Shropshire Star

Kaiser Chiefs bassist Simon Rix on Ludlow Castle show and his struggles with Welsh pronunciations

A castle in Shropshire last year – a tented-style pavilion in Llangollen this summer.


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The hugely successful Indie band, the Kaiser Chiefs has just finished a tour to celebrate its Easy Eighth Album and says performing in more unusual venues bringing new music to fans old and new is keeping its 20-year story fresh and alive.

And, while bass player Simon Rix admits it’s not always easy working with and being on the road for 20 years with your old schoolmates – it does give the band very strong bonds.

In fact, The Lads, the last track on the Album, tells of the bonds that Simon explained, exist whether for bands, football or cricket teams.

He, Nick Baines and former drummer Nick Hodgson met in school in Leeds and the band was cemented with Ricky Wilson and Andrew White as Ruston Parva on Simon's return from uni.

They changed the name to Kaiser Chiefs in 2003, the new name taken from South African football club Kaizer Chiefs, the first club of ex-Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe.

They have remained huge Leeds United fans and Simon has a big following with his BBC Sounds podcast, Don’t Go To Bed Just Yet.

Kaiser Chiefs. Photo: Cal McIntyre

The Kaiser Chiefs line-up changed in 2012 when drummer Hodgson left and Vijay Mistry came on board.

“The drummer and bass player do have a special relationship in any band, and it was hard to see Nick go,” Simon said.

“Thankfully I had played in another band with Vijay so we already knew each other. We complement each other. My love for punk means I am always trying to speed up the others as the numbers play out on stage. But Vijay is really steady and keeps me grounded.”

He said he was looking forward to performing in Llangollen and, with a Welsh girlfriend, spends a lot of time on the mid-Wales coast.

“I did try to learn Welsh as my girlfriend speaks it. But I have real problems with the pronunciation especially the ‘Ll’, tricky when we are coming to Llangollen. It’s a beautiful part of Britain.”

Simon said he and the other Kaiser Chiefs were impressed with Ludlow when they performed inside the castle at the Ludlow festival last year.

“We know Colin Oliver, who is from Ludlow, really well and he invited us to play there," he said.

"I was really impressed with the town, it’s lovely. And we had some really good food too. It was pretty cool playing inside a castle.

“Our tour that has just finished saw us perform in and at some more unusual venues, The Empress Ballroom, Blackpool, Winter Gardens, Eastbourne and even at roller disco.”

The musician said it was great to see a huge age range in the audience.

“There are of course those who have followed us for 20 years," he said.

"But there have been plenty of much younger people and those who come because with are playing in their town.

“I think music streaming has helped us. There are certainly pros and cons to streaming but, for established bands like us, people can find our back catalogue without having to commit themselves by buying vinyl in record shops like I did with The Clash.”

Easy Eighth is an eclectic mix of styles. From the indie pop that the Kaiser Chiefs is best known for to tracks with a more dance or disco vibe, thanks to the band teaming up with Nile Rodgers.

And tracks still contain the edgy writing that marked the band out in the past such as that on Job Centre Shuffle.

“The album came together over quite a few years, some tracks were written during Covid, some even pre-Covid,” Simon said.

“It does show the breadth of music people can expect at a gig, some new and of course our old stuff.”

The Llangollen gig, on June 29 will see the Kaiser Chiefs team up the Australian duo, Royel Otis.

Tickets are on sale online from and Ticketmaster.

A new partnership between the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and Live Nation promoters Cuffe & Taylor has 11 huge headlining shows taking place either side of the traditional Eisteddfod week.

Alongside Kaiser Chiefs, concerts are those by rock icons Simple Minds, British pop giants Madness, Wales' own Manic Street Preachers and Suede, BRIT award-winning artist Paloma Faith, chart-topper Jess Glynne, disco legends Nile Rodgers & CHIC and global rock star Bryan Adams.

The core week of the festival will see a series of events celebrating the Eisteddfod along with headlining shows from Welsh legends Tom Jones and Katherine Jenkins and jazz sensation Gregory Porter.

Llangollen 2024 Eisteddfod week will be from July 2 to 7, with additional concerts co-presented with Cuffe & Taylor falling on either side.

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