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Old 03-02-2005, 07:11 AM   #1
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(03-02-2005) Kings Of Leon excited about U2 gigs - Jam!*

Kings Of Leon excited about U2 gigs
By JANE STEVENSON -- Toronto Sun

Southern gargage-rockers Kings Of Leon normally might have passed on opening for U2 on their North American tour, which begins March 28 in San Diego.

But now the Tennessee-based quartet of Followills are convinced they made the right decision. They are brothers Nathan, 24, drummer; Caleb, 22, singer; Jared, 17, bassist; and their first cousin and guitarist, Matthew, 19.

"The cool thing about us going out on the road with U2 is that when we met them, before they even asked us, they knew everything about our music, our old stuff, stuff that wasn't on the albums," said Caleb yesterday in Toronto, prior to KOL's sold-out show tonight at the Opera House in support of their week-old second album, Aha Shake Heartbreak.

"It was just, like, you could tell they were real fans," Caleb continued. "And we've always been the kind of band that said, 'We don't want to go out with a really big band. We don't ever want to be the band that has to go out first and they'll turn your (volume) down, and put you on the corner and make you look minuscule or whatever.' But when we found out they were such big fans, we knew that they wouldn't treat us like that."

KOL, who take their band name from their father and paternal grandfather, established themselves across the pond first with their 2003 debut, Youth And Young Manhood.

It seems that the brothers' background as the sons of a travelling southern preacher fascinated the British press, while their music drew celebrities ranging from Chrissie Hynde to Noel Gallagher to their shows.

(Photo: Mark O'Neill, SUN)

"At the beginning I think it was more about our story," said Nathan, seated beside Caleb at a downtown bar. "I think they were surprised that we had socks and shoes on when we showed up. We had big hair, moustaches, beards. Now the story's been told a thousand times so luckily this record, it's all about the music."

At the same time, KOL developed reputations as major partiers and womanizers, whether it was true or not.

"Everything was 'sons of a preacher, from the south, down the devil's road, doing all the drugs, all the beautiful girls that come to the show,'" said Caleb. "We're trying to make music. And we hope to God that people don't get wrapped up in everything that does surround that. 'Cause we are human and we do have flaws and we don't care. We like to have fun."

Still, Nathan did say travelling around as young boys with their father helped prepare them for life on the road as a rock band

"I would say it's exactly the same life except we swapped an Oldsmobile 98 for a tour bus, and the aftershows are a little more perverse," he said with a smile.

When KOL recently played L.A., however, it was their father, who is no longer a preacher, who was the recipient of some unwanted celebrity attention.

"Courtney Love tried to show him her boobs," said Caleb. "We were, like, 'Dude, stay away from her. She's a freak!'"

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