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Kula Shaker

Kula Shaker
Kula Shaker

Sanskrit and featured traditional Indian instruments such as the sitar and the tamboura inter-fused with rock guitar, influenced by frontman Crispian Mills after his visit to India. After releasing two albums they split in September 1999 but officially reformed in 2004 for sessions which led to plans for a full live and album-release comeback. Their reformation was not widely publicised until the beginning of 2006. Their third album, Strangefolk, was released in 2007.

Band history
Formation/History (1988-1995)
Kula Shaker live in 2007

Background information Origin Genre(s) London, England Psychedelic rock Raga rock Neo-psychedelia Britpop 1995-1999, 2004-present Sinnamon Records (Europe) Cooking Vinyl (US) Strange F.O.L.K. Sony BMG Music Entertainment Columbia Records The Jeevas

Years active Label(s)

Associated acts Members Crispian Mills Alonza Bevan Paul Winterhart Harry Broadbent

Former members Jay Darlington

Kula Shaker are an English multi-platinum selling[1] psychedelic rock band who came to prominence during the Britpop era. The band became known for their interest in Indian culture, and numerous tracks such as "Tattva" and "Govinda" were written in

The first stirrings of Kula Shaker came about in 1988 when Crispian Mills (grandson of Sir John Mills and the son of actress Hayley Mills and film director Roy Boulting) met Alonza Bevan at Richmond College in South-West London. The two went on to play together in a band named Objects of Desire, formed that year. The Objects of Desire’s lineup was initially Mills on guitar, Bevan on bass, Marcus French (aka Frog) on drums, Leigh Morris on rhythm guitar and vocalist Marcus Maclaine, then Hayley Mills’ boyfriend. In 1991, Paul Winterhart took over on the drums from Marcus French. During this time Mills and Bevan also ran a psychedelic nightclub, called the Mantra Shack, in the back of Richmond ice rink. In early 1993, the Objects of Desire split acrimoniously and following this Mills went backpacking in India. Upon returning he formed a band, The Kays with bassist Alonza Bevan, drummer Paul Winterhart and vocalist, Mills’ cousin Saul Dismont (son of Bermuda politician Russell Dismont). Their first gig took place at the 1993 Glastonbury Festival. Within a year, Dismont had left and organist Jay Darlington had joined the band; prior to joining the group, Darlington had played in several mod revival bands. After spending two years touring and recording the group had not made any headway. The band changed their name and direction in the spring of 1995, when Mills had an epiphany that the group should take the

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name Kula Shaker in honour of one of the 12 Alvars, the ninth-century Indian emperor and holy man Kulashekhara, and that they should pursue a more spiritual direction in future (in line with Crispian’s own interest in the philosophy of Gaudiya Vaishnavism). Kula Shaker became the name for the band’s activities from that point onwards.

Kula Shaker

Career 1995-1999
In September 1995 Kula Shaker were joint winners of the In The City contest (along with Placebo), which quickly resulted in a record contract with Columbia Records, who were eager to sign another band that had the multi-platinum, crossover appeal of Oasis. A debut single, ’Tattva (Lucky 13 Mix)’ (later re-recorded for their debut album) was released on CD and limited 7" vinyl in January 1996, but it entered just outside the UK Top 75, at number 86. "Tattva" was followed quickly in April by the band’s second single, "Grateful When You’re Dead", a slice of Acid Jimi Hendrix-esque rock which was to became their debut UK Top 40 single (entering at #35). Music press and public alike finally began to take notice of the band, and this sudden exposure propelled the re-released (and re-recorded) "Tattva" to number 4 in the UK charts. The band’s upward climb continued with their third single "Hey Dude", a more traditional rock song which was only kept off the top spot by the Spice Girls when it was released in August. October saw the release of the band’s eagerly awaited debut album K, which became the fastest selling debut since Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. The album went on to sell over 850,000 copies in the UK (double platinum), and a further 250,000 copies in the US. The fourth and final single from K was "Govinda", which reached number 7 in the UK charts in December of that year. "Govinda" was sung totally in Sanskrit, and mixed swirling guitars with traditional Indian music. Total sales for all the singles from K came to half a million. 1997 got off to a fine start for the band with four nominations for BRIT Awards, and they subsequently took home the award for "British Breakthrough Act" at the ceremony in February. In the same month they released what would turn out to be their biggest hit, a cover of "Hush" (originally written by Joe South for Billy Joe Royal, and most famously

