10 things you didn't know about Kings Of Leon
26th Feb 2009 | 19:09
Little-known facts about the newest mega-band
With their smash hit album Only By The Night, Nashville's Kings Of Leon have taken the world by storm.
Indeed, Only By The Night hasn't left the UK's Top Ten since its release, and the band's current tour looks as if it's going to continue until the fans can't take anymore - which won't be anytime soon.
But how much do we know about these Followills who call themselves Kings Of Leon? Well, we know the grandfather to Caleb (lead vocals,guitar), Nathan (drums) and Jared (bass) was a Pentacostal minister, and he inspired the group's name - that we know.
And we know that Only By The Night is a rare kind of album, one that can pack the hedonistic blues-rock punch of Led Zeppelin with the uplifting majesty of U2 - we know that too,
But on to the important things. How well do you know your Kings Of Leon facts, as in the real scoop? After this handy little guide, we'll venture to say KOL will feel like best friends, if not cousins, or brothers.
1. Their names aren't their names
Well, they are, kind of. Although the band is made up of three brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill, and one cousin, Matthew Followill (lead guitar), those aren't their first names; they're their middle names. OK, let's take the above picture, from left to right: Matthew's first name is Cameron, Nathan's is Ivan, Caleb's is Anthony and Jared's is Michael. Got all that? There may be a quiz later.
2. They can be knights, but they'll never be 'Sirs'
Because they're Americans, KOL are elible to receive honorary knighthoods (or dameships, if they were women), but being that they aren't British citizens, they best they can hope for is to receive the kind of knighthoods awarded Bill Gates, Rudy Guiliani and Steven Speilberg - " for those who have made an important contribution to relations between their country and Britain," In short, this is a 'standing up' knighthood vs the 'kneeling' kind. A 'KBE' can be added to the Followill name - 'Knight Of The British Empire' - but they'll never be 'Sirs.' (Hey, it never happened to Sidney Portier.)
3. They're either Mozart freaks, Big Lebowski fans, or both
Lately, Kings Of Leon have taken to walking on stage to the dramatic strains of Mozart's Requiem In D Minor (the saddest of all keys?). Self-important? Perhaps. Or maybe they're just big-time Big Lebowski fans (and who isn't?) You remember the scene - "strong men also cry"? No? Well, here's an entertaining refresher. And the music you hear in the background? You guess it - good ol' Mozart.
4. They're musical geniuses
It all comes naturally. According to Nathan, "Jared had never picked up a bass, Caleb had never picked up a guitar and Matt had taken two guitar lessons." Nathan chalks up KOL's musical aptitude to a mixture of "boredom and stupidity."
With nothing but a Led Zeppelin boxed set, Nathan says, "We kidnapped our cousin from Mississippi, told his mom he was coming for the week and just never let him go home. We locked ourselves in the basement with an ounce of marijuana and literally spent a month down there. My mom would bring us food. And at the end of that month the label people came and we had Molly's Chambers, California Waiting, Wicker Chair and Holy Roller Novocaine." (Hope they thanked their Mom - for the food and ignoring the pot smell.)
5. Golf courses and KOL don't mix
During a trip to Scotland, Caleb talks about a time the band arrived at their hotel at 4am with only one thing on their minds: seeing their favorite college football team, the Oklahoma Sooners, play a big match.
"Not only did the [hotel] staff rig up the game on TV, they laid on snacks and gave us all the beer we wanted," says Caleb. "And how did we thank them? By peeing in the wind. The rest rooms were three floors away, the game was real exciting, so we went outside and peed, actually on the world famous St Andrews golf course, actually on the 17th fairway...Though we stayed in the rough at all times, we're very sorry."
A spokesman for the St Andrews Links Trust, which looks after the course, was bemused to learn of the band's confession. "We are not aware of the incident and so it would not be appropriate for us to comment further."
6. They're 'kings of the world!'...just not in the US
Worldwide, Only By The Night, has sold almost 3 million copies, going platinum in Canada, Australia, South Africa and Belgium and multiplatinum in the United Kingdom.
By contrast, Only By The Night has sold 458,000 in their homeland. And the band even won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a duo or group with vocals for their single Sex On Fire. What's up with that? What's the US of A waiting for? God only knows.
7. Radiohead love them
Guitarist Ed O' Brien, especially. "I don't get jealous when I see other bands," he said recently, "but when I see them I think, 'Man, I'd love to be in that band'. They're young...they remind me of... the Bunnymen or something like that. They're growing, they're evolving. They're amazing players, the drummer, he's amazing. They're all great, but he's really special."
8. Oasis...not so much
Although Liam Gallagher had previously described himself as a fan, Only By the Night, however, left him cold. So cold, in fact, that he had this to say: "I don't know about this fucking new record. I like the old stuff. When they first come out I was going, 'Who the fuck is this?' They were cool, and now they've all got their sleeves cut off." (Well, Liam, maybe it was hot that day!)
Brother Noel was more brief but no less brutal, Writing in his blog on On By The Night he said, "Kings Of Leon doing U2? Ouch!"
9. Every member loves Taco Bell
The spicy chicken wrap is a big favorite, apparently.
10. Caleb has to sell his house because of you!
Caleb is puttig his Nasville house on the market because of a steady stream of fan mail, some of which he describes as rather scary. "There are kids from the UK who go to Nashville and leave me presents. My cousin, who looks after the house, hides them from me - he said I'd be scared.
"The other day I was there and left the house for a second, and when I got back there were four playing cards, four kings, with all of our names on them in the door."
You mean this? It doesn't look scary, does it? Well, now that you mention it, it is kind of creepy.