The Kings of Leon have ditched their manager of 20 years, Ken Levitan, and signed with Irving Azoff, the music mogul who has managed the Eagles for 40 years. The Nashville quartet are playing a handful of shows this year, including a rodeo in Houston and Lollapalooza in Berlin.
The Nashville-based Levitan — who also manages Hank Williams Jr., Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood and Kesha — told me he isn’t angry.
“I was with the Kings for 20 years and took them from not having a song to being one of the biggest rock bands in the world,” Levitan said. “I’m friends with them. I love those guys, and wish them the best.”
As for Azoff — who partnered with James Dolan in Azoff MSG Entertainment and was responsible for bringing Phil Jackson to the Knicks — Levitan said, “Irving is what Irving is. They made their choice.”
A source close to the band says they followed their day-to-day manager Andy Mendelsohn, when he left Levitan’s Vector Management, to join Azoff’s Full Stop.
The aggressive Azoff, who is 5-foot-3, was dubbed the Poison Dwarf by enemy moguls, and is said to have inspired Randy Newman to write “Short People.”
“He lit menus on fire in restaurants, sent gifts of live boa constrictors to his rivals and once used a chain saw to cut a door through a hotel wall to a client’s room,” the New York Times reported in 2014.
Azoff’s roster, which he manages with his son, Jeffrey, includes Bon Jovi and Steely Dan, and younger artists, such as Harry Styles, Mark Ronson and Meghan Trainor.
And the Kings — three brothers and a cousin who named the band after their grandfather Leon — have a new prince. Frontman Caleb Followill and his wife, supermodel Lily Aldridge, welcomed a baby boy, Winston, Jan. 29.