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October 2011

ONE of their roadies is looking worse for wear and it’s noted by Serge Pizzorno when he walks in the room. He delivers a rally of expletives to describe his appearance to me. To paraphrase, he had a skin-full last night.
That’s not the case for Serge, now a father of a one-year-old boy. He’s toned down his rock’n’roll hedonism.
Or not.
“There are no rules on tour,” says the Kasabian guitarist and songwriter.
“At home I’m a pillar of society. I look after that little lad as well as I can.”
It’s been the case since Ennio, named after composer Ennio Morricone, was born last summer.
“When you’re getting up to do the milk in the morning, you don’t want to be out of your mind, do you? I’m not going to be doing that around a little boy. There’s more at stake than music.”
Then adds: “But when I’m on tour... and we’re on tour now so...”
And the missus accepts that?
“Absolutely! Well we’ve been together all these years...”
He and Amy were childhood sweethearts.
“We used to go down the park on our BMXs, yeah,” laughs the 30-year-old.
Has fatherhood changed him?
“Yeah massively I think,” he admits, although he struggles to explain how exactly.
There are grunts and pauses and the occasional “erm” before he settles on: “All the things people tell you about being a dad, you’ve no idea what they’re talking about until it happens.”
All of Kasabian are fathers. The band have been together for 14 years and despite four No. 1 albums and sell-out tours, they remain in Leicester.
“We didn’t escape down the M1 like most bands,” he says.
So who has the biggest house? You’re the songwriter so will have the most money – it must be you?
“Yeah, I suppose,” laughs Pizzorno, who, it turns out, lives in a farmhouse.
Unlike during the last few years of Oasis, there has been no sign of the rest of the band wanting to contribute to the songwriting process.
“That’s how it’s been from the start,” he insists. “And it’s worked.”
Indeed it has. Their album and ticket sales qualify Kasabian as one of Britain’s biggest bands, picking up the gong for Best British Band at last year’s Brit Awards.
The current tour, which comes to the Capital FM Arena for two shows in December, follows the success of their fourth album, Velociraptor!
“Velociraptors used to hunt in packs of four,” he says of the title.
“They stuck together, they were the rock’n’roll band of the dinosaurs. There is something about the power of four – if you stick together, it’s unity.”
The idea must have come to him a while ago as the four-piece became five when Jay Mehler, the band’s former touring guitarist, became a full-time member late last year.
When their self-titled debut was released in 2004, many accused them of making thuggish music for loutish fans.
“It was annoying,” admits Pizzorno, whose influences have always been more avant-garde.
“Even when we were talking about Tangerine Dream and Silver Apples, people kept banging on about how we were inspired by Happy Mondays. We love Happy Mondays, but it’s easier for people to put you in the box they want, than for them to listen to what you’re actually saying.”
He adds: “Anyone who has ever written us off, even with the first record, looks a bit silly now.”
That said, it was only after the release of their second album, Empire, in 2006, that the band started to take things seriously and ease off on the drugs and alcohol.
“With the first two albums, it was the most exciting time,” he says.
“We didn’t know what was going on. We were just young and crazy. It was when we were starting (third album) West Ryder, that we thought about it seriously. What we were doing was amazing and I didn’t want to mess it all up. I wanted to get to work.
He adds: “As for the drugs thing, well that got taken out of context.”
He wrote the latest album in between paternal duties at home.
“I was writing when I was doing night feeds,” he explains. “I thought I’d just be writing lullabies or maybe be too tired to write at all but it focused me. I didn’t have a lot of time to myself so I’d think ‘I’ve got three hours, let’s get back in the cupboard and knock some tunes out’.”
The cupboard, as he calls it, is his home studio where Velociraptor! was recorded.
“It’s just a bedroom with a load of synths and beat-up amps. I kind of like it that way, so I feel like I’m not at work. I’ve always been like that.”
Not always but since he was turned on to the idea of becoming a rock’n’roll star in his teens – just after he’d quit football.
Between 11 and 13 he was a Forest Junior, alongside Jermaine Jenas and Andy Reid.
“I always dreamt of playing for Leicester but it never happened,” he recalls.
“I had a trial at Forest and did pretty well so I got signed up. Frank Clark was the manager at the time.”
And he’s back again as chairman.
“Is he? He’s a nice chap.”
Although Pizzorno never met him, he later admits. And he just missed Brian Clough.
“Clough had just left but there were some amazing stories still lingering on about how he used to run the team. He was such a legend of a bloke, man.”
The stories that Pizzorno used to play with his Leicester City socks under his Forest kit? They’re true.
“I had to. You know what it’s like. And no one ever noticed.”
But he fell out of love with the game while at Forest.
“I remember in one of the games toe-poking a goal and I got a right (telling off). As far as I was concerned a goal’s a goal. As soon as the manager said ‘don’t do that’ I thought ‘this is not for me – how are you ever going to breed creative players?’ They just wanted tanks who’d run through brick walls.”
The incident signaled the end of his football dream.
“That was it for me,” he says.
“One day I just stopped. I thought ‘I can’t handle that.’ One morning I decided I wasn’t going training. I just played with my mates after that. I had some good times there, though.”
He adds: “So it was a case of ‘OK, I can’t be a footballer, all right I’ll be a rock’n’roll star.’ The fear of having to get a proper job drove me.
“I remember getting a guitar and I felt like this was what I wanted to do. It changed my life.”

Kasabian play the Capital FM Arena on December 2 and 3, supported by Miles Kane. Tickets are £30 from the venue. Call 08444 124624 or go to

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