Kaiser Chiefs' Peanut Wants More Groupies On U.S. Tour

Pogoing U.K. band to play Lollapalooza, promote Employment this summer.

The Kaiser Chiefs — probably the only band in the world to have both a hit single and a dude named Peanut on keyboards — are capitalizing on their recent U.S. success by hitting the road for a string of North American dates.

The tour starts May 24 in Philadelphia and includes a slot on the newly resurrected Lollapalooza in Chicago on July 23 (see "Lollapalooza Scaled Back To Two-Day Chicago Festival").

But while their debut album, Employment, opened strong in the U.S. (#86 on the Billboard albums chart), and the U.K. press has drooled over them for months, the Chiefs are troubled by a lack of groupies.

"Girls come up to us and say, 'We really liked your set,' and then we just go home," said Peanut, a.k.a. Nick Baines. "The tales of excess don't really exist yet."

"Sometimes you might see the odd banner in the crowd that says, like, 'Nice eyes!' " frontman Ricky Wilson added. "And when we get back downstairs after a gig in our dressing room, we'll crack open a bottle of beer and talk about someone in the audience we saw and say, 'Didn't she have nice hair?' "

It's not like the Chiefs aren't trying to wow their fans, female or otherwise. They've already become known for raucous, pogoing live sets, the kind captured in the video for their first U.S. single, "I Predict a Riot"

(see "Kaiser Chiefs 'Predict A Riot,' Music Press Predicts Franz Ferdinand-Like Success"). Now they're aiming all that synth-fueled energy squarely at North American audiences.

"Oh, it's madness. Not Madness the band," Wilson laughed. "It's mental. When you see us live, we're very energetic. We're more energetic than people expect we're going to be. If I'm not aching at the end of the gig, it hasn't been a good one. And if I haven't spent half the time down with the crowd, then it hasn't been a good one, either. I like to go and visit them because they're there to see me, [so] I should go and see them."

The Chiefs are still deciding which track from Employment will be their next U.S. single. In the U.K., the honor went to "Oh My God," and there's a fairly good chance that'll be the case in the States as well. Still, the Chiefs are being extra careful about their selection; the second single could effectively make or break the band here.

The group isn't feeling any such heat in its homeland. The Chiefs sold out their April tour through Great Britain — an impressive 30,000 total tickets.

"So instead of going around the [U.S.], we're going to ship everyone who wants to come to our gigs in the U.K. out to Madison Square Garden," Wilson joked. "We'll ship them all out and play one gig, then take a few days off."

Kaiser Chiefs tour dates, according to their publicist:

  • 5/24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts

  • 5/25 - Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony

  • 5/27 - Montreal, QC @ Club Soda

  • 5/29 - Toronto, ON @ Mod Club

  • 5/31 - Chicago, IL @ Park West

  • 6/1 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue

  • 6/5 - Vancouver, BC @ Richards on Richard

  • 6/11 - Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon

  • 6/12 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
  • 7/20 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club

  • 7/21 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall

  • 7/23 - Chicago, IL @ Grant Park (Lollapalooza)

  • 7/25 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore