"Velociraptor!," Kasabian's fourth album, is bringing the British quartet to North America in 2012 for its first visit in five years -- and high time, according to guitarist and songwriter Sergio Pizzorno.
"The last time (for 2009's 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'), it was one of those situations where we were doing so well in the rest of the world, it was kind of like, 'We've got to go there,' " Pizzorno tells Billboard.com. "No one in America knew the album was out, hardly, which is a real shame because it's such a good album.
"But this time out there's a while different team at our label, who are buzzing. And the reaction we've gotten out of a few (radio) stations in America is good, so we're going to be spending a lot more time there, which I'm happy about. America is such a beautiful place to be in a band. We're so into our late 60s, early 70s rock, and we just feel like America's a place to have a good time."
The party will start for Kasabian on March 12 in Dallas, continuing for 19 shows until wrapping up April 22 in Denver, with more dates expected to be scheduled later in the year. The trek will be accompanied by the spring release of the "Velociraptor! Super Deluxe Box," a 1,000-copy limited edition signed by the band members and featuring a hardcover sketchbook, a poster and four metal feathers representing the artwork used for the album's singles.
Released in September, "Velociraptor!" was Kasabian's third consecutive No. 1 album in the U.K., where it's already gone gold. "It's had the most successful start yet," Pizzorno says. "In this day and age, every year that passes someone will say, 'People are buying even less records than when you brought out your last album,' so you just have to try and make a great album and hope people dig it. But this time around, our first week was our most successful yet. It's exciting times."
Pizzorno adds that Kasabian's audiences in Europe have also given the group confidence that their "Velociraptor!" has legs. "From the shows we've put on so far, you can see something big is happening. How big that will be, who knows," he explains. "Just gauging from the reaction of the live shows, you can see it in people's faces. The atmosphere and the energy at the gigs now has just gone up five levels. When you see the whites of people's yes, that tells you everything. We're looking forward to seeing that reaction, hopefully, in America."
The guitarist suspects that Kasabian's approach to "Velociraptor!" has something to do with that reception. After "West Ryder's..." "huge concept, this journey into madness," Pizzorno says the group -- working again with producer Dan The Automator -- sought to "simplify things, really, and make direct, melodic sort of music." But its predecessor did make one distinguishable mark on "Velociraptor!"
"The last record sort of proved to us there aren't any rules and you shouldn't really care; you should just make the music you want to make," Pizzorno says. "So it was really sort of back to basics, just, 'These songs sound great. Let's just (record) them and put it out and go on tour. The rest will take care of itself.' "
Kasabian has just kicked off a U.K. tour that features three shows -- including New Year's Eve -- at London's O2 Arena. Before the group hits North America it will play the Big Day Out Festival in Australia, visit Japan and make another short swing through Europe. The North American itinerary includes:
March 12: Dallas, Tex. (South Side Music Hall)
March 15: Houston, Tex. (Fitzgerald's)
March 17: Atlanta, Ga. (Center Stage)
March 18: Orlando, Fla. (Beacham Theatre)
March 20: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
March 21: Philadelphia, Penn. (Theatre of the Living Arts)
March 22: New York, N.Y. (Terminal 5)
March 27: Boston, Mass. (House of Blues)
March 28: Montreal, Quebec (Corona Theatre)
March 29: Toronto, Ont. (Phoenix Concert Ballroom)
April 1: Pontiac, Mich. (Crofoot Ballroom)
April 2: Chicago, Ill. (Vic Theatre)
April 3: Minneapolis, Minn. (First Avenue)
April 6: Edmonton, Alb. (Edmonton Event Center)
April 7: Calgary, Alb. (MacEwan Hall Ballroom)
April 9: Vancouver, B.C. (Vogue Theatre)
April 10: Seattle, Wash. (The Showbox @ The Market)
April 11: Portland, Oreg. (Wonder Ballroom)
April 22: Denver, Colo. (The Summit Music Hall)