Roadrunner Records - Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting…
- Posted on Apr 20th 2011 1:00PM by Cameron Matthews
Kevin Mazur, Getty Images
When you met the band 10 years ago, was religion still a big deal to them, or were they leaving that realm?
They had left that world behind because their parents' divorce led them to that moment in time. So no, Nathan and Caleb were not attending church at that time. [But] they're still religious.
What is the significance of the song 'Talihina Sky' to you and the band?
It's one my favorite songs of theirs and it was a hidden track on their first EP. I believe it was also a hidden track on their first LP, but [there are] two different versions of the song. What inspired me is that the family reunion is based in Talihina, Okla., and that's obviously who we feature in the film, so it was perfect and basically made sense to go with that song. The version the boys play at the end of the film is actually an acoustic broken-down version of the first EP hidden track, the original version by their longtime producer Angelo [Petraglia].
Do any of the band members have a particular connection to Oklahoma?
Two of the boys were born there. All of their fathers, uncles as well, are based in Oklahoma City. Their grandparents live in Oklahoma City, so the Followill family is actually based out of Oklahoma. It's their mother whose family is based in Tennessee, but [the boys] moved to Nashville for a music career after their father left the church and wasn't preaching any longer. Their parents got divorced, they moved to Nashville and that's when I met them in the garage, and they were wanting to take a run at rock music since they knew they had musical talents.
How was seeing them play for that first time?
It's a moment in time I'll never forget. I was standing in the middle of them in that tiny little garage and I had a camera going. What's funny is that footage, we lost somehow. But I just stood there and filmed them, and it's almost surreal now looking back there and hearing songs like 'Wicker Chair' and 'Molly's Chambers' before anyone in the world.
Does Caleb still think he's going to Hell?
[Laughs] Oh, golly [laughs]. No, Caleb's not going to hell. He's a good kid.
How does the band interact? Are they a functioning family?
Well, show me a perfect family. They're just like any other family in many ways. You couple that with some people that are like none others on planet earth. They're almost like a football team. They work really hard. They want to win, and they want to be a great band and they all push each other and that's not a pretty process sometimes.
Plus, they're brothers, so a brother can say anything they want to another brother and a cousin's just as bad. You throw that in there and it's just like an explosion.
I tell my brothers, my own brothers, I say some of the worst things that have ever come out of my mouth to them. So if I had a band with them and were that competitive like the Followills are? I admire them though. They still have a chip on their shoulder to be the best and I love that about them.
There is a moment in the trailer where someone off-camera tells Caleb "we had made you, you little piece of s---." Can you elaborate on that?
That's Nathan. That's his oldest brother and those two have notoriously gone at each other over the years. They've had knockout -- I mean broken shoulders, pulled hair, trying to stab each other. Those two are like twins almost. They're so close but they're too close, if that makes sense. That's Nathan and that's because he loves his brother, and his brother knows he loves him back. That's how they communicate and they want to make sure they stay focused as a team.
Angelo Petraglia is known as the mysterious fifth King. Is he in the film?
Angelo is in the film. Angelo really gives you a look at when he's first meeting them and the band is forming. He's very supportive and has been there since the early days and I've known him, too. You get to hear Angelo talk and you also get to see him in the studio with the band throughout various albums.
How do the boys interact with their father now?
They love their dad, they really do. I do, too. Uncle Ivan, I call him. He's like a lot of us. He's human, and the boys are rooting for him and want him to be happy and do well in life. He just has some struggles there, like a lot of us.
Which band members are you closest with? Are you still in touch with all of them?
I'm definitively still in touch with all of them. I've known them for 10 years. Like I said, I knew them before they formed the band. You do develop a true friendship with both them and their family members. They're always going to be friends of mine and I hope I'm always invited to go to family reunions.
I really feel very close to all the boys in a different way, particularly both Nathan and Caleb just that they were originally the ones that stepped out. I have a different relationship with each of them that's as intense and meaningful in its own way and that's really special to me. Jared's like a little brother and he's crazy and Matthew's just the coolest guy around.
As a filmmaker, what did you learn from working with the band?
That's my first film, so I was really learning from the ground up. Casey McGrath, who is my partner, he produced the film. He pretty much had a hand in developing my skill set as well. I feel very fortunate that from the point the boys gave me an opportunity to do this, just really because I had a desire to do so, but I was inexperienced, and they allowed me the room to grow and make mistakes but really push me to go for it too. I got to meet Casey, who introduced me to Paul Greenhouse, our editor, who just killed this thing for us, and Josh Levine, a co-producer of ours. Through those guys, I was really able to surround myself with more talented people than myself, with this director opportunity the boys had provided me.
Do you feel like another member of the band?
I always call myself Kings of Leon fan No. 1. I've got the title belt, and it's mine and I'm always going to be Kings of Leon fan No. 1, and that's something I'm very proud of. It's a little f---ing surreal at times.
What's the biggest challenge you faced during the entire filming process?
I would say the swirl that is [the band's] daily world. What drives through this band is very intense and you top that with their desire to do stuff that's groundbreaking at a quality level where the bar's really high. You don't get to do sub-par work. You have to do out-of-your-mind better than you ever thought you could do [to] work for them. That's challenging and invigorating at the same time.
What's the best Kings of Leon show you've been to?
The best show ever was 2008 at Oxygen, just outside of Dublin -- Irish people just get f---in' nuts. They're bonkers! They get so drunk. They sing every word, every background vocal part. They sing the guitar solo parts and they're going f---ing nuts!
The dudes get so fired up with joy, they're not even mad and they're punching each other in the face. It's awesome.