. He said, “It’s always nice to meet a working musician.” I tell you, that was the greatest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. And we’ve toured the world with Oasis, so…
What’s the wildest night you’ve ever had with the Gallaghers?
For Liam’s birthday we all went out to the desert in Denver. There was all this LSD flying about and I got totally freaked out. The landscape was full of all these weird giant rock formations and I felt like William Shatner when he leaves the Enterprise in Star Trek. The next day I kept getting confused flashbacks of these singing midgets I’d found out in the wilderness. Eventually I told the others about them, and they said they’d met them, too. I’ve seen photos of that night since and you can see them dancing in the background, so they were definitely real.
Er… do they live out there?
No. I think Noel brought them along to sing to Liam.
Is LSD the Kasabian drug of choice, then?
You know me mate, I don’t do drugs. I don’t do any of that rubbish.
But you just said you did!
Yeah. Ha! Well, I don’t have a drug of choice, then. It depends on what time of the week it is. I just go with the flow, whatever’s about at the time.
What about Tom from Keane? When he checked into The Priory you said he’d be “dead” if he went on a bender with Kasabian…
You know what, it doesn’t matter how much he’s done, if he’s got problems, then he needs sorting out. Someone told me that he’s addicted to port. Port and cheese. That’s hilarious. God bless the kid if he’s got problems, but how embarrassing is that – having to check yourself into The Priory due to port and cheese addiction? I hope he gets well soon, man.
Do you ever have to hold yourself back to stop becoming like Pete Doherty?
Well, he’s a strange one. I think he’s very clever, and I hope he works his shit out. But you have to respect your art. If someone’s paid £30 to see our show, I’m not going to fuck that up for them, do drugs, be a wanker and piss all over the stage. All that can be enjoyable, but there’s no point in my life when anything will ever be more important than my band.
Do you all still live on a farm, or have you moved into luxury penthouses?
We’re off the farm, but we all still live in Leicester. That farm was just a fucking dream, mate. Before we moved there, we all had normal jobs, no record contract, nothing. We had just read about these places in the 1960s where people gave up everything to live on a commune and write music. It was pretty ballsy for us to try and do it in this day and age, but we rented a farm and lived like hippy loons for two years. In the countryside nobody gives a shit. I miss it. It’s great being popular and that, but I loved being in that mad little farm band that people in the city didn’t believe really existed.
Was there a moment when you knew it had gone too far and it was time to pack the tractor and leave?
The farmer we were renting the place off had this big old treasure chest in a room there, and one morning we were out of it and decided it was time to break into it. The thing was full of his dead grandma’s clothes. So we put them on and started poncing around the place at three in the afternoon, out of our skulls, wearing a dead 80-year-old’s frocks. We kept partying in that grandma’s clothes for three nights without sleep. The following two days were the worst of my life. I have never felt pain like it and never want to again.
Where’s the worst place you’ve ever woken up after a bender like that?
Kentucky. I thought I was going to get shot. I woke up in this bar, surrounded by these hooded kids, who’d never seen anything like me in their lives. I’m not sure how I got there, but they were some pretty mental kids, and they all had guns. Everything I said to them just seemed to piss them off further. I was like, “You don’t have to kill me. It’ll be easier for you if you don’t.” That made them furious.
Do Columbia Records give you a huge expense account to bail you out of such sticky situations?
Nah, man. We pay for everything ourselves. Every fucking thing. This conversation is probably costing me right now. Record companies just loan you money. If you do well, they give you a bigger loan but you’ve still got to give it back. It’s fucking shit, but fuck it. We only ever buy guitars and clothes, because anything else is going to end up costing us an absolute fortune. Trust me, there’s no Rolls-Royce yet.
So what level of footballer would you say your earnings are on a par with – Premiership, Championship or Beazer Homes League?
We’ve got literally nothing. I haven’t seen a single penny from our first album yet. I really want an E-Type with fuck-off cream and red leather. And an amplifier as big as my house, but it’ll have to wait.
You often pop up on celebrity football matches, don’t you? It doesn’t really fit with the image…
Well, we did the Celebrity World Cup and won that. We were Italy because my old man wouldn’t have it any other way. We beat England in the final live on Sky and it was pretty great. Sky had set the whole thing up for England to win it, and we fucked it up for them live on TV. England had all these semi-professional celebrities, like Lee Sharpe, who technically were footballers. We were meant to lose, but we beat them one-nil. All those twats from Hollyoaks were crying and that.
In a one-on-one situation during a match like that, do you find yourself going in harder on an opponent if he’s on Hollyoaks?
Yeah. We battered them! And we had Joe Calzaghe on our team, so they were proper shit-scared of us. He just nailed every one of them and there was nothing they could do about it, because he’s Joe Calzaghe.
Finally, give us one sentence on the other big British bands of the moment. Arctic Monkeys?
Fucking great, man. And they’re nice lads, too.
Not my thing at all. Fucking TopShop rock ’n’ roll. For girls.
Yeah they’re alright, man. Here, who’s on the cover of FHM this month?
Keeley. No wait, Abbey Clancy, Crouchie’s bird.
Oooh, I like her. And that Keeley. She’s like the new Kelly Brook and that. Send us some issues will you, mate? For the tour bus, like…
Original interview by Lee Coan in the December 2006 issue of FHM UK magazine