Kings of Leon: Out of the Church, Into the Fire (Relix Revisited)
Today as Kings of Leon announces some U.S. dates in support of its new album, Come Around Sundown, we present our June 2003 spotlight piece on the group.
The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey is one of those rock clubs that wears its eclectic history on its black-painted walls. The roughly 150-person-capacity venue is covered with bright-colored flyers, photos, posters and stickers from bands that have played the club since it opened in 1994. A lot of the bands are underground and obscure; flashes in time preserved more by their logos and graphics than by anybody’s memory of them. Behind the bar, standing in front of a black and white King of Leon press photo, Scott Stamper, co-owner of The Saint, discusses the time Cake played, Derek Trucks, moe., the several shows Ween played under aliases and other bands who stopped in before they broke out.
At the back of the club, facing the stage, the Kings of Leon are huddled together, nearly standing on top of one another, their beat-up boots only inches apart. They are watching the opening band. Sixteen year-old Jared who is the youngest member and bassist of Kings of Leon, is bobbing his head and moving to the music. The other three members seem less enthusiastic, but sway from time to time, occasionally moving closer, talking and then turning their heads to check out the few Jersey girls.
It is the first stop of a tour that lead singer and rhythm guitarist Caleb Followill says lasts “forever” and will crisscross the globe, exponentially increasing the number of shows the band has played in its brief existence. Kings of Leon do not look like a rock band on the cusp of a world tour and potential worldwide acclaim. Minus the shaggy hair and circa-seventies-Allman Brothers skin-tight clothes, they could be a group of Jersey teenagers who snuck into the bar.
Kings of Leon officially formed about a year ago. Principal members, Caleb Followill and brother Nathan Followill (drums), had been writing songs for about a year prior to the formation of the band and were signed immediately to a publishing deal. “Our publisher was proud of the stuff we were doing and wanted to see what some people out there thought. We just took some acoustic guitars and we went to New York and had some meetings with a few labels. We sat in their offices and played for them,” says Caleb. Recruiting fellow brother Jared and cousin Matt Followill (lead guitar), the band signed with RCA and was in the studio shortly thereafter recording its first five-song EP, Holy Roller Novocaine. “We had been a band for like one month before we did that. I had been playing bass for one month,” says Jared.
The Kings of Leon are aware that hype and explosive commercial success are not always good for a young band. “It is kind of scary if we sell a lot,” says Caleb, “because then it’s like, what are we?” Despite this admission they walk toward their future with the wide-eyed optimism that can only accompany a young band on the verge of something beyond their control.
Kings of Leon have not had much time to question who and what they are musically, but describing their sound, Caleb says, “To me it is rock and roll and blues and country. It’s just a combo of everything that we like.” Jared describes it a little differently: “It’s got a garage feel, a little bit of country, punk energy.” The garage comparison is probably the most accurate, as that was the only place the band had ever played prior to recording their EP. “Before we started playing gigs we would play in the garage and we would just bring as many people that could fit in the garage in there and we would have shows, just getting ready and getting prepared. And then we moved on,” says Caleb.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
- Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger "The Pequod"
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- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
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- On The Verge Poll