Jay: “There are only really two Philly cheese steak shops”

Ahead of tomorrow night’s gig at the Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, We brush up on some local knowledge with Kasabian guitarist and Philadelphian, Jay Mehler.

If you haven’t managed to get hold of tickets yet, grab the last few here.

KL: Did you think you would ever play to your home crowd in a UK rock band?

Jay: Definitely not. Basically I worked “real jobs” so I could play music. I think everyone does. But the longer you do that the less real “The Dream” becomes, whatever that is. You work in a factory long enough and you lose your identity, you start to feel like a factory worker. It malnourishes the rest of your identity. So no way this was not in my scope. So it is a dream to come back. I really miss Philly.

KL: What was the first gig you went to in Philadelphia?

Jay: The first gig I attended was Big Audio Dynamite at City Gardens. My girlfriend at the time bought me tickets for my birthday. It was just after Mick Jones had gotten over pneumonia in 1988 and almost died, which I only found out later when I did a gig with him in London.

KL: What was your first Philly gig as a musician?

Jay: Probably something in church. If that even counts as a gig. A gig for the Lord, ha. But if youre asking about real packin gear and and stretching my Guitarist legs…it was a dance i think. My friends and I had a punk band when we were 12. I forget the name…something idiotic like Anti Society Reign. So bad Ive blocked it out.

KL: What was your first guitar?

Jay: A total and complete piece of shit. It was a Magnum Strat copy. It actually said “Electric Guitar” on the headstock in big writing. It was such a piece of shit i think they legally had to tell you it wasn’t a sewing machine or something. It was also a deathtrap, if I moved my fingers too fast, I would slice them apart. I rode it home on my bike.

KL: Do you have a favourite Cheese Steak shop?

Jay: There are only really two and depending where you’re hanging out is the one you go to. Theres Jim’s right on south street. And of course Pats…but pats is down the road in south philly. So you had to really want a Pats to make the trip if you were completely hammered and standing outside jims. I never went to either. It was all about Lorenzo’s Pizza for me. Forever Lorenzo’s!!!!

KL: Who are your Philly heroes?

Jay: Besides my parents, Jack and Judy…Noam Chomsky!

Photo: Neil Bedford