Kings of Leon Reading Festival three Followill brothers spent much of their youth traveling around the Southern United States with their father, Ivan “Leon” Followill, an itinerant United Pentecostal Church preacher and their mother, Betty-Ann, who taught them when they were not in school. Caleb and Jared were both born in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, while Nathan and Matthew were born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to Rolling Stone magazine, “While Leon preached at churches and tent revivals throughout the Deep South, the boys attended services and were occasionally enlisted to bang on some drums. They were either home-schooled or enrolled in small parochial schools at this time. Except for a five-year period when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followill’s childhoods were spent driving through the south in a purple 1988 Oldsmobile, decamping for a week or two wherever Leon Reading Festival was scheduled to preach.”When the boys’ father resigned from the church and divorced his wife in 1997, the boys relocated to Nashville and embraced the rock music and lifestyle they had previously been denied. While there, they met songwriter Angelo Petraglia, who helped the siblings hone their songwriting skills and introduced them to the musical influences of the Rolling Stones, The Clash, and Thin Lizzy in particular. Six months later, Nathan and Caleb signed with RCA Records, who insisted that the duo recruit more members for the band before launching their career. The band was formed when cousin Matthew and younger brother Jared were asked to join. They named themselves Kings of Leon Reading Festival in honor of Nathan, Caleb, and Jared’s father (Matthew’s uncle) and grandfather, who were both named Leon.
In an interview, Caleb admitted to “kidnapping” their cousin Matthew from his hometown in Mississippi in order for him to join the band. They told his mother that he was just staying for a week, but they consequently never allowed him to return home. Drummer Nathan added, “When we signed the deal with RCA, it was just me and Caleb. The label told us they were going to put a band together, but we said, ‘We’re going to buy our little brother a bass, he’s a freshman in high school. Caleb will teach himself the guitar. Our cousin Matthew played guitar when he was 10 and I’ll play drums.’ The record label agreed,”.
Kings of Leon History – Reading Festival (1999-2002) Line up