Kasabian finds inspiration in San Francisco 

click to enlarge Back in town: British rockers Kasabian – playing the Fillmore on Monday – enjoy San Francisco as well as the relative obscurity they have in the U.S. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Back in town: British rockers Kasabian – playing the Fillmore on Monday – enjoy San Francisco as well as the relative obscurity they have in the U.S.

Write what you know, Mark Twain once said. That advice wasn’t lost on Serge Pizzorno — guitarist for British rock juggernaut Kasabian — as he began composing “Velociraptor!,” the follow-up to the band’s smash overseas breakthrough from 2009, “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.”

Interestingly, San Francisco wound up flavoring much of the eclectic new record. It’s Kasabian’s home away from home, where the band came to track both sets with local co-producer Dan The Automator.

This summer, Kasabian will headline both Reading and Leeds — two of England’s biggest festivals.

But Pizzorno was more excited about his gig at the Fillmore on Monday — having lived here twice, for several weeks each time, he’s smitten with The City, and its historic venues as well.

Back home, he and frontman Tom Meighan are mobbed in public. “But in San Francisco, we just walk around freely and no one’s got a clue!” Pizzorno says. “It’s a really nice change.”

The Bay Area influenced diverse “Velociraptor!” songs — such as the eerily electronic “Switchblade Smiles,” a Doc Pomus-ish “Goodbye Kiss” and the Morricone-echoed anthem “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” — simply because Pizzorno enjoyed exploring.

He strolled Fisherman’s Wharf, visited Skywalker Ranch and found homey haunts in the Mission district. “There’s a place called Laszlo, run by a guy called Brian who’s a proper legend and a really good friend now,” he says. “So I’d go to the studio, go there, and then to La Taqueria, the greatest restaurant in the world.”

Pizzorno also gravitated to North Beach, where he loaded up on books at City Lights. “Mainly Bukowski and Ginsberg and the Beats — I tried to keep it traditional because I felt like I owed it to The City,” he says. “And then I’d go to Vesuvio and just sit upstairs and read, which was great because nobody bothers you in there. So I wrote quite a few lyrics in Vesuvio, after a few nice Bloody Marys in the morning.”

Pizzorno also learned multitasking. Offered soundtrack assignments, for the sleek indie film “London Boulevard” plus Noel “The Mighty Boosh” Fielding’s new “Luxury Comedy” BBC series, he not only agreed, but completed the projects in record time. He was only uncomfortable in one S.F. situation — noshing at the posh eateries that Dan The Automator introduced them to. “I, uh, don’t really eat in nice restaurants, but Dan does,” Pizzorno says. “So we visited some really incredible places. But nothing on earth comes close to La Taqueria — I can almost taste those burritos now!”


Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Tickets: $22.50
Contact: (415) 371-5500, www.livenation.com

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Tom Lanham

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