A one block stretch of California Avenue east of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is being pitched for a renaming as Kings of Leon Lane in tribute to the band that spent their early years in Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City...
In [Talinina Sky: The Story of Kings], the band, consisting of brothers Caleb, Jared and Nathan Followill and cousin Matthew Followill, recalled growing up in poverty in Oklahoma City.
“We were living in the worst of the worst ghetto in Oklahoma City,” Caleb Followill said. “We literally had two pairs of pants for me and Nathan. I would wear one, and he would wear the other.”
As a pretentious indie music snob who also grew up in a scary, rundown part of Oklahoma City, I think this is great. Sure, it's easy to knock Kings of Leon as the Southern Strokes, but some of their early stuff is pretty good. I was always a super huge fan of the band in the late aughts whenever I would try to hook up with a girl I met at a bar in Bricktown...
"So, uhm, like, what music do you listen to?"
"Arcade Fire. Wolf Parade. Animal Collective."
"How about Kings of Leon?
"Oh my god I love them. Do you have Use Somebody on your iPod?"
Bricktown has an array of streets named after Oklahoma legends and heroes, including baseball greats Johnny Bench, Mickey Mantle and Joe Carter, and entertainers Charlie Christian and the Flaming Lips.
And the Kings of Leon have had a long affiliation. Brent Brewer, whose family has operated music venues in Bricktown for the past 30 years, remembers when the band was just getting known after initial success in Europe. The band played in the Brewers' small Bricktown Live venue in what is now the Jim Brewer Building along the Bricktown Canal. They returned twice more to play at the larger Bricktown Event Center, where each performance was sold out.
I like this idea of naming roads after local musicians who made their mark in the area. Maybe it's time to rename the street that runs in front of Kamps "My So Called Band Way." Who wouldn't be down with changing S. Robinson from SW 29th to SW 36th Hinder Lane?
The move was poo-pooed by a few people who enjoy complaining on social media. Local investigative journalist Briana "Even Flow" Bailey – a massive Pearl Jam fan who keeps all her car radio presets programmed to Sirius XM 22 – suggested the road be named after Color Me Badd instead:
I suggested as a compromise that we rename the street "I Wanna Sex You Up On Fire Boulevard," but with Bricktown apparently now having a homeless problem and all, that would be a cruel thing to do to CMB's former frontman Bryan Abrams. He doesn't need to be reminded each night how far his career has fallen.
The person behind the name change is, or course, the biggest celebrity skirt-chaser in Oklahoma City – Mayor David Holt. He went on a patented Twitter rant to defend and over-explain the reasoning behind it:
I agree with David on this one. As one who will be gentrifying Bricktown very soon, I'm all in favor of doing things that add some character to the neighborhood. Kings of Leon is an internationally recognized band, and naming a street after them will not only be kind of neat, but hopefully get them to come to OKC for a ribbon cutting dedication and get them to take a selfie with the mayor. Let's be honest — that's the real reason for all of this.