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Interview:
Kings Of Leon at the Fox, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Kings Of Leon may be a decade on from the commercial prime of "Sex On Fire" and "Use Somebody." But there's still plenty of heat around the Nashville quartet.

The group's seventh studio album, "WALLS," debuted atop the Billboard 200 when it came out in October -- Kings Of Leon's first No. 1 and fourth consecutive Top 5. It also spawned singles in the title track and "Waste A Moment" and introduced a refreshed sound courtesy of new producer Markus Dravs and a new recording locale in Los Angeles.

"Something's happening with the band right now that's pretty special," frontman Caleb Followill says. "We're kind of back on top again, which wasn't necessarily what we were going for, but it started to play out that way."

"WALLS" also has the group back on the road, a natural habitat since the three brothers (Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill) and cousin (Matthew Followill) began playing together 18 years ago...

All four Kings Of Leon members were united in the idea that the stakes were high for "WALLS." "We knew that this was our seventh album and that the recording deal we signed was for seven," frontman Caleb Followill, 35, explains by phone from his home in Nashville. "So we knew that as opposed to just phoning it in and doing something that was easy to us we wanted to push ourselves and also give back to our record label that has been so supportive of us. So we had the conversation of, 'How do we challenge ourselves?' and we kind of got into it. It was fun pushing ourselves."

The process led Kings Of Leon to three-time Grammy Award winner Dravs (Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons) and Los Angeles. "I don't know if he knew that much about us, and we didn't know much about him. But we met him and we could see he was a (taskmaster) and we felt that's what we need at this point in our career," Followill says. "He walked in and there were four family members sitting on a couch, wtih other family members in the room and stage crew and security. He was one man against an army of people, and rather than try to ease his way in he came out guns blazing. We're all sitting there thinking, 'This guy's never gonna work,' but then we went home and called each other and were like, 'I think this guy's very important at this piont in our career. We need someone to crack the whip a little bit. I think you can hear it on the album, but I think moreso you can feel it."

Bassist Jared Followill, 30, is quick to country any thoughts that thanks to its past success Kings Of Leon could coast a bit if it wished. "A lot of people might think there's really no pressure...because we've had successful albums and a couple of successful songs," he explains. "But at this piont, if we're going to do something it's god to be good because of that. If you're going to put something out there you definitely don't want it to tarnish what you've already done. You want to add to it. We're still looking for success. We're not just happy with non-failures."

The idea of pushing itself applies to the band's touring production as well. "We're going to do some really creative things, some really cool things, some things that not only we haven't done but that not many rock bands do," Caleb says." We're not going to be floating on a stage like Kanye or anything like that, but we're going to be doing some cool shit and we're going to be breaking the show up into parts and doing things that are hopefully going to have people leaving saying that was the best show they've ever been to."

And as much as Kings Of Leon is anxious to play the "WALLS" material live, Jared promises that fans can count on still hearing "Sex On Fire" and other older favorites. "Any song that becomes a hit is going to be kind of cliche and end up being kind of dorky, and that happens for all bands," he says." At the end of the day we can play our coolest song that we've ever written and a lot of people are going to leave and go grab a beer during that song. 'Sex On Fire' is a song we can play and no matter what, no matter where you are, t he crowd's always gonna be good for that song. I definitely appreciate that. You can't understate the impact it has on us when a crowd goes crazy like that.

Kings Of Leon and Deerhunter

7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22.

The Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $29.50-$65.

Call (313) 471-3465 or visit olympiaentertainment.com.




Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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