Rocked out? Meltdown puts Kings of Leon's future in doubt

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Hard partying and sibling tensions seem to have finally caught up with the Tennessee band

Kings of Leon, the band which placed groupies, hard drinking and drugs back on the rock agenda, have insisted they won't split up after an on-stage meltdown forced the cancellation of their US tour.

The Tennessee rockers – three brothers and their cousin – called a halt to a Spinal Tap-esque tour marred by exploding tour buses, defecating pigeons and drunken brawling. A Dallas concert, abandoned when singer Caleb Followill quit the stage, in order to "vomit" and "drink a beer", prompted the tour cancellation, attributed to the traditional rock ailment, "exhaustion".

However, contradictory tweets issued by the Followill brothers, amid reports of backstage inter-band rows, raised fears that Kings of Leon had inherited the fraternal-feuding crown from Oasis. The band initially blamed heat-induced dehydration for 29-year-old Caleb's Dallas walkout. But bassist Jared Followill, 24, and the youngest of the brothers, tweeted: "I can't lie. There are problems in our band bigger than not drinking enough Gatorade. There are internal sicknesses & problems that have needed to be addressed. No words."

Music-industry insiders said the band was in danger of "burning out" because they had failed to take time off since shooting to stadium-filling status with the 2008 hit "Sex On Fire".

The three brothers, sons of a Pentecostal preacher, had rebelled against their religious upbringing and fully embraced a "partying" lifestyle. Jared was barely 16 when the group began touring. Family tensions erupted during the recording of their 2010 Come Around Sundown album when Caleb and Nathan got into a drink-fuelled fight in the studio that left the singer with a broken arm, and the drummer with several bruises.

In a recent documentary film approved by the band, Nathan tells Caleb: "You get so fucking drunk and talk shit. Your band cannot stand you. You have got to get your fucking self together. We have made you, you piece of shit."

Their current tour, which included two sold-out nights at Hyde Park, has appeared ill-fated. A concert at the London O2 Arena was postponed when two tour buses used by the band were destroyed by fire. Last year, the band stormed off stage three songs into an open-air concert at St Louis after Jared was hit in the mouth and face by pigeon droppings. The band said the situation was "too unsanitary to continue".

Francis Rossi, the Status Quo frontman who is gearing up for yet another UK arena tour in the band's 44th year, had little sympathy with the band's predicament. "Kings of Leon had a meteoric rise but they've been indulged too much," he said. "There's no professionalism there whatsoever. Too many bands want to live this 1975 rock'n'roll myth they've read about. But everything has to be about performing the gig... A husband, wife, brother or cousin in the band is a recipe for disaster. Tweeting about your problems is suicidal. We all go a bit Spinal Tap in the end but Kings of Leon need to shape up if they want to be here in 40 years."

Kings of Leon, whose history of brawling includes a fight back stage at the 2009 Brit Awards, insisted they would return. A spokesman said: "The band is devastated, but in order to give their fans the shows they deserve, they need to take this break."

Jared responded to the cancellation by posting a video on Twitter of himself in the gym, violently pummelling a punchbag. "We are not breaking up!" tweeted Nathan. Matthew Followill, the lead guitar-playing cousin in the band, who recently became a father after his musician wife gave birth to a son, is wisely keeping his counsel. The Kings are due to return to the stage in Canada on 28 September. William Hill is offering 10/1 odds on the rockers not performing again this year.

The band, whose breakthrough 2008 Only By The Night album sold 6 million copies, released their first single in 2003. Their initial Southern rock and boogie influences have become increasingly streamlined into a more stadium-friendly sound.

Kings of Leon in tweets...

doctorfollowill (Nathan Followill)

So sorry Dallas, your heat got the best of a few of us. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience of all this bullshit. We'll be back soon – 30 July

youngfollowill (Jared Followill)

I love our fans so much. I know you guys aren't stupid. I can't lie. There are problems in our band bigger than not drinking enough Gatorade – 30 July

youngfollowill

Dallas, I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am. There are internal sicknesses & problems that have needed to be addressed. No words – 30 July

youngfollowill

Don't jump to conclusions guys. We're not breaking up. BRB. Just got a text from Nathan..... Ummm.... Eesh. So about what I just said....... – 1 Aug

Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'