Most bands would jump at the chance to have their music heard by millions on shows like "Glee," "American Idol," or "Ugly Betty." But, as it turns out, Kings Of Leon are not most bands. In fact, singer Caleb Followill told NME magazine this week that they'd nixed a request from "Glee" producers to use their songs on the show.
Caleb added that he and the rest of the band have actually never seen the series--which could either make the rejection seem less personal, or just add insult to injury. "Apparently everybody loves it," the singer said of the little show they've never bothered to catch.
"We could have sold out so much more," added brother/bassist Jared Followill. "We turn stuff down constantly."
Like? "We got an offer to appear on an episode of 'Ugly Betty.' They wanted us to play ourselves. We were supposed to come in and help her out with some problem or other."
Poor Betty; when you're too ugly for guys who look like mountain men, that's pretty ugly. (We suppose this means our dreams of ever seeing KOL show up someday at the Peach Pit are even dimmer now.)
The rejections fly fast and furious in Leon-land. "We had some people call us up wanting to know if we'd allow 'Use Somebody' to appear in the trailer for their next movie, and we turned them down," Caleb told NME. "Next day, they called back and tried to put us through to the star of the movie--I won't name names, but he's an incredibly famous actor--to let him try and convince us to agree to do it. I was like, 'Man, don't even waste your energy.'"
Hmmm. One can imagine what goes down at KOL HQ. "Ryan Murphy on line one? Tom Cruise on line two? Tell 'em we're out!"
On the one hand, in a time where anything goes when it comes to licensing and exposure, it's refreshing that there is still a rock 'n' roll band out there capable of following the letter N with the letter O. For reasons either guided or misguided, KOL believe it would be cheesy to have their music covered on "Glee" or "Idol," and they're nearly alone in not caving.
Previously, writer-producer Ryan Murphy recently claimed, only two artists had ever turned "Glee" down for song rights, and one of those did a turn-about. "My favorite rejection was Bryan Adams," Murphy said, with perhaps a hint of sarcasm, at the Emmy Comedy Showrunners Roundtable in June. "Coldplay and Bryan Adams were really the only rejections. But Coldplay called a week ago and said, 'We're sorry, you can have our catalog.'"
So at least KOL have the "Summer Of '69" dude as a fellow holdout against The (Choral) Man.
There are a few others who won't give in to the generally rampant licensing and advertising offers that almost every act is pursuing as a lifeline while record sales dry up. Tom Petty, for one, still refuses to accept tour sponsorship, something that's not even an issue for most rockers in this commercialized day and age. So KOL may be toeing a similar line of integrity.
Or are they? It's been pointed out that the group did license three songs for "Gossip Girl" back in 2008. Were they more naïve about the corrupting ways of prime-time television then? Or is it just that "Gossip Girl" star Ed Westwick is friendly with the band? Maybe there's no blanket policy and you just have to pal around with KOL to getting their permission.
What do you think of Kings Of Leon's protectiveness when it comes to licensing songs to shows like "Glee" and "Idol"? Is it honor, or folly?