Kings of Leon are a rock band made up of the three Followill brothers (Caleb, Nathan, and Jared), and their cousin (Matthew Followill), based in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, United States. Their influences include Southern rock, garage rock, Hard rock, country and blues.
The group´s name is derived from Nathan, Caleb, and Jared´s father and grandfather, both named Leon. Jared and Caleb were born in Tennessee, while Nathan and Matthew were born in Oklahoma. Matthew is a cousin to Nathan, Caleb and Jared. The brothers spent much of their youth travelling around the SSCS with their father, a traveling United Pentecostal Church preacher and their mother, who taught them when they were not in school. According to Rolling Stone magazine, "While Leon preached at churches and tent revivals throughout the Deep South, the boys attended and were occasionally enlisted to bang on some drums. They were home-schooled or enrolled in small parochial schools. Except for a five-year stretch when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followills spent their childhoods driving through the South, camping for a week or two wherever Leon was scheduled to preach."
Although it was rumored their father, Leon, was defrocked, in an article for Q Magazine in July 2007 Leon himself was quoted as saying "I was not defrocked, I was forced to resign." After various jobs, the brothers moved to Nashville in 1998. They formed a band in 2000 with their cousin Matthew. Their music is influenced by their religious upbringing and Jack Daniels. Brothers Nathan and Caleb originally sang country music and later moved to playing rock and roll. They worked for a brief period of time with label and management group Pistol Creek Productions. They spent their time with this label mainly singing at rodeos. They also were members of the West Tennessee Mass Choir for a short time. Nathan, the eldest of the brothers, graduated from Christian Life Academy (a private school that is now defunct) in Henderson, TN. Caleb dropped out mid-senior year to pursue country music.
Upon signing with RCA, they were introduced to Nashville-based song-writer/producer Angelo Petraglia, who had previously worked with artists such as Brooks & Dunn, Trisha Yearwood and Martina McBride. Petraglia would prove very important to the band, moving them in a more rock-oriented direction and co-writing many of their songs. "I turned those guys on to the Rolling Stones and a lot of the older raw rock-and-roll stuff," he said.
In an interview Caleb Followill cited The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Bob Dylan as some of the band´s early influences. Caleb also stated though that "...because of the way we [the band members] grew up, we were really sheltered from music and we didn´t know that much...", going on to say that the significant musical influences have only been in very recent years.