A chat with Brit band Kaiser Chiefs. On the eve of their debut CD, the boys visit America — and wonder what's with all the cheese

By Leah Greenblatt
Updated March 14, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

We were a little surprised when, despite the presence of a corporate AmEx card and a well-stocked bar, English post-punk up-and-comers the Kaiser Chiefs opted for…orange juice. So much for rock & roll debauchery. The quintet — whose debut, Employment, comes out March 15, propelled by the party-starter single ”I Predict A Riot” — instead tucked into a nice meal (and, eventually, a lager or two) at the sleek Brooklyn diner Relish.

L2T: Explain these girls at your sound check who followed you here from California.

NICK HODGSON, DRUMS AND VOCALS It’s very flattering.

SIMON RIX, BASS Does that mean we’ve broken in America?

RICKY WILSON, LEAD VOCALS Nah, I don’t think we’ve broken yet. Just bending America. The bone has been chipped.

L2T Do you guys like American food?

NICK ”PEANUT” BAINES, KEYBOARDS You can get it anytime.

RW And it’s always covered with cheese. There’s loads of it here. Cheese, cheese everywhere!

ANDREW ”WHITEY” WHITE, GUITAR But you always feel like you’re wasting food here, because there’s just so much.

SR Everything’s too big. Buildings are too big, cars are too big, roads are too wide, food is too big, people are too big…

NH Hey, we want to crack America! Don’t say it’s too big. Work with me, mate.

NH [Leaning closer for emphasis] I think it’s lovely big.