Top 5 Ways to Ruin a Perfectly Respectable Career, Featuring Kings of Leon

Is it really so hard to be Kings of Leon? That's a question that countless arena-rock sobsters have been asking themselves in the wake of the Followill clan's tour cancellation, a move which disappointed fans, upset beer manufacturers, and may damn near bankrupt Live Nation. Rather than revel in the sudden disappearance of what has quickly become the most annoying band in rock music, we would rather take the Followills' calculated descent into mediocrity as a warning sign for other bands facing similarly ephemeral bouts with fame. Should you ever be faced with a career worth sabotaging, here are a few steps to accelerate its ultimate demise.

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5. Actively fight against the things that made you cool.
When our buddies in KoL were first introduced to the indie rock scuffle, adjectives like "rubble-rousing" and comparisons to an imaginary, Southern Julian Casablancas were thrown around without a second thought. By the time their country-stomp classic second album Aha Shake Heartbreak weaved into pseudo-mainstream consciousness, many writers wanted to catch the raucous live performances from the "drink now, figure shit out later" Tennessee boys. Sellout cries came when the overly polished Only By the Night gained worldwide recognition, but instead of fighting back with loud rock antics and even louder music, Kings of Leon returned with the truly atrocious Come Around Sundown, an album that features tequila sunrise cover art and the same U2-reverb guitar tone on every track (which is, you know, a bad thing when you're a guitar band). In the process, they have effectively become to rock music what Will Smith is to acting: vapid, reliant on a few overused skills, and vaguely symbolizing the arrival of some kind of apocalypse.

4. Encourage radio syndicates to destroy every hit you've had.
Getting in bed with the big wigs at Clear Channel and Cumulus would normally seem like a great idea for a band that wants to remain financially viable -- unless it compromises every shred of remaining interest in your music. Surely, you've all heard "Use Somebody" approximately 8,354,627 times in the past three years, and while the harmonious "Oh oh oh"s and heartfelt lyrics probably intrigued you at one point, your likely reaction is now somewhere between a slight cringe and a violent expletive-laced outburst. The sad part: radio syndicates don't feel the slightest bit bad about this. Extremely overplayed singles benefit the bands financially in the short-term, and score huge paychecks for the radio execs, so giants like Clear Channel feel no guilt in bludgeoning casual listeners to the point where they have no choice but to hate the band. It's not the best strategy for any artist hoping to maintain long-term viability.

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29 comments
Astorre
Astorre

Everybody who loves the "Aha Shake Hearbreak" LP, "The Bucket", "Four Kicks", "King Of The Rodeo" Singles & "Day Old Belgian Blues" EP Era has been mourning... for a while. This is just a nightmare, the most amazingly brilliant artistically enhanced band of a generation and of a movement because Indie music was one. All thrown away. I think Caleb just can't come to terms with the reality of what this band is now, a fucking punch line, and no matter how much he rationalize it, he knows. I hope he quits this band. I still have a little faith in my hero, the man who wrote that music. "He Saw The Purity..."

Jayneross
Jayneross

Do you really mean that...you want him to quit the band? Caleb, 'The Bucket' and 'Four Kicks' are awesome...'The Bucket' about Jared, also 'The Face' about Lily - life moves on.  I admire your passion, but 'everybody' just isn't true...and I believe his problems, sadly, may run deep. I hope that's not the case..life will always be difficult for him if addiction has taken hold. 'Waters run deep' with Caleb - it makes him the genius he is, but I for one would be gutted if the band split..I love all phases of their work and hope there is more to come. Sorry you lost the buzz a while back...

CCsmiley
CCsmiley

Well said. I can't believe my eyes reading what all these haters have said. People are such losers talking about KOL. So they had a bad year. I can't believe how unsupportive people can be about addiction. Caleb needs love & support now, not a bunch of critics kicking him while he's down. And about their music, they are still so young! Think about how much a person changes thru their teen years & 20's! Of course their music would change! I love all of it, I listen to it all, it just depends what mood I'm in. Also, I saw them live a year ago, (wow!) & I have tickets for my birthday (last week) that I can't use now. I will get a refund & I can't wait for their next tour! I'll be there!

Haggie
Haggie

If you are drinking beer, you don't have an alcohol problem...

Yoyo
Yoyo

this article sucks.. and you talk like nathan's a poor musician which isn't the case..

Thunderstruck
Thunderstruck

Anyone who listened to their first album when it was released knows the Kings of Leon sold out a long time ago.

