Kaiser Chiefs are a guitar rock band from Leeds who originally consisted of frontman Ricky Wilson, drummer Nick Hodgson, guitarist Andrew White, bassist Simon Rix and keyboardist Nick Baines. However, founding member and songwriter Hodgson left the group in 2012 and has since been replaced by Vijay Mistry.
Originally, the band dubbed themselves and released a studio album, ’22’, in 2003. They were later left without a record deal after their label, Mantra, closed down and decided to rebrand themselves as Kaiser Chiefs instead – the name was inspired by the former Leeds United footballer Lucas Radabe and his old team Kaizer Chiefs. They soon signed a new deal with B-Unique Records.
In 2005, Kaiser Chiefs were given the prominent opening slot on the NME Awards Tour – a position which had previously been used by bands such as Coldplay and Franz Ferdinand as a launchpad for success – and released their debut album ‘Employment’ in March of that year. The LP was well-received due to its hit singles ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Oh My God’ and ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’, and was made the favourite to win that year’s Mercury Music Prize but lost out to Antony And The Johnsons. In 2007, NME voted ‘I Predict A Riot’ as the 36th Greatest Indie Anthem of all time.
The band’s second album, ‘Yours Truly, Angry Mob’, became the band’s first UK Number One Album while its lead single, ‘Ruby’, also became their first UK Number One Single. They released a third LP, ‘Off With Their Heads’, in 2009 before taking a two-year hiatus.
In 2011, the band returned with fourth album ‘The Future Is Medieval’: the LP was a create-your-own album in which fans were able to choose 10 out of 20 songs to make their own tracklists. They later released an official version of the album, which featured 12 of the 20 songs; NME said that, regardless of the album’s marketing and gimmickry, it was a reminder of the band’s early appeal and “a solid effort that deserves undistracted attention”.
In 2012, Hodgson announced he was leaving the group to pursue other projects; he later told NME he wanted to focus his attention on producing, writing and working with other bands and that the split with the Kaiser Chiefs had been amicable. In September 2013, meanwhile, Wilson was revealed as a new judge on BBC talent show The Voice, and he claimed that his decision to appear on the programme was influenced by a desire to gain new fans for his band; he told NME that he had agreed to take part as he wanted to “sell more records”.
In 2014, Kaiser Chiefs returned with their first album in three years, ‘Education, Education, Education & War’. The LP went to Number One in the Official UK Albums Chart.