So, anybody that even vaguely knows me probably knew this one was coming.
I’ve pretty much been trying and failing to get a bromance on the go with this guy since their debut came out in 2004 (really doesn’t feel like it was almost 8 years ago). Not only do I love Kasabian, I can now just about claim that Serge is a bit of a modern day Superman, with this imperious goal leading to a spike in donations at last weekend’s Soccer Aid – a.k.a helping UNICEF save lives.
Just to warn people in advance, objectivity may not be the watchword of this blog.
It’s hard to remember what I listened to before Kasabian. I’d probably flirted with The Verve, given lip service to bands like The Libertines but never really pinned my colours to the mast. Then I heard this :
It felt like something had exploded in my brain and sparked a fire in my belly for music as a whole. I was sold. I bought their debut album the day it came out and absolutely devoured it. There was a joyous time when I reckon I could have sung its entire 53 minutes and I probably still could if somebody had a gun to my head.
Sure, Serge was only co-writer on this album with soon-to-depart Chris Karloff but he brought an unmistakable cool to the proceedings. Without trying to sound too much like a One Direction fan he helped make it alright for boys to get their swagger back after the wilderness years of Keane and Coldplay.
I mean, the 70s were a long time ago and not many people have been able to rock the faux-cowboy hat and burgundy jacket in the intervening years.
Sure, he and they have been derided as ‘lad rock’ and unattractively compared to Oasis, as if playing guitars and tearing it up on tour are now taboo things. Nowadays there is a snobbery against direct music, music that gets people dancing that is embarassing in the extreme.
Serge not only answered these critics but categorically knocked them out of the parkwith the band’s third album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Critically lauded over (even though an undue amount of column inches were devoted to deciphering it’s title) and Mercury-nominated, it contained some of this century’s finest rock songs.
His ever incendiary guitar playing and transcendent vocal turns have come increasingly to the fore. However it is not on a sterile record but in the mayhem of an arena that the band especially connect and spark into life. Coupled with Jay Mehler, Serge’s live guitar playing comes across as the rabid cousin of Jimmy Page. Kasabian are the type of band whose shows could cause earthquakes on the other side of the world such is their ferocity and sonic spirituality.
His music isn’t simply about turning it up to 11 though – case and point is demonstrated in this touching little rendition here :
There’s so many reasons why I’ve got love for Serge that I haven’t got time to go into them here : he loves snooker, he used to wear Leicester City socks underneath his Nottingham Forest ones when he was signed to their youth team – even just the fact that he supports Leicester City. Any man that’s willing to wear this top in front of an over-excited, largely Springsteen-esque, crowd at Glastonbury has got my respect.
Shit, he pretty much even made it cool for men to wear bandanas again. I’ve also essentially been sporting a worse version of that beard for around 4 years now.
People say that first love is the strongest and musically that is definitely the case. Serge and his band are one of the main reasons why I while away my time writing about music, go to every two-bit gig I can and dream of standing on a stage one day, hands aloft having just smashed it. Their music puts a very special kind of euphoric swagger in your step. His partnership with Tom is our modern equivalent of Jagger and Richards or Daltrey and Townsend. And I wouldn’t swap him for any of them.
As a final aside, he also managed to do this in a pair of Chelsea boots after being up all night partying. Hero.