Tom Meighan is a man back from the brink. Although today, in the upstairs bar of Sydney's Oxford Circus nightclub, Kasabian's lead vocalist is upbeat and affable, there's a skittish energy to him that hints that inner demons aren't too far from the surface. "I've been on a dark journey, but I'm all right now," he says about his life since his band's last album, 2014's 48:13.
"It was my moment of madness and darkness. Have you ever seen Superman III, where Clark Kent kills the bad Superman, strangles him? Well, that's what I had to go and do, to get the real Tom back."
As Meighan recounts, 'bad Tom' didn't go down easily: "It was a proper fight, it was hard, but I took his last breath out of him – I had to kill him off, and now I'm happy and couldn't be in a better place."
Kasabian's sixth album, For Crying Out Loud, arrives in stark contrast to Meighan's dark mental state: a guitar album that draws upon Sixties bubblegum pop, Seventies rock and a dash of disco; a feel-good antidote created by the band's lead songwriter Serge Pizzorno. "I don't think he intentionally [made positive music], but I think it was in his brain, cos I had to get better and be happy again," says Meighan.
"It makes me quite emotional, me coming back and finding myself. We recorded most of it at the beginning of last year when I was in a dark place, and on 'Put Your Life on It', I'm struggling, I'm about to cry – you can hear me crack on it. That song is so close to the bone. It's just been a journey and a half, man."
"It's weird, cos at the time I was just following my instinct – it wasn't like other albums where I had a conceptual vision," adds guitarist Pizzorno. "Maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to analyse it, but looking at it now, I was in a great place, and I guess subliminally I was trying to lift Tom with me."
Tall, slender and wearing a floppy, wide-brimmed hat, Pizzorno expresses nothing but joy when reminded Kasabian turn 20 this year. "We've had a good time, and I'm proud to say we didn't waste one minute of it – we lived it, a hundred per cent," he says. "So any kid looking at it like, 'fuck, aren't bands boring these days?', they look at us and go, 'them boys, they had it, they didn't fuck about'. It's wasted on some, seriously, having their chicken and broccoli backstage. We only thought we were gonna make one album, so were like, 'We're not wasting this.' And these new bands are literally ordering salads, and I'm like, 'Fuck you!' [Laughs] It should be smothered in fucking cocaine, man, you should be going insane! At least for an album. You could've been fucking digging roads for a living, man... fuck that."
From issue #787 (June 2017), available now.