Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill proudly proclaimed “I f—ing hate hipsters,” in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
And though he seemed rather resolute while saying it, when the band stopped by MTV News on Wednesday (October 20), Caleb’s brother/ Kings bassist Jared Followill took it upon himself to clarify that statement.
“He meant he hates having sex with hipsters,” Jared laughed. “Like, literally, he hates ’f—ing hipsters.’ ”
Although Jared was joking, his explanation almost makes more sense. Because there was a time, long before the breakout success of KOL’s 2008 album, Only By the Night, when the they sort of were hipsters themselves … or at least the kind of band that hipsters — particularly those in the British press — absolutely loved: epically maned (and mustachioed), tight-trousered Southern wildmen who partied hard and looked great doing it. They were never going to sell any albums, and that was part of the appeal.
Of course, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Caleb Followill doesn’t necessarily agree with any of that, which is why he had no problem declaring his hatred for the hip.
“I think when we were considered ’hipsters,’ if you will, we were never backing down from success; we were never doing that on purpose. When someone like U2 asked us to go on the road, we immediately were like, ’Yeah! Pearl Jam? Yeah! Bob Dylan? Yeah!’ They were all different things, and we wanted to get ourselves out there and for people to hear our music,” he said. “We weren’t dumbing it down, and there was never a point in our career where we were like, ’Oh man, I think we should scale it back otherwise we’re going to be popular.’ And anyone who acts like that, I think they’re full of it. No one wants to not succeed in what they do, and I think in any walk of life, you wanna be the best at what it is you do, and that’s always been our goal.
“And so, it’s not even necessarily the hipsters I have a problem with, it’s the critics that praise everything indie; everything indie is great,” Caleb continued. “And it’s like, ’Well, yeah, if that indie band is around in 10 years, you’ll be talking bad about them, because they’re no longer your little indie band.’ ”
The Kings of Leon are no longer anyone’s little indie band. Night sold more than 6.5 million copies worldwide, spawned a pair of hit singles here in the States, and earned the Followill boys four Grammys, including Record of the Year for “Use Somebody.” And their just-released follow-up, Come Around Sundown, seems almost certain to build on that success. It’s a full-bodied, big-reaching rock album, full of arena-size guitar solos and even larger choruses for the beer-drinking dudes and slow-burning, soft-touching ballads for their lady friends. In a lot of ways, it’s the album the Kings of Leon were destined to make … which was sort of the point.
“When we first started, we didn’t really know how to play our instruments, and so it sounded really lo-fi and people just assumed if you sound lo-fi, it’s on purpose and you’re indie,” Jared Followill said. “That wasn’t the case, we just weren’t very good.”
With Come Around Sundown, the Kings of Leon are saying “to hell with the hipsters” and reaching — unabashedly — for the stars. And if that means they’re no longer your favorite bloggers’ favorite band, so be it. At least they don’t have to answer questions about their mustaches anymore.
“That’s definitely a plus,” Caleb laughed. “There was a time when our mustaches spoke louder than our music.”
What do you think of Kings of Leon’s new album? Tell us in the comments!