Kaiser Chiefs say album cover is homage to Sturmey Archer, not theft

Band accused of copying cycling firm Sturmey Archer's logo for their new album cover

Kaiser Chiefs have denied stealing the logo of cycling company Sturmey Archer for their new album cover, explaining that the artwork and lyrics of Education, Education, Education & War are an "homage" to "Britain's heritage".

Supporters of Sturmey Archer have dubbed the Leeds band "Kaiser Thiefs" for their remix of the firm's famous logo, which has been used to advertise Sturmey's internal gear hubs across more than 60 years. "'Kaiser Thiefs' … might not be grammatically correct but does reflect how we now feel," general manager Alan Clarke told Bike Biz. "I have worked for the company for more than 40 years and I have never known anything quite as blatant as this."

Due to be released on 31 March, Education, Education, Education & War is Kaiser Chiefs' first album since the departure of principal songwriter Nick Hodgson. Although it was recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, "in a weird way … I think it's solidified how British we are," singer Ricky Wilson said in a press release. The record gets most of its title from a 2005 speech from Tony Blair, where the then-prime minister called education "the key to the door of Britain's future success".

In a statement issued to NME, Kaiser Chiefs explained that this focus on British-ness is what inspired their riff on the Sturmey Archer logo. "The lyrics of our new album ... look into Britain's past and our designer has deliberately created artwork that references Britain's heritage," they said. "We hoped to pay homage to the legacy of Sturmey Archer and by using this design we did not expect, nor did we intend to upset them."

According to Clarke, Kaiser Chiefs never contacted Sturmey Archer to tell them about their plans, nor did they respond to later enquiries from the company.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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