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Chiefs Like Us
They're one of the biggest names in indie-dom but, with album number three about to be unleashed, Kaiser Chiefs can still go out on the town without being pestered by paparazzi.
Paul Nolan, 23 Oct 2008
This month sees the release of Off With Their Heads, the third album from Leeds indie-pop quintet Kaiser Chiefs. The record was produced by Mark Ronson, whose makeover of the Chiefs’ ‘Oh My God’ on his album Version (featuring Lily Allen on vocals) proved a huge hit. Although Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson eventually decided to name the album Off With Their Heads after a line in one of the songs, his early attempts at coming up with a good title proved fruitless. Indeed, such was the extent of his frustration, he sought the counsel of a fellow rock star on the issue.
“We went through hundreds of titles,” recalls Wilson, sitting in his room at the Morrison Hotel in Dublin. “We were at a festival, and Jack White came into the room looking for Mark [Ronson]. I said to him, ‘You don’t have any spare album titles, do you?’ And he goes, ‘Oh right… I dunno’. And he left. Then later on, I was stood with him at the side of the stage, watching a band. And I said, ‘Have you done those album titles?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I left them in the dressing-room.’ I thought, that’s a funny response.
“Then I got back to the dressing-room, and there’s a piece of paper folded in two on Nick’s laptop, with three possible album titles. But we didn’t use any of them!”
Funnily enough, Off With Their Heads does sound like a White Stripes album title.
“Yeah, it does,” Ricky laughs. “He has that Anglophile nature. But sometimes, the reason for doing something is that there’s no reason at all. For me personally, if I listen to the record – which I don’t do every day, I’m not obsessed – I don’t know why it fits, but Off With Their Heads has a kind of thread, where I can listen to every song and that title matches up. I see it as funny; in Belgium they see it as aggressive. They were going, ‘Why are you so angry about cutting people’s heads off?’ We were like, ‘We’re not. It’s just funny.’”
As a matter of interest, what were the three titles Jack White suggested? And why was he looking for Mark Ronson?