Crispian Mills performed by the British hard-rock band Deep Purple) , which peaked at number 2. The song also proved successful in the US, where it was used on the soundtrack to the blockbuster movie I Know What You Did Last Summer. The song was also placed at number 224 by Virgin Radio, in a poll for the 20th century’s greatest songs. In the wake of the single’s release, some ill-advised remarks on the traditional mystical properties of Swastikas by Crispian Mills put the band in the firing line of some of the UK press. See the "Controversy" section below. Despite the negative publicity, the band pressed on regardless with a set of live shows in the summer of that year, including T in the Park where they were acclaimed by many as the best live act T in the Park had ever seen, the Glastonbury Festival and the V Festival. The focus during the latter part of 1997 moved to the US where both "Tattva" and "Hey Dude" received airplay exposure. "Tattva" became a minor number 10 hit in the Modern Rock Tracks Chart and "Hey Dude" peaked at number 25. K itself peaked at number 11 in the Heatseekers chart and K crept into number 200 in the Billboard charts. An EP, Summer Sun, was released in the US for

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the band’s fans there. The 6 tracks on the EP were all B-sides to earlier UK singles. After initial disagreements with management, Kula Shaker resurfaced with the UKonly single "Sound of Drums" in April 1998, peaking at number 3. A promised album in the summer of that year failed to materialise, and the momentum generated by the single was lost as a result. Fans would have to wait until February 1999 to hear any more new material from the forthcoming second album.

Kula Shaker
at #14, even with it having more TV exposure on Top of the Pops, TFI Friday, Later with Jools Holland and CD:UK. In June they played Glastonbury Festival and headlined the Lizard Festival in Cornwall in August 1999 to coincide with the total eclipse. The band made a few more festival appearances, including an appearance at V99, as a lastminute replacement for Placebo, before playing their last ever gig in Holland at the end of August. In September of that year, the band announced their split. "I have loved my time with Kula Shaker and have experienced more than I could ever have imagined", Mills commented. "We’ve had an excellent time and been a very tight band, but there comes a time when you want to do your own thing."

Controversy
On Sunday 20 April 1997, the national UK newspaper The Independent ran a front page article in which it claimed that Crispian Mills "had dabbled with Nazism and its most potent symbol, the swastika." The article drew together various comments Mills had made to the UK music press in 1996 and early 1997. In one of the interviews from March 1997 for the NME (New Musical Express) the following was printed: Crispian: (in reference to his vegetarian beliefs that killing animals is just as bad as killing humans) The principle is we’ve got a violent society, we always go on about the virtues of peace but we aren’t living a peaceful lifestyle New Musical Express: It’s an obvious comparison, but Hitler was a vegetarian who had no qualms about murdering humans, babies included, by the thousands. Crispian: Right, but Hitler knew a lot more than he made out. Hitler and his whole gang weren’t just a bunch of f___ing psychos, they were also into magic and all that. I mean, talking about ruffling feathers with statements in magazines, I love the swastika. It’s a brilliant image, it symbolises peace and the sun and illumination - it’s everywhere in India. I’d love to have great big flaming swastikas onstage just for the f__k of

Bassist Alonza Bevan The second album Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts was partly recorded aboard the houseboat-studio Astoria, which belongs to guitarist David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd). Its release was preceded by the single "Mystical Machine Gun" which failed to make as strong an impact on the charts as their previous singles, peaking at Number 14 and only remaining two weeks in the top 40. The album itself followed in March 1999 to mixed reviews, and only sold a mere 25,000 copies in its first week as it crawled in at Number 9 on the album chart, spending only 10 weeks in the UK Top 75. The album went Gold in the UK (over 100,000 copies sold). The third and final single from the album, "Shower Your Love" failed to reignite momentum, stalling

