Their daddy (in the case of one, his uncle) was a preacher man, they're known by their middle names, and their band is named after their father and grandfather (or uncle and great-uncle), both called Leon.
In 1999, the Followills -- brothers Anthony Caleb, Ivan Nathan and Michael Jared and cousin Cameron Matthew -- formed Kings of Leon, a band that blended the sounds of their upbringing in the Pentecostal church, Southern rock, blues and later, alternative rock.
But their roots are in rural America, and on Sunday, April 21, Showtime presents "Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon," which anchors its tale in an annual family reunion in Talihina, Okla.
First-time filmmaker Stephen C. Mitchell has taken his skills and his longtime association with the band and crafted a portrait of a group of guys he still doesn't fully understand.
For example, while the story of a God-fearing country boy who strays from the path into the devil's music is not a new one, Mitchell isn't sure where this iteration of the tale will end.
"It still confuses me," he says, "or they do, at times. That's a very frank comment I can make. Their world is a combination of many elements."
After traveling the revival circuit with their father, whom they idolized, the Followill siblings got a shock when he turned out to have feet of clay.
"When they saw their father was a person who was human and made mistakes," says Mitchell, "even though he was saving souls and trying to do the right thing, I think it forever confused them."
Asked whether he thinks the Followills will continue the rock-star life, return to their roots or find something in between, Mitchell says, "Isn't that the million-dollar question?
"I don't know that we've seen the pinnacle of Kings of Leon yet. These guys are not angry kids trying to figure out what's going on, and they're confused and heartbroken. They're married, having children, excited about their career path.
"I call myself Kings of Leon fan No. 1, and I can't wait to see what's next."
'Talihina Sky' delves into the world of Kings of Leon
Anthony Caleb Followill
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