Velociraptor! British rockers Kasabian hunt in a pack
British rock sensation Kasabian release their fourth album on Monday titled "Velociraptor!" in a nod to the most "glam-rock" of the dinosaurs, the band told AFP in an interview.
"We just loved the word, that was the initial attraction," said Serge Pizzorno, the guitarist and lead songwriter whose four-man outfit has been hailed by the music press as true heirs to Britpop legends Oasis.
"Then we found out that they were hunting in packs of four, they were like a band and that's how they survived, they stuck together."
"And we found out they had feathers, they were obviously like a glam-rock band with feather boas, so it was perfect," he said with delight.
Fronted by vocalist Tom Meighan, the four childhood friends from Leicester in central England set up Kasabian in 1997, its name a reference to a member of Charles Manson's murderous gang, releasing a first studio album in 2004.
A string of hits later they have secured a spot as rock heavyweights, with a bold, flamboyant style that fuses 1960s pop, psychedelic and electro influences.
Oasis invited them on its last world tour in 2009, and when the band split up, Kasabian -- who has since become firm friends with the Manchester duo -- stepped up to fill a void.
Their psychedelic third album, "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum", sold a million copies worldwide and catapulted Kasabian to a spot supporting the likes of U2 and Muse in stadiums across Europe.
Wild gigs, an even wilder style and a penchant for off-the-cuff remarks in the press have earned Kasabian an image as bad boy rockers, with a taste for the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll lifestyle.
But the soft-spoken Pizzorno insists the quartet has its eye on the bottom line: making good music.
"We don't really go and say to ourselves how are we going to be bigger than Muse?
"That's not to say -- we'd absolutely love to play the Stade de France or Wembley, just because I think those kind of shows have not been done by alternative rock acts for many and many years."
"But what excites me is to take something that is really beautiful and to put it somewhere where you can involve lots of people and then you get that many people into more weird stuff.
"Kids who were probably liking Lady Gaga now like early Pink Floyd, which is amazing."
"Velociraptor!", which is released by Sony, has a more varied, melodious feel than their earlier work.
Pizzorno says "a lot of the songs are about how you almost forget that what makes you the most happy are the most simple things : friendship, love, painting, fishing.
Fishing? "I don't fish but for me it represents a simple pleasure," he said. "Spending an afternoon with the family on a seaboat or the bank of a river."
And whatever wild habits Pizzorno may once have had, he has cleaned up his act since becoming father to a boy last year.
"Before my home was like a circus but now it's a very tranquil place," he said. "I work at home a lot so I don't want to be fucking out of my mind at home. When you have to look after the baby that's not possible."
That said, he insists that "touring is still insane" and that when in Paris the band knock back "absinthe every night" -- in the spirit of the new album on which a track is dedicated to the "The Green Fairy."
© 2011 AFP