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it. It’s like, that was Hitler, don’t let him steal something like that from you. I mean the Nazis studied the Vedas, the Scriptures, the Holy Grail, but they were just using it as a power trip. New Musical Express: You have a sneaking admiration for Hitler don’t you? Crispian: No...but it’s a shame the baddies always get the good uniforms. Ha ha!.[2] The other statements quoted in the article were "You can see why Hitler got support. It was probably the uniforms that swung it," said in an interview with NME in November 1996, and "Well, we know that democracy doesn’t work. If we had a non-elected body that set the right standards . . ." from a January 1997 edition of Melody Maker. The article also revealed that the Objects of Desire had used the motto "England will rise again" [3], and had performed at a 1993 conference at Wembley called "Global Deception" at which speakers included renowned conspiracy theorists Eustace Mullins (who has been denounced as an antisemite because of his writings, which he later recanted) and William Cooper. William Cooper was also thanked in the credits of Kula Shaker’s album. Mills responded to the allegations by fax and his responses were incorporated in the article. Mills admitted having played at "Global Deception", but claimed not to have fully understood the nature of the event. He indicated that he now felt that the swastika, which has origins outside Nazism and different meanings in different parts of the world, was hopelessly connected to Nazism in the West. He indicated that it was the outrage that his comments had sparked that had lead him to this conclusion. He also offered an unequivocal condemnation of right-wing ideology. "I think there is no better example of my naivete and insensitivity than the swastika comments . . . my comments derive from my long interest in Indian culture, from which the swastika has its origins . . . I apologise to those who have been offended by my comment and humbly ask that they accept that I am completely against the Nazis, their crimes and any other latter-day form of totalitarianism. For the record I have never been an anti-semite especially as my dear

Kula Shaker
grandmother was Jewish . . . I loathe totalitarianism, far right thinking, oppression of all forms, denial of human rights and all things that would limit the free spirit of humankind. I stand for peace, love, generosity and learning."[4]

After the split (1999-2004)
Bassist Alonza Bevan joined Johnny Marr and the Healers in 2000, having moderate success. After 2004 the status of The Healers is unknown and with all members working on other projects it is not known if they will work together again. As a side project Alonza formed the band Shep (which included Paul Winter-Hart on drums). The band played a handful of gigs in 2001-2002 and released some excerpts of recorded music via the web but nothing further was heard of them after 2003.

Drummer Paul Winterhart with Kula Shaker in 2007.

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Drummer Paul Winter-Hart joined the band Thirteen:13, who split in 2001 with little success. He also drummed on an album by Aqualung and was part of the group Shep with Alonza. Jay Darlington joined Oasis in 2002 as a touring keyboardist (though not an official band member), and he remains in that role as of 2009. Lead singer Crispian Mills went into the studio in 2000 to work on a solo album. In Autumn of that year, he toured with a group of musicians under the name ’Pi’, first supporting Robbie Williams on his UK Arena dates, then for some smaller headline shows. A new album was scheduled for release in spring 2001 according to Mills’ official website and the NME. However his UK record label didn’t feel the material proposed for release was commercial enough, and so Mills negotiated an exit from his contract with them in 2001, continuing to record for the rest of 2001 without a UK record deal. At the start of 2002, he began working with Andy Nixon and Dan Mckinna, formerly of Straw, and the trio bonded together so well musically that it was decided they would form a group, The Jeevas. Mills ditched all his previously recorded material up to that point, though some tracks would later feature as Jeevas B-Sides. The Jeevas enjoyed success in Japan and moderate success in the UK. They released two albums, toured throughout 2002 and 2003, with some dates in mid 2004. Their records were released on their own Cowboy Music label in the UK and mainland Europe, and by Sony in Japan. Some tentative work was done for their third album, but when it became apparent during 2005 that the reformation of Kula Shaker would be permanent, the band officially split up. In December 2002, Sony released a best of album, entitled Kollected - The Best of Kula Shaker. Crispian compiled the tracklisting for the release and approved the sleevenotes. The compilation included the band’s final recorded track, a cover of Bob Dylan’s "Ballad of a Thin Man", which was later featured on the soundtrack to the 2005 movie Stoned, starring Leo Gregory.

Kula Shaker
Badger, California for young people which includes as part of the curriculum teachings about Krishna and devotional music). The album ’School Of Braja’ was recorded in 2004 and finally saw release in late 2006. Crispian Mills, who masterminded the album, arranged not only that the Jeevas play on two tracks, but he also got in touch with his old bandmate, Alonza Bevan. The two worked together on a song together for the album, ’Braj Mandala’, to which Paul Winter-Hart added drums. Jay Darlington was asked to be part of the sessions, but declined the opportunity. At the time of the recording, this was announced on the official Jeevas website as Kula Shaker having reformed to contribute a song to the album, and was referred to by Mills as a Kula Shaker reunion in subsequent interviews. Additionally, the School Of Braja album credits officially state that ’Kula Shaker’ appear on the track Braj Mandala. The sessions for the track went so well that Mills and Bevan began writing together again, and making plans for a full-on Kula Shaker comeback that would encompass live touring and the further release of new material. A new band website was also commissioned. Their first gig back together (as a 3-piece) took place at the Wheatsheaf, Leighton Buzzard, England , on 21 December 2005. This was a ’secret’ gig and not promoted beforehand; however blackboards outside the pub announced ’Kula Shaker tonight’ on the night of the show. As a joke about the nature of secret gigs, Mills told the assembled crowd that the band was called ’The Garcons’ whilst wearing a ’big hair’ grey wig. All sources both official and unofficial have subsequently referred to this gig as a Kula Shaker show. Kula Shaker announced on January 11, 2006 that they had reformed permanently. They released the following statement on their new official website (which launched that day): It’s official. Kula Shaker has arisen from the bottomless pit. How and why will all be revealed in good time, as this [web] site grows, swells and expands. In the meantime join our mailing list and be the first to find out about secret gigs, free downloads and the inside story on what is sure to be their finest hour.

