The band was formerly called Saracuse and started recording at Bedrock Studios in Leicester where Chris Edwards worked as an engineer. The original band members all hailed from Countesthorpe and Blaby, and the band formed while Pizzorno and Meighan were attending Countesthorpe Community College. The influence of The Stone Roses can be heard in their first jams. The first demo EP was produced by Scott Gilbert and handed to the band late on 24 December 1999. Their first public appearance was at the Vipers Rugby Club to celebrate Chris' 18th birthday with family and friends. The band were soon spotted and changed their name to Kasabian, after Linda Kasabian, a member of the Charles Manson cult (aka the Manson "family") famous for serving as his getaway driver. In an interview with Ukula, bassist Chris Edwards explained how the former guitarist Chris Karloff picked the name. Reading up on Charles Manson, the Kasabian name stuck with Karloff. "He just thought the word was cool, it literally took about a minute after the rest of us heard it... so it was decided,” says Edwards.
In the early days Tom Meighan used to post on the Libertines.org forum for short notice gigs and to promote his band. The band then got their first airplay as a demo version on XFM's The Remix with Eddy Temple-Morris around this time.
Their eponymous debut album was released in the UK on 13 September 2004 receiving good sales and generally positive reviews. During the recording, the band lived in a farmhouse near Rutland Water to avoid being disturbed. Kasabian featured at Glastonbury Festival 2005 on the 'Other Stage'.
Despite having two prior single releases with debut single "Processed Beats" and lead single "Reason Is Treason", it was their third single release "Club Foot" that finally gave Kasabian success in the singles charts. The song, which was written in the early years of Kasabian, went on to enjoy both critical and commercial success, becoming one of the band's best loved songs, and being performed at nearly every Kasabian live performance since its release. The song was the theme for the skate game Tony Hawk's Project 8 and Pro Evolution Soccer 5, as well as being featured in the movies The Guardian and Goal!.
"Reason Is Treason" was featured in the games Gran Turismo 4 on the PlayStation 2 and Shaun White Snowboarding on the Xbox 360. "L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)" was featured in the game FIFA 2004 also on the PlayStation 2.
During the recording of Kasabian's second album, Empire, Christopher Karloff, one of the band's chief songwriters, had "artistic and creative differences" and was asked to leave the band, according to the band's website, although there is evidence to suggest that Christopher Karloff left due to personal circumstances. He had contributed his writing skills to three of the songs on Empire (the title track, which went on to be the first single released from the album, and also By My Side and Stuntman). The album itself was released in the UK on 28 August 2006. The band recruited once temporary drummer, Ian Matthews, as a permanent member of the band. In October 2006, Kasabian recorded a live session for Live from Abbey Road at the famed studios. The song "Empire", a self-described 'call to arms' and the first single from the album of the same name, reached Number 9 on the UK charts, based on downloads sales alone, and with only six days airplay. It stayed in the top 10 for 4 weeks. It was exclusively played on BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe show in July 2006 and immediately made available for internet download.
The album seems to focus on the horrors of war, and the problems of waging it. "Shoot the Runner" reached Number 17 in the British charts. A third single, "Me Plus One", was released on 2 January 2007.
Kasabian won the Best Live Act award at the 2007 NME Awards. After receiving the award, Meighan said: "This is the first award we've ever won, so about fucking time! Thank you NME!"
The band finished touring supporting the new album, playing at many festivals, including Isle of Wight Festival in June 2007, and second from top on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival. On 7 July 2007 Kasabian performed as part of the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London. The following night the band headlined the NME stage at the T in the Park festival in Kinross, Scotland. The band ended 2007 by playing a 1 hour set at Edinburgh's Hogmanay street party. Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher joined the band on stage to play guitar on the last 3 songs of the set.
The single "Shoot the Runner" was featured on the multi-platform game Saints Row 2.
The band released an EP titled Fast Fuse in late 2007 which featured the songs "Fast Fuse" and "Thick As Thieves", however the EP was not given any promotion or advertisement. Both tracks are featured in their third album. "Fast Fuse" was also included in the soundtrack to the video game FIFA 09, and was the official theme song of a WWE pay-per-view event, Cyber Sunday 2007. It is also now used as the main soundtrack on BBC Three's show, Russell Howard's Good News.
Kasabian started work on their third album in late 2007. Prior to release, the band said that their third album would contain an early Pink Floyd-influenced song that "sounds like Syd Barrett." For the album the band recruited American hip hop and electronica producer Dan The Automator, who is best known for his work on the first Gorillaz album. On 5 March 2009, albumvote.co.uk revealed that the album title would be West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum with the release date set for 8 June 2009.
They played a number of intimate warm-up gigs where they previewed songs off their new album starting in Margate on 23 March, Preston on 24 March and Leeds on 25 March, before their Teenage Cancer Trust performance at the Royal Albert Hall, on 27 March 2009. On 20 April, it was announced that Kasabian would play The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival 2009 before headliner Bruce Springsteen, as his special guests. This will be the second time they have sub headlined the event in 3 years. It was announced that Kasabian cancelled their Irish date at Live At The Marquee in Cork scheduled for 21 June due to "promotional commitments".
On 25 March 2009, it was revealed on Kasabian's website that the song "Vlad the Impaler" would be available for free download for a period of 4 days beginning 31 March. The album's first official physical single was the track "Fire", which was released on 1 June 2009. The promo video for "Vlad the Impaler" stars Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh fame playing a vampire and was directed by Richard Ayoade. "Underdog" was featured along with Kaká, in a Sony Bravia MotionFlow television commercial.
Sunday 7 June 2009 saw "Fire" being the highest new entry reaching number 3 on the UK Top 40.
On 11 June 2009, it was reported that the band wanted to film a concert for a DVD release, and they would like acclaimed film director Quentin Tarantino to direct it. The band worked with Rosario Dawson on their third album, and said they asked her to ask Tarantino if it would be possible for him to do so.
On 14 June 2009, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum reached number one in the UK top 40 charts. The album spent a second week at number one in the UK a week later.
Serge has mentioned that if he were to get put into some sort of mental asylum, it would be for "setting up a tent in Buckingham Palace, the Queen's house."
The band made history on 15 August 2009 when they were featured alongside The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, Raygun, Boys Like Girls and Pixie Lott as one of the live acts at Asia's very first MTV World Stage Live In Malaysia concert that was held in Malaysia.
It was announced on 29 September 2009 that the band would be playing the Australian-New Zealand touring festival Big Day Out in 2010.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was shortlisted for the 2009 Mercury Prize, and was named 'Best Album' at the 2009 Q Awards. Zane Lowe has also declared it to be his favourite album of 2009.
Kasabian's West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum UK Tour runs throughout November 2009.
The band will also headline the 2010 T in the Park music festival and are rumoured to be performing at the V Festival in August 2010.