Michael Jared Followill (born November 20, 1986), also known as Jared Followill, is the bass guitarist of American rock band Kings of Leon. He is also the band's pianist. He is the brother to fellow band members, lead singer Caleb Followill and drummer Nathan Followill, and cousin to lead guitarist Matthew Followill.
Followill was born to Betty-Ann, John and Ivan Leon Followill, a Pentecostal evangelist minister, who traveled around the American South.He and his brothers, fellow band members Nathan and Caleb grew up travelling with their father, often sleeping in churches, their car or friend's houses, and their mothers Betty-Ann and John taught them when they were not in school. After several years of preaching around the south, their father left the church and Ivan and Betty-Ann divorced. However, Ivan remarried and is now dedicated to the work of the Lord, again.
He was asked to join the band when he was 14 years old although he had never played the bass prior to joining the band and originally did not want to be the bassist. He taught himself within a month before the recording of Youth and Young Manhood, when he was 16 years old.
Followill mainly uses a Gibson Thunderbirds IV Alpine White, Ebony, but has now removed the scratchplate from the Ebony Thunderbird, creating an all-black look. He also smashed the Alpine White Thunderbird on the last gig of Kings of Leon's 2009 Australian tour. Jared prefers the Ebony Thunderbird, but used his Vintage White Thunderbird for live shows because it produced a better phone for the band as a whole. He is rarely seen with another bass but he can also be seen using a Gibson EB-3.Followill has also played a Fender Jazz Bass, a Gibson EB-0, and Fender Precision Bass on earlier Kings of Leon albums, but used Thunderbirds exclusively on Because Of The Times, Only By the Night and for recent live shows. Jared uses D'Addario EXL165 Bass strings (Gauges 45-105), and his picks are .88 GrippX Standard, made by InTune Guitar Picks
Jared Followill mainly plays with a pick, though he has stated that he finds finger style easier.He also uses his thumb to pluck the strings when he plays higher on the neck. He uses effects, particularly distortion, because he dislikes clean sounds. His tone is also heavy on higher frequencies because he tries to make his bass sound like a distorted baritone guitar. Followill cites influences such as Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order, Kim Deal of The Pixies, and Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes.
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