Kula Shaker

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Kula Shaker were a British psychedelic rock band who came to prominence during the Britpop era. Their biggest success was circa 1996-1997 with their debut album K, which became the fastest selling debut album since Oasis' Definitely Maybe. The album went on to sell over a million copies in the UK and a further 250,000 copies in the US. The album spawned four hit singles. Their debut UK Top 40 single Grateful When You're Dead was a slice of Acid Hendrix-esque rock. Their success continued with their Sanskrit-warbling hit Tattva, which made number 4 in the UK charts. This single was nominated for A Brit Award for best UK Video. The band's success grew with their number 2 hit single Hey Dude, a guitar-based track which was kept off the top spot by the Spice Girls. The fourth and final single from K was another Top 10 hit with a cover of Radhe Krishna Temple's, Govindam (released as Govinda), remade with swirling guitars and Indian traditional music.

Kula Shaker became the only band of their era to have consistent Top 5 and Top 10 hit singles in succession — a feat only matched at that time by Oasis. The band at this time had sold 250,000 singles from their first album. Their success peaked with four nominations in the Brit awards (and winning "Best Newcomer"). Some ill-advised remarks on the traditional mystical properties of Swastikas by lead singer Crispian Mills (son of Hayley and grandson of Sir John Mills) put the band in the firing line of some of the press. However, the band resurfaced in March of that year with their biggest hit, a cover of Deep Purple's Hush, which peaked at number 2. The song also proved successful in the US, where it was used on the soundtrack to 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.

The band continued to tour in 1997, performing at the V music festival in England and in the T in the Park festival in Scotland.

The focus on the latter part of 1997 was on the US where they got good exposure through airplay of Tattva and Hey Dude. 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 the band's fans there.

After initial disagreements with management, Kula Shaker resurfaced with UK only single The Sound of Drums in summer of 1998, peaking at number 3. A promised album in the summer of that year failed to materialise, therefore the momentum of the single failed to regenerate interest in the band until February 1999 when the single Mystical Machine Gun was released. However, the song failed to make an impact in the charts only peaking at Number 14.

The second album Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts was released in March 1999 to average reviews, and only sold a mere 25000 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 third and final single from the album, Shower Your Love failed to reignite momentum, even with it having more TV exposure on Top of the Pops and CD:UK.

In September of that year, the band annouced their split, and following this in December of 2002, the band's record company released a "Greatest Hits" album, which included the band's final recorded track, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man".

After the split, drummer Paul Winterhart joined a band called Thirteen, which split after little success. He has drummed on the new album by Aqualung.

Jay Darlington joined Oasis in 2002 as a touring keyboardist.

Bassist Alonza Bevan now plays in Johnny Marr's new band The Healers, having moderate success.

Lead singer Crispian Mills, after initially playing with his 'concept' band Pi, resurfaced with a new band, The Jeevas, who are enjoying success in Japan and moderate success in the UK. They are currently working on a third album.

External links and references

Discography

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