Kaiser Chief’s Ricky Wilson opens up about his role in ‘The War Of The Worlds’

Singer tells NME he's 'quite scared' about playing 'The Artillery Man' in the arena show

Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson has opened up about his role in the new recording and stage adaptation of The War Of The Worlds.

The singer, whose band release a new singles collection titled ‘Souvenir’ on Monday (June 4), will play the part of The Artillery Man in Jeff Wayne’s alien invasion epic. The part was played by David Essex in the original stage adaptation.

Wilson will star alongside former We Will Rock You star Kerry Ellis and a hologram of actor Liam Neeson, who plays The Journalist.


Speaking to NME about how he came to be involved with the production, Wilson said: “Like everything comes about nowadays, it was an email. It came late last year and I was going through a time where I’d decided that I was just going to say yes to more things. The email just said that Jeff Wayne wanted to meet me, so I got picked up in a car and went to his house and when I got there he asked me if I’d play the part of The Artillery Man.”

He went on: “He played me all this footage of Liam Neeson doing his part and I thought to myself ‘I don’t know if I can do this’, but I decided to say yes and came back and recorded it. It sounds really good, I was the first singer to sing on it and since then I’ve heard who the other singers on the record are and they’re all amazing. I can’t tell you who they are though, Jeff Wayne would kill me.”

Wilson also spoke about how daunted he was at the prospect of playing live in the show and how he realised it will be very different from performing with the band.

He said: “I thought I’d just agreed to do the record. But then he [Jeff Wayne] started talking about the arena show and I said ‘Oh that sounds amazing, if there’s one in London and you want me to sing I’ll come and do it’. We carry on chatting and the next thing I know I’ve talked myself into doing the whole thing. I start rehearsals soon and I’m quite scared.”

He continued: “It’s so different to being in the Kaiser Chiefs. I’m used to getting pushed onstage at 9.30, coming off an hour and a half later and forgetting about what’s happened. It’s different every night, whereas this has got to be exactly the same as I’m stood next to a hologram of Liam Neeson. I’m still not sure if I’ll be any good.”

You can watch a video interview with the band from last summer’s V Festival by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking.


The War Of The Worlds tour will visit:

Dublin Arena (November 29)
Liverpool Echo Arena (December 1)
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (2, 3)
Nottingham Capital FM Arena (4)
London Wembley Arena (6)
Birmingham NIA (7)
Manchester Evening News Arena (8)
Sheffield Motorpoint Arena (9)
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena (10)
Glasgow SECC (11)
Bournemouth BIC (13,14)
London O2 Arena (15)
Brighton Centre (16, 17)