Kaiser Chiefs' first personnel change in band history proved to be just what the British rock troupe needed, according to bassist Simon Rix.
Drummer Nick Hodgson split from the group, amicably, in 2012. "He came and said, 'I think we should split up,' but the rest of us thought we should carry on, so he just left," recalls Rix, 36, who co-founded the politically minded group during 2000 in Leeds. "I think that really gave us sort of a little bit of a kick to sort of get going again. I don't know if we realized it, but we were sort of cruising along, doing our thing. We did what we did and we were good at it and people quite liked it. I don't know if we were lazy, but maybe we weren't giving 100 percent."
Making the new "Education, Education, Education & War" without Hodgson, Nix adds, "There was a sort of real energy to make it a really great record. It was like wake-up call, kind of, really good for us."
Kaiser Chiefs certainly didn't suffer for the change; "Education..." debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. charts when it was released at the end of March and has spawned three singles so far. Rix acknowledges that the group's profile has also been boosted by frontman Ricky Wilson's role as a coach on the British version of "The Voice."
"It felt like a slightly weird thing to do, in a way, but we just like trying new things out," Rix notes. "He got this opportunity to be on national television Saturday night, every week for a good amount of time,just before we had an album coming out. It was coincidental, but it just happened to be a good piece of marketing or whatever.
"We all really loved this record and put a lot of effort into it. The worst thing that could possibly happen was it would be unnoticed or not be exposed to the most people possible. So 'The Voice' was really helpful for getting people to know the band had a record coming out and was still doing gigs, and maybe it brought a few new people in, too."
Kaiser Chiefs and Streets of Laredo perform Sunday, June 15, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $32. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to