Kings of Leon, also known as The Kings or KOL, is an American Grammy award-winning alternative rock band from Nashville, Tennessee, formed in 1999 by brothers Anthony "Caleb" Followill (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Ivan "Nathan" Followill (drums, percussion and backing vocals) and Michae... More
Kings of Leon, also known as The Kings or KOL, is an American Grammy award-winning alternative rock band from Nashville, Tennessee, formed in 1999 by brothers Anthony "Caleb" Followill (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Ivan "Nathan" Followill (drums, percussion and backing vocals) and Michael "Jared" Followill (bass guitar, backing vocals and keyboard), with their cousin Cameron "Matthew" Followill (lead guitar, backing vocals and piano). Each member of the family goes by their second name as opposed to their first name. The band's early music was an upbeat blend of southern rock and garage rock influences. As of 2009, Kings of Leon have had nine Top 40 singles in the United Kingdom, including a number-one with the hit single "Sex on Fire"
The three brothers spent much of their youth traveling around the South with their father, Ivan "Leon" Followill, a traveling Pentecostal Church preacher and their mother, Betty-Ann, who taught them when they were not in school. Jared and Caleb were born in Tennessee, while Nathan and Matthew were born in Oklahoma. The group's name is derived from Nathan, Caleb, and Jared's father and grandfather, who were both named Leon. According to Rolling Stone magazine, "While Leon preached at churches and tent revivals throughout the Deep South, the boys attended services and were occasionally enlisted to bang on some drums. They were home-schooled or enrolled in small parochial schools. Except for a five-year stretch when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followills spent their childhoods driving through the South in a purple 1988 Oldsmobile, decamping for a week or two wherever Leon was scheduled to preach."
The boys' fates as followers of fundamentalist Christianity seemed sealed until 1997, when their father resigned from the church and divorced his wife. After this upset the two eldest brothers moved to Nashville, hoping to break into the music scene. They quickly ran into Nashville songwriter and producer Angelo Petraglia, who introduced the brothers to the influences of The Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash.