'Glee's' Ryan Murphy Regrets Kings of Leon Attack (Exclusive)
The showrunner tells THR the feud has taught him a lesson: "Don't say f*** you to someone in the press."
The Ryan Murphy-Kings of Leon feud has taken on a life of its own since The Hollywood Reporter first reported the Glee creator's comments in a January cover story. Now, Murphy tells THR, he wishes he'd expressed himself differently. Specifically, the part where he told the band, "F--k you" and called KOL's Followill brothers "self-centered assholes."
"I didn't speak with as much clarity as I would have liked," he said on the set of Glee Friday afternoon. "Who am I to say 'F--k you?' That's not what I meant. I completely understand when artists don't want a show or another artist to interpret their songs. In fact, I respect it. It's their personal work and I'd feel the same way. We get turned down all the time and I've don't fight it or even go back after a rejection."
Murphy points to a recent request to use a song by Bjork in the show, which the Icelandic singer turned down. "She read the scene and didn't think it was the right fit for her song," he recounts. "I told her, 'That's completely cool,' and she said to come back to her down the road. We deal with that every day."
Last month, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl also spoke out about the matter, siding with fellow rockers KOL, whom Murphy chided for "missing the big picture: that a 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument."
Said Grohl: "It's every band's right... F--k that guy for thinking anybody and everybody should want to do Glee."
Grohl's words seem to have stung Murphy, an admitted Foo Fighters fan. "I've never felt that if you don't give Glee your music, there's something diabolical about you," says Murphy. "To the contrary: I support artists and what they choose to do... I think Kings of Leon are cool as shit. The Foo Fighters are brilliant. We'd love to do one if their songs, if they were ever interested. But if it's not their thing, then OK. I personally wish them luck will still listen to their music."
Lesson learned? "Don't say f--k you to someone in the press," Murphy cracks. But on a more serious note, he adds: "I'm really proud of the fact that we can introduce songs to younger kids or their parents because I'm the biggest music fan. The show is about the love of performing and arts education -- things I think are very special."
While it's been more than two months since the story, and all its subsequent back and forth banter, first broke, there has been some headway in terms of a detente between Murphy and the Kings' Followill brothers. "We've been trading texts and emails and I support them," he says.
Indeed, THR reported that actress Gwyneth Paltrow, a close friend of Murphy's, had mediated a truce via text while taping her three-episode Glee story arc in February. Murphy can also take comfort in knowing he has Sir Elton John in his corner, who spoke about the brouhaha on Thursday's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Said John: "What the hell is wrong with you guys? 'Oh, we don't want our music played.' Well, Kings of Leon, lighten up ... listen, when someone wants to do your song, it's a compliment."
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