Along with the exposure that came with opening for Weezer and the Foo Fighters this fall, the Kaiser Chiefs gained a friend in Dave Grohl, who apparently spent more time in the British rockers' dressing room than his own.
"People say, 'Dave Grohl, really nice guy,' but he genuinely is the nicest guy I've met in a long time," Kaiser frontman Ricky Wilson said via cell phone from somewhere near Champaign, Illinois. "The other night I'd gone to bed, but Nick [Baines, keyboardist] and Simon [Rix, bassist] were going to a pub across the road from the venue and it was after the Foo Fighters had played and you can imagine the pub near the venue is just full of people at the end of show, right? And Dave Grohl goes with them and just walks up and has a drink. And then apparently there were these two acoustic guitar guys and Dave did 'Everlong' with one of the guys, and it's like the best moment of the guy's life. And then Nick, Simon and Dave played 'I Predict a Riot' in this bar. Yeah, that was the wrong night to take an early night."
Maybe so, but cut Wilson a little slack. Along with touring, he's been working overtime, writing new Kaiser Chiefs songs, overseeing a DVD and conceptualizing the band's new video, for the third and final Employment single, "Modern Way."
"[The video is] about this guy that I saw in Covent Garden in London and he just did this trick with a tennis ball and all it is is like balancing on his head," Wilson explained. "And I thought, wouldn't it be great if he keeps doing it and he keeps getting better at it until he's the best he can possibly be? And then he gets noticed and goes from the streets to playing at a cabaret club and then he gets on TV and then he gets his own show on TV and then at the end we're playing on his show."
After pitching his idea to director Scott Lyon (Franz Ferdinand), Wilson tracked down the real tennis-ball balancer to play himself. "And the irony is it might end up that people start going down to his place to see him 'cause he's in the video and he might become famous," Wilson said. "You never know."
The fictional story of the video is actually meant to mirror the Kaiser Chiefs' own history, which inspired "Modern Way."
"It's about struggling, when you know you're doing what you need to be doing and the fact that people are just ignoring you, and the only thing you can do is just keep going and not worry about record companies," Wilson explained. "The way we did it we just built up a big fanbase in the U.K. doing gigs and eventually the record companies, who all turned us down, had to notice. And now there's a lot of regret going around England, as far as I know, for passing on the Kaiser Chiefs, which makes me quite happy.
"We like writing songs that feel some kind of anger," he continued. "A lot of people write about their girlfriends or people that want to be their girlfriends and stuff like that, but I find it all a bit mushy. You've gotta throw in a little song on the album just to keep your girlfriend happy, but apart from that ..."
Along with being released to video outlets, the "Modern Way" clip will appear on the Kaiser Chiefs' DVD, "Enjoyment," due at the end of November.
"It's basically just a load of weirdness, really," Wilson said. "People bring out live DVDs and it's a bit boring no matter how exciting the band is, so we wanted to show some live stuff, 'cause we're a good live band, and the rest of it's made up of like silly homemade movies."
British comedian Bill Nighy ("Love Actually") narrates the DVD, but the Kaiser Chiefs are the true stars. "We're all quite funny people," Wilson said. "It's the only way you can carry on in this business, 'cause it is the most ridiculous thing in the world."
The band also recently recorded four new tracks, which will be released as B-sides on the U.K. single for "Modern Way," and is preparing for a January return to the studio for album number two.
So will new friend Dave Grohl be a guest drummer?
"That might upset Nick too much, but I wouldn't mind if he sang," Wilson said.