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He started writing songs and was influenced by bands like Thin Lizzy, the Rolling Stones, and the Clash in particular.
The brothers and their cousin got together in 1999 to form Kings of Leon, named after their grandfather.
“It’s three-two-one, now you got to say something, and a lot of the time it’s the most honest stuff you can say.” Last year, recording Rock City, he let rip with that soulful voice that makes everything sound like a matter of life and death: “I’ve been several miles and plenty more / And I found myself face first on the floor / Searching for something, and never finding something / And I don’t know where I belong / I’m just trying to get myself back home.” “The song damn near wrote itself,” recalls Caleb.
“You could tell he was pouring his heart out,” Nathan tells me.
When the venue is a catwalk, all eyes are on supermodel Lily Aldridge, but when the venue is an overcrowded rock arena, all eyes are on Lily Aldridge’s husband, Caleb Followill, who sings lead vocals and plays rhythm guitar for Kings of Leon.
Amps and guitars litter the floor, surrounding a drum kit with the letters KOL roughly taped to the black skin of the bass drum.
It was here that Caleb first unveiled his latest batch of songs to his band mates.
He has continued what he has been doing since he first picked up a guitar: improvising verses the way his preacher father came up with sermons.
“In a way I lash out at everyone else ’cause that’s when I start to point fingers at myself.” When I interviewed him again in 2010, Caleb was drinking champagne before noon and telling me he was generally only sober “for the first 30 minutes of every day”.
He has always struck me as a sensitive and conflicted character, torn between the moral strictures of a religious upbringing and the freedom of rock ’n’ roll.
Ivan was a United Pentecostal Church preacher, and while he held services throughout Oklahoma and the Southern states, Caleb and his brothers would sometimes play drums.