The Rise of Kings Of Leon

In putting their fourth album together in just a few months, Jackson started to write in a rhythm that would eventually turn to old-school jazz and his vocals became more sensual– almost androgynous. The production had a bit of an ’80s ‘silver fringe’ and the trackwriting took on a ’90s ’emotional flick’ attitude as well. Three decades on from their triple-platinum breakthrough, the LA-dwelling Kings of Leon have managed to cope with success — by becoming messianic, self-regarding “heirs” of world music.

And as if their early success was a bonus, they’re bringing excitement to the festival circuit once again – a trip to Switzerland, Canada and their hometown of San Diego, California on Nov 26, plus gigs in Japan, Russia and Iceland.

Some of our favourite lyrics from ‘Only By The Night’…

“It’s not even loud, it’s just so clear,/The sweetest sound I know on the old records/Won’t you please go dance, won’t you? Not just dance, I wanna shake your hand/Go and listen to the sounds of love”

“Things that belong together are outstandingly heaven/Martyrroses pretending to sin as we mock them”

“Nothing to put on the matches, nothing for the broomstick/Hope the fire won’t go too hot/You didn’t even want to try when you took it”

“Remember the good old days we used to let fellas get away with it”

’You’re Gonna Miss Me’ was released in 1998 and cracked the Top 10 in the UK (and a lucky few American shores as well). The album topped the Official Albums Chart for a week, was #45 in the Official Singles Chart, and set a whole new standard for what makes an album – listenable. It was such a commercial success that there were rumours that both British and American presidents were discussing it when they were caught up in a firefight in the Sahara Desert while hunting “terrorist-guest” Osama bin Laden. We’ll never know for sure, but the album was a massive catalyst for Kings Of Leon’s success up until this very day.

Since debuting six years ago on America’s KROQ, they’ve spent countless months getting gigs in American bars and clubs but also hitting us with an incredibly wide range of personal vignettes. I’ll give you just one example….

Check out this statement about ’You’re Gonna Miss Me’…

’You are one of the sweetest songs I have ever heard. You have written it with such ability. I hope everything works out with this man who has been my godfather for five years. I’ve changed my friendship with Bowie since he passed away because I can’t believe he crossed over to make music in this strange new alien world ‒ saxophone

Two years ago, the band had 2015 marked out as ‘Only By The Night’ returned to the UK scene. “It was a real eye-opener for me because I realised I [had] started from day one with a dedication to this music,” Jackson says. “It’s my life. It’s been since I was twelve years old. It’s not like I were just walking into an investment bank.”

We asked him what he hopes others take away from this new album.

“The songs we have written today are not old songs that I have picked and lifted,” he say. “It was one of the easier songs we had to perform, because I had sold it on the radio the year before. So the entire album is our writing right now – those songs and lyrics today. This is the music we’re living the music– the lyrics and the tunes – so it was a natural progression [for] us.”

He goes on to explain that they never imagined that They Might Be Giants’ “Everybody Has A Theory” or their guest track, “Little Joy”, were going to be major hits. “Everything didn’t go our way personally on ‘Only By The Night’, but creatively it’s working. It’s an evolution. ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ is the inspiration to continue working.”

25 Years On – Foo Fighters Best Bits

‪That’s understandable. It was a monumental time in American Rock music. Something had to be done — in metal as well as Foo Fighters.

I went on tour with the band the day after Cobain’s suicide and was lucky enough to get a studio tour with Grohl and the rest of the band. I walked in on the band doing some rehearsals in September 1994, nearly three years before an album was ever recorded, and couldn’t believe it.

Here they were, me and some strangers (and bugs) behind the scenes, on a recording studio teeming with Grohl and his crew. The sound man ran through a slew of demo tapes or outtakes laying around the studio walls. There was even a reel of the notoriously difficult “Footsteps,” the first song on the album that went from a self-titled concept, to the band delving deeper into a previously left untouched album.

Sure, recording in a live environment is different than recording in a studio. But, look, Grohl is Grohl.

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“Footsteps” is a great song. It certainly helped land the band on Top of the Pops. It’s iconic.

But might as well welcome Dave to the arena with us. Who doesn’t love a little “Hail to the Chief” by hindsight?

You have to hear the studio outtakes to believe it. The band menaced mastering engineers with their single-kick drums of judgement. The band manage to speak into the mic breathlessly and drive it home with a string section. This was just too much. And YES, TEARS.

Other highlights from Grohl’s studio tour ran through a garage setting contrasting Dave’s energetic excitement with the psychedelic adventure the band had hoped for. Yes, they came close to not doing anything at all on the mix, though I’ll take what I can get.

Inside the control room, Dave verbalized his take on making the tune:

“It is a song about just blasting through and not worrying here about what other people are doing around you. Mike (Dennis Lyxzén) wanted something that had a chugging jolt and the vocal line is like sort of a zit on the forehead of what was going on with me at the time, so I said, fine. This is what we had.

“What you hear is a fuzzed up pedalboard. That was it, yeah. That was the main thing.”

To be notified of future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame articles, as well as Cephalic Carnage’s next project, Punkstein, follow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but no classes yet.

Croak out loud and buckle up on White Pine River! People to watch for include Thurston Moore, Andra Day, Chris Douglass, Phil Lesh, Lindsay Buckingham, Warren Haynes, Scott Weiland, and local rock hero, Anthony Phillips (real name: Phillip Drayton).

David Crockett is the founder and editor-in-chief of Crockettlander.com.

Crackhead is a proud member of the Chicago music scene and a published member of the Viceroy and several other underground dance and electronic music magazines and festivals. He is the co-founder of Audiohammer Productions, a modern music publishing company who received three nominations for Best Artwork in 2012 and won with Phantasmagoria. Records by Genix, The Rejects and Webster X hold a special place in his heart.

Crackhead’s Books are published by Audiohammer Productions. Check out The Rejects record label, the label of legendary punk virtuoso Michael Angelo, legendary Deep in the Heart of Alaska artist John Navarro, and the Great Battles record label to name but a few.