Reformation (2004-present)
Kula Shaker’s reformation has its origins in sessions for a charity album made with the New Braja Village School (a private school in

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During preparation for their comeback live dates, a new member joined the band - Harry Broadbent. He became the band’s new keyboard player, and Kula Shaker were restored to a four-piece once more. The band undertook a small UK tour in the Spring. The tour dates were split into two ’legs’, with a pre-tour warm-up show in Milton Keynes. The band played to sell out audiences in smaller venues, playing a mix of new and old material. They also recorded a session for Scottish radio station Clyde1, and made an appearance on the Billy Sloan show on that station to coincide with this. The band released a four-song EP entitled "Revenge of the King" on iTunes in April. This was later released on a limited run of 1000 10" vinyls, sold on certain dates of the band’s April / May tour and later from the band’s official website. Later still, the EP was released on CD in Japan with a bonus track (the 2006 radio session version of Govinda). Apart from the Japanese bonus track, the tracks on the EP were recorded in a very small studio in London right at the beginning of 2006, before Harry Broadbent joined the band. The band went on to play some festivals in the Summer of 2006 - T in the Park, Fuji Rock, V Festival and Pentaport Festival in Korea - along with a handful of warm-up dates. After this, they played one more live date in 2006, headlining the Purple Weekend festival in Spain at the end of the year. After the summer festival dates, it was announced on the band’s website that the third Kula Shaker album was underway. Pre-production started in September 2006, with final mixing completed by April 2007. It was produced in collaboration with an all-star team of hit makers & Grammy winners, including Tchad Blake (Peter Gabriel, Crowded House), Sam Williams (Supergrass) and Chris Sheldon (The Foo Fighters, The Pixies). In Japan, the Freedom Lovin’ People EP preceded the album. It was released there on May 23, 2007. The lead track from this release was the album track ’Great Dictator (Of The Free World)’ and a rough animatic-style video was used to promote the song on Japanese music stations. In the UK, the first single from the album was ’Second Sight’ released on 13 August 2007, reaching #101 on the UK singles chart. The single was promoted with a pro-shot video featuring the band as characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Kula Shaker
The third album, Strangefolk (which was the working title of second album "Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts"),was released in Japan on 27 June 2007 through Sony, in Europe on 20 August 2007 through the band’s own label and on 19 February 2008 in North America through Cooking Vinyl. All editions contain at least one bonus track; the Japanese edition contains two further bonus tracks. The track ’Song of Love / Narayana’ on the album incorporates elements from the tracks Narayan and Climbatize, both of which can be found on The Prodigy’s The Fat of the Land. Narayan was co-written by Mills and included a vocal performance by him. The album reached #32 in Japan and #69 in the UK. To capitalize on publicity surrounding the band’s comeback, the re-release record label Music Club issued a hastily-compiled double album ’Tattva : The Very Best Of Kula Shaker’ on 16 July 2007, which included all the tracks from the band’s first two albums and a handful of previously released non-album tracks. The band had no input into any aspect of the release and their consent was not obtained for its release. They have been asking their fans not to buy it. The band played UK warm-up dates from early June. They went on to play five festival dates in the summer - Bilbao BBK Live, Culura Quente festival, Japanese festival Fuji Rock, Norway’s PulpIt Rock Festival and the iTunes Festival in London, along with two one-off dates - one in London and one in Spain. Further UK dates and a European tour followed in the Autumn. The band then rounded off the tour commitments for the year with two final performances in November, one at Leicester University and another at The Netherlands’ Crossing Borders festival. A live EP featuring four tracks from the band’s performance at the iTunes festival was released through the iTunes stores in various countries in October. A second single from Strangefolk, ’Out on the Highway’ was released in November 5 2007, also only available as a download from the UK iTunes store. Neither release achieved a placing on the UK singles chart. The final release of the year came on December 14 - the free download track ’Drink Tea (For The Love Of God)’ featured Alonza on vocals and a pro-tea drinking message in the lyrics. The track was accompanied by an animated video, released online on the same day, which was produced by animation house Model Robot.

