Kings of Leon Goes Against the Grain on New CD

By | March 14, 2007 at 10:51 AM

Kings of Leon singer/guitarist
Caleb Followill says the band had one rule while it recorded its third album, “Because of the Times,” due out April 3.

“It was just us against the world and so we pretty much threw everything out the window that people warned us about,”
Followill says.

“We have 13 songs, which is an unlucky number and I hate stuff like that. I was kind of like, ‘F— it man, if we’re going to have a seven-minute song, let’s put it at the beginning. If we want to try stuff, let’s try it.’

“And at the end of the day, we were more than pleased with it. It felt a lot more natural to us.”

That seven-minute song, “Knocked Up,” sets a different and less poppy tone than heard on the Tennessee-based band’s 2004 effort “Aha Shake Heartbreak,” which to date has sold 177,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The new RCA album also bears evidence of time spent on the road with U2, Pearl Jam and Bob Dylan over the past two years.

“When we went out there in these big empty places, where people would be filing in, the natural sound coming off the guitar sounded larger than life,” Followill says.

“We were like ‘Man, we have to recreate that.’ So when we did a sound check with these bands, we wouldn’t play our songs.

We’d start trying to come up with stuff that had this large sound. A new song like ‘Arizona,’ every time we play it feels like we’re on top of a mountain. We just wrote this big, wide-open song and it’s all about the music.”

Kings of Leon will return to live duty April 28 at the
Coachella festival in Indio, Calif., and will also play
Bonnaroo on June 15 in Manchester, Tenn. After North American dates, the group will head to Europe before mounting another
Stateside leg.

While he dismisses any notion that “Because of the Times” is a make-it-or-break-it album, Followill says the band owes much of its success to one overseas market in particular.

“I think we’d be fools not to say that because of the U.K., we’ve been able to make three records,” Followill says. “So we have a love and admiration for the U.K. But man, we’re so blessed. At this point, we can pretty much play for 3,000 kids just about anywhere. And that’s so much bigger than we ever imagined it would be.”

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