Saturday, December 5, 2009
Stranger Than Fiction: The Bizarre Journey of Kings of Leon
Rock Royalty: From Holy Rollers to Rolling Stoners
First of all, I realize I am very late the the KOL party here. I paid no attention to the band at all. Heck, I thought they were from England.
But lately, my wife has been having a love affair with their music. She's totally in to it; maybe too much (I'm afraid she's going to accidentally call me Caleb one of these nights). So I started paying attention. The music of the brothers Followill is very very interesting. I hear all kinds of diverse influences blended artfully together. In one song I thought I heard undertones of Psychedelic Furs, Pearl Jam and Morphine. Yet it's all very new and original-sounding at the same time. The Kings are drawing me in to thier sound and their...thing; their vibe -- whatever you want to call the intangible aura that true rock music has.
Finally, somebody got a record deal that DESERVES a record deal. The Kings have talent in spades. And, most importantly, soul, which I believe is sorely missing in most modern music.
Maybe their fresh sound in a result of the boys growing up without the usual rock-pop influences; without the pablum of commercial radio.
So then I read their history. Holy crap! What a story: Their dad was a Pentacostal preacher. I know from my years in Texas what that means. They are the "Throw down your crutches!" people. They are the snake-handlers and the lay on-ers of hands people. From tent to tent the boys went in a purple Oldsmobile while papa preached...while daddy ranted and raved all over the deepest of backwater south. It's the stuff of gothic fiction.
Now they jet from country to country playing sold out stadiums where people worship THEM as idols. They themselves are god-like snake-handlers of rock. Currently KOL are up for three Grammys. What a story! What a great AMERICAN story they are.
While reading their bio I found that they are produced by (and early songs co-written by) none other than my old associate and Boston rock veteran Angelo Petraglia. Go Angelo, Go! He moved to Nashville years ago and has been working as a songwriter and producer with some really accomplished names in Americana, Country and Rock. Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Patty Griffin and Brooks and Dunn are just a few names on Angelo's resume. I worked with him when he was in Boston with both Face to Face and The Immortals. I overdubbed and mixed the Immortals' "Two Sisters" on the acclaimed North by Northeast compilation back in '91.
Angelo worked with and developed KOL from the beginning, when the brothers were young and as raw as sugar cane. But he saw the talent and helped them develop it. Here's a nice piece about Angelo and his work with the Kings.
The kids started their lives rallying against the Devil and his deeds.
Now they play his music.
The Devil's, that is....
Here's a great Sound on Sound Magazine Article on the recording of Only By The Night: Secrets of the Mix Engineers: Jacquire King
It's All About The Tone, Baby!