Kula Shaker

From Academic Kids

Kula Shaker were a psychedelic rock band who came to prominence during the Brit Pop era. Their biggest success was circa 1996-1997 with 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. However, success grew further with their anthemic Sanskrit-warbling hit Tattva, which made number 4 in the UK charts. A song which 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 of 250,000 singles from their first album. However, as their success reached a peak with four nominations for a Brit award, and coming away with "best Newcomer", some remarks on 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 voted in at number 224 by Virgin Radio, who ran a poll for the 20th century's greatest songs.

After the hectic beginning to 1997, the band showed they were in no way giving up their success, with a set of live shows in the summer of that year, most notably being acclaimed by many as the best live act T in the Park had ever seen.

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 bands 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. The song was set for number 1 until only 2 days before the official chart, where Run DMC and Irish boy band Boyzone sales for their single overtook. 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 where single Mystical Machine Gun was released. However, the song failed to make an impact in the charts only peaking at Number 14. Incidentally, sales may have been affected by a week where there were 7 top-ten entries in the UK chart.

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 bands record company released a "Greatest Hits" album, which included the band's final recorded track, "Ballad of a thin man".

At present Paul Winterhart had joined a band called Thirteen, which after little success, later split. He has drummed on the new album by Aqualung.

Jay Darlington joined Oasis in 2002 as a touring keyboardist.

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 The Jeevas, who are currently enjoying success in Japan and moderate success in the UK. They are currently working on a third album.

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