Kaiser Chiefs Ricky Wilson interview – That Boris Johnson slur and never being a Nepo bab | Music | Entertainment | EUROtoday

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Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson

Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson interview (Image: DX )

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When rock star Ricky Wilson needs to flee the pressures of fame, he heads as much as the attic of his north London house. “It’s like a museum up there, full of old Kaiser Chiefs stuff and boxes of awards,” he tells me. “I’ve even still got the shirt I wore from my first gig at school band night, when I was 17.

“When my wife Grace goes up, she says ‘Do you really need to keep all this crap?’ But I know where everything is, it’s like Sherlock Holmes’s mind palace up there.”

Ricky, 46, has had a profession price archiving. As nicely as notching up indie rock bangers like I Predict A Riot and the chart-topping Ruby, the Yorkshire-born singer was a decide for 3 sequence on Saturday night time tv expertise present The Voice UK.

He first appeared on our screens lengthy earlier than the Kaiser Chiefs – within the viewers of The Mrs Merton Show in 1995. When visitor Barbara Windsor mentioned she favored her males younger, schoolboy Ricky piped up, “How young would you go?”

His blue eyes retain a cheeky twinkle to at the present time. Even after the Kaiser Chiefs’ 9 hit singles and 7 Top Ten albums, there may be not a touch of jaded cynicism about him. Yet this respectable, grounded chap has suffered digs about his weight, appears to be like and motivation for years.

The Kaiser Chiefs in 2023

The Kaiser Chiefs in 2023 (Image: GETTY)

Even former Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid into him, branding Ricky “an epic softie” and the band “the weeds from Leeds” in a 2006 article triggered by their second hit, I Predict A Riot.

“He said when he was a student, he didn’t predict riots, he started them,” says a bemused Wilson who nonetheless has ‘Epic Softie’ on his Twitter account.

The put-down that hit hardest, nevertheless, got here from his previous English trainer at Leeds Grammar School. “He said to me, ‘Mr Wilson, enough of the cabaret’. It’s quite cutting and it shut me up. I’ve used it myself more than I should’ve done.”

Cabaret isn’t in Ricky’s blood, however tv is. His father Geoff was a producer on hit Sixties sequence Jeux Sans Frontières, which pitched groups from European nations towards one another.

“It was quite fun growing up travelling around Europe, watching the Belgians take on Luxembourg. I’m not by any means a nepo-baby, but seeing the contests put smiles on people’s faces must’ve had a massive impact. It was like a travelling circus, making people happy – basically what I do now.

“My mum Glynne was a score girl – you can see her on old clips of the spin-off show It’s A Knockout! Eddie Waring was my father’s godfather.”

Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson in 2005

Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson in 2005 (Image: GETTY)

Kaiser Chiefs at the 2005 NME Awards

Kaiser Chiefs on the 2005 NME Awards (Image: GETTY)

Wilson’s first gigging band had been the grungy Parva, fashioned in Leeds in 2000 from the ashes of Runston [CORR] Parva. They turned the Kaiser Chiefs in 2003, taking their title from the south African soccer workforce Kaizer [CORR] Chiefs (the title of ex-Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe’s first membership).

He by no means anticipated to have a profession in music. “I thought I’d work in animation or advertising,” says Ricky, who has an MA in graphic design and taught at Leeds College of Art & Design for a 12 months – “I was terrible at it.”

The Kaiser Chiefs launched their debut single Oh My God in 2004. It went Top Ten on re-release, chased by I Predict A Riot – “that bought me my first house” – and their multi-platinum 2005 debut album Employment. More hits adopted, together with Every Day I Love You Less & Less and Never Miss A Beat.

Ricky recollects headlining the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena in 2007 – “It was the first night of two, and when I came off stage, I thought it doesn’t get any better than that. It felt like that was proper Kaiser Chiefs. I don’t remember the worst gig, I was probably drunk.”

His ‘pinch me’ second got here throughout the soundcheck for Jools Holland’s 2008 Hootenanny present. “I remember standing in the door of the Tardis watching Paul McCartney play Get Back and thinking ‘I wish I had a photograph of this…’

“I’m not good at living in the moment. Even in the band. I don’t get too concerned with the moment. It’s a job, a fun job, I don’t get carried away. It only sinks it later. Parva was our training ground. I realised that the best thing to do to get better is to watch other bands, see what you don’t like, and do the opposite of that.”

Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson and his wife Grace Zito

Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson and his spouse Grace Zito (Image: GETTY )

Ricky was a coach on The Voice UK from 2013 to 2016: “I stopped at the right time. Any more than three series and people would’ve got annoyed with me. I decided to leave, but I expected to be asked back… I never was…”

Then a BBC sequence, the present modified his life in an sudden means. It’s the place he met stylist Grace Zito in 2015. They had been engaged three years later, married in June 2021 and are the dad and mom of dual ladies.

Ricky, who’s busy selling the Kaiser Chiefs’ new album, The Easy Eighth, has additionally hosted Virgin Radio UK’s drivetime present for practically fourteen months, carried out as Phoenix on The Masked Singer and not too long ago appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show because the “unexpected star of the show”.

Is there something he can’t do? “I’ve written children’s books but they’ve not been published – I don’t think they’re good enough,” he admits. “Grace thinks they’re the best thing I’ve ever done. So it’s a hobby instead. We’ve got the twins now, so I’ve got an audience of two; that’s good enough for me.”

Ricky thinks Grace would say his ambition is his very best quality. “She admires that I can make dreams happen, either through dogged determination, luck or skill. She also complains that I don’t cut my fingernails enough which I think is a plus.”

He relaxes taking part in one among his eight ukuleles – “You can’t be unhappy when you’re holding a ukulele” – and Grace launched him to the fun of Minorca, the place they now personal a sea-front condominium.

The Voice judges will.i.am, Paloma Faith, Boy George, and Ricky Wilson in 2016

The Voice judges will.i.am, Paloma Faith, Boy George, and Ricky Wilson in 2016 (Image: GETTY)

The band’s uncommon profession has ranged from touring with the Foo Fighters to befriending Girls Aloud, who lined I Predict A Riot of their dwell reveals, altering the lyric ‘Borrow a pound for a condom’ to the extra family-friendly ‘Borrow a pound for the bus home.’

When their chief songwriter, drummer Nick Hodgson, left in 2012 the hit singles dried up, however the Top Ten albums stored coming: “We’re very lucky to have released eight albums; very few bands from when we started have got that far.”

Of their new songs, Ricky charges The Lads – “you’d be happy with it being the last song you ever made”. And Beautiful Girl, “We don’t often do love songs but when we do, we do them well.”

The Job Centre Shuffle is “What you’d think we’d sound like after 20 years,” he says. Feeling Alright, their poppy collaboration with Chic’s Nile Rodgers is extra of a departure: “It was plenty of enjoyable working with Nile – I don’t suppose I’ll admire how a lot of an essential second that was for years.

“The problem with being in a band is you set your hopes quite high and no matter what happens, you’re never quite satisfied. If you’re Number One for 12 weeks, you’re disappointed that you didn’t make 13 weeks.

“We decided the eighth album would be the easiest, and it was a piece of cake. I don’t know what comes next. After having kids your priorities shift a little bit. But I know I’ll still get up in the night to record a line or a melody I just thought of.

“I don’t think that will stop. It keeps happening and it’s a beautiful thing. As my mortgage advisor Brian says, the sooner you stop worrying about things you can’t change, the better life gets.”

Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album is out now.