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Coachella Preview: Kings Of Leon (Video)

Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon
Courtesy Photo

Kings Of Leon will be headlining the Friday, April 15, opening day of this year's Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Ca. The band has seen rockstar success in an era that isn’t producing many rockstars. Their hits, “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” tore up the radio charts and racked up numerous awards (both were nominated for various Grammys, with “Use Somebody” winning Best Rock Song.)

The band’s sound hinges on singer Anthony Caleb Followill’s crooning earnest voice. Sweeping, moody guitars wrap themselves tightly into pop rock formulas with a good dose of song crafting along the way to keep the music engaging. It’s the magical combination of musical hooks backed with solid talent.

Kings of Leon is a family affair with three other Followills making up the rest of the band (two more brothers and a cousin). Although originally, it was the oldest brothers Caleb and Nathan who somehow landed an RCA record deal, despite lacking a full band and a release. The label insisted on the brothers filling out the band with more members, so rather than let the label recruit some hired guns, the brothers insisted they had additional family members to back them up. They taught youngest brother Jared (then a freshman in high school) bass guitar and essentially kidnapped their cousin Matthew to fulfill lead guitar duties. Drummer Nathan recalls this time fondly, “We locked ourselves in the basement with an ounce of marijuana and literally spent a month down there.”

This was a far cry from the nomadic lifestyle of Nathan and Caleb’s youth as they constantly traveled with their father, a Pentecostal preacher. They paid tribute to their dad (and in Matthew's case, uncle) along with their grandfather, who were both named Leon by naming the band Kings of Leon.

Only By Night was the band’s fourth album and hit-maker, although the band did manage to produce a number of chart topping singles in Europe on previous albums. They released their fifth album Come Around Sundown last October. While the US audience is seemingly a bit fickle, the album debuted at number one in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

A heavy tour schedule with a headlining slot on the opening day of this years Coachella Festival will no doubt see Kings of Leon riding their wave of success throughout 2011.