Jayneross
Jayneross

We saw them way back in the early days too - they played locally here at T4 on the Beach (never again I'm sure) and Glastonbury. Everybody moves on in life - experience and emotions change, so why should the guys lose cred because they've developed over the last 10 years?.  More recent stuff has been reinterpreted... 'Mary' was written way back. The O2 London gig in June rocked and included a lot of early stuff too - they're damned if they do or don't! The guys have developed personal relationships, married, fatherhood...so of course they will change as people, so why not their work? Wouldn't life be interesting if we all stayed the same, not learning and growing. And of course then they made the really big mistake producing two records that unexpectedly went global...well shame on them. Their fan base is incredibly varied...I just think the 'sold-out' rants are old news and often needlessly insulting. How well they are handling fame, fortune and intense touring is another issue........

Esm
Esm

KOL use to have heart. Trust me, I saw them live maybe 7 or 8 times. Early on they put on amazing shows, I had never seen anything like it. Seems that every time I saw them they got worse and worse. The heart was gone. Nobody would understand this unless they saw them live in their early days. They were rock and roll and slowly became Nickleback, or at least stole Nickleback fans.

Guest
Guest

Oh my, such butthurt by KoL fans...

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kim
kim

Everyone has a different opinion and likes different music. Obviously you have a strong hate for kol but doesn't change the opinion of the people who like them.

Jayneross
Jayneross

What an ass! Was victim of 'O2 fire' gig fiasco so can see some sense in point 1, and clearly there are serious problems that need sorting - but the rest is just hatred. KoL are usually amazingly brilliant live, and they've not produced a bad song yet.  All 5 albums are different - so what...and if you don't like it - listen to something that makes you a better person. 

Andrew
Andrew

This article is spot on. They were 10x better playing their gritty southern rock than this new arena anthem kick. What ever happened to the long hair and 70's outfits? They changed for the fame, they even admit it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

JC
JC

I'm pretty sure live nation will be all right.  The tour wasn't doing that well anyways from what I've heard.

Dan
Dan

What a load of rubbish. Obviously written by some sort of Katy Perry, or whatever American alternative you listen to, douchebag. Grow up, and stop hating on KoL, they're amazing and like some other comments say on here, stop making a mountain out of a mole hill you pompous muppet.

Adnohr
Adnohr

Anyone who knows anything about KoL knows they've been touring nonstop for years. They were trying to give their fans what the fans wanted. Unfortunately, they're human & require rest. That simple. Don't judge & don't listen to their music or the media about them if you don't like them. Again, it's really just that simple.

Sean Capener
Sean Capener

"Don't judge & don't listen to their music or the media about them if you don't like them."

Thank god that's not how music press actually works...

adnohr
adnohr

Whatever dude. You seem smart.

lethargicj
lethargicj

When did people get so politically correct that even our rock stars can't be assholes?  

I've never seen a bigger mountain made out of a smaller mole hill in my life.  Get a grip you douche.

Gboardman25
Gboardman25

He vomits backstage because of stage fright every single show, not because he drank too much. Hes nearly 30 years old you dont think he knows his limit?

Andrew
Andrew

uuhh you can be 80 and have a drinking problem.

lucy
lucy

you know that they never stop .Sure the fans should be dissapointed but give the KINGS  a break.I will always buy and listen to thier music.So shut up mfr!!!

Amart4
Amart4

Wow someone is a hater. Caleb had alcohol issues but he also has a super unique voice that needs rest, and dudes also a newlywed, cut him some slack. Everyone is crying about how he needs rehab and thats why the tour was canceled. Well, here's a thought- these guys aren't exactly the jonas brothers are they? So don't expect them to act like it. Kings of Leon are still #1!!

Dave b
Dave b

Suck my dick asshole, thought this was a page for Fans. Your obviously not. So beat it looser.

TK
TK

If they can bring down Live Nation, more power to them. They will have accomplished something very special and very important.

I remember seeing them years ago at Slim's and thinking they were pretty fucking awesome.  Sad to see the trajectory they took after that initial Southern Strokes thing.

Greg
Greg

"Because of the Times" was the beginning of the end. They could have passed that off as an album experimenting with pop, but Only By The Night really showed they weren't fucking around with becoming a shitty alt-rock radio band. Plus, they've acted like pompous douchebags for the better part of their career. No sympathy here. 

Fred
Fred

Trust the pigeons.  They know who to shit on.

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