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The band played a Japanese tour and further tours of both the UK and mainland Europe at the start of 2008. They went on to play a handful of European festival dates in the summer. On July 2 2008 the band announced they were back in the studio working on their fourth studio album with working title ’Pilgrim’s Progress’. However soon after the band have been locked in a legal dispute with their label which resulted in most of the work for the next album being frozen. Work on the new album is not expected to recommence until 2009.

Kula Shaker
• "Shower Your Love" 1999 from Strangefolk • "Second Sight" 2007 • "Out on the Highway" 2007 non-album single • "Drink Tea (For the Love of God!)" 2007 (Download only)

Chart History (UK)
1996
• Grateful When You’re Dead/Jerry Was There reaches #35. • Tattva become their first top 10 single reaching #4. • K sold 600,000 copies making it the 20th biggest album of the year. • 450,000 singles sold, 32nd biggest singles seller of the year • Hey Dude sells 160,000 copies, making it the 84th biggest single of the year and reaching #2. • K spends 3 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 • Govinda Reaches #7.

Members
• Crispian Mills -- Lead Vocals/Guitars • Alonza Bevan -- Bass • Paul Winterhart -- Drums • Harry Broadbent (2006-) -- Keyboards Ex-members:• Jay Darlington (1995-1999) -- Keyboards

Discography
Albums
• • • • K 1996 Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts 1999 Strangefolk 2007 Pilgrim’s Progress TBA

1997
• K sold 250,000 copies. 42nd biggest seller of the year • 220,000 singles sold, 81st biggest seller. • 200,000 of those singles were Hush, which became the 60th biggest seller of the year and reaches #2.

EPs
• • • • Summer Sun EP 1997 Revenge of the King 2006 Freedom Lovin’ People 2007 iTunes Festival London EP 2007

1998
• Sound Of Drums sells 114,000 copies making it the 156th biggest seller of the year and reaches #3.

Compilation albums
• Kollected - The Best of Kula Shaker 2002 • Tattva - The Very Best Of Kula Shaker 2007

1999
• Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts sells 78,957 copies making it the 156th biggest album of the year. • Mystical Machine Gun reaches #14. • Shower Your Love reaches #14.

Singles
• "Tattva (Lucky 13 Mix)" 1996 • "Grateful When You’re Dead" 1996 • "Tattva" 1996 • "Hey Dude" 1996 • "Govinda" 1996 non-album single • "Hush" 1997 from Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts • "Sound Of Drums" 1998 • "Mystical Machine Gun" 1999

2007
• Second Sight debuts on the Indie Chart at #5 and debuts on the Official UK Singles Chart at #101. • Strangefolk debuts on the Official UK Album Chart at #69.

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Kula Shaker

TV appearances (1999 present)
1999
• Later ... With Jools Holland, (Kula Shaker performs : Great Hosannah, Shower your love) • 2 Meter Sessies (NL), (Kula Shaker performs : Shower your love, I’m still here, Govinda, Sound of drums, Tattva, Last farewell, Great Hosanna)

References
[1] The BPI website searchable database of all official UK record certifications. Search for ’Kula Shaker’ shows their debut album is 2x Platinum [2] Interview with Kula Shaker from NME, 1 March 1997 the relevant controversial sections of the interview scanned and available for viewing online [3] It’s a sin, The Guardian, February 23 2004 [4] The full fax from Mills to the Independent As initially published on the official Kula Shaker website and later archived by a fansite.

2006
• T in the Park - BBCi & BBC Scotland, August 2006 (Kula Shaker perform: Hey Dude, 303, Diktator of the Free World, Shower Your Love, Die for Love, Tattva, Hush, Govinda) • Faith & Music - ITV1, December 2006 (Crispian Mills discusses faith in his music and his musical influences. Features 4 live performances of new tracks from the forthcoming third album: Out on the Highway,Die For Love, Be Merciful and Diktator of the Free World)

External links and references
• • • • Official Site Official Myspace Site Kula Shaker Fanzine’s Site Kula Shaker на BRIT-POP.spb.ru

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kula_Shaker" Categories: English musical groups, Britpop musical groups, BRIT Award winners This page was last modified on 17 May 2009, at 19:51 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers

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