“Three margaritas!” Jamie Hince exclaims to a waiter, his voice filled with joy. It is Cinco de Mayo after all, or close enough. Mayo, at least. Either way, The Kills are celebrating. We’re in a hotel bar near Covent Garden and Hince and bandmate Alison Mosshart are toasting the impending release of their fifth album, Ash & Ice.
It’s a fittingly louche title for a Kills record, named by Hince after he dropped a fag end into a cocktail glass at the end of a long night of hard partying. In the 14 years they’ve played together as a garage rock duo, Hince, 47, and Mosshart, 37, have garnered a reputation for both incendiary live shows and being the last standing at the end of any given night. Strangely, they’re both arguably now more famous for their extracurricular activities: Mosshart for fronting Jack White side-project The Dead Weather; and Hince for marrying, and now separating from, Kate Moss.
Not that all the tabloid attention has helped the band much. “All it’s done is made people who I could have told in advance they’re not going to like my band, listen to a song and then say: ‘This is shit!’,” says Hince, to Mosshart’s amusement.
“If you go on YouTube and look at the likes on our videos, we’ve got an amazing amount of thumbs down,” continues Hince. “I think that’s all those people who are checking us out because they’ve seen me in the paper going: ‘This is shit!’ Then again, we did say at the start that we wanted to be a polarising band of idiots.”