At their heart, Kings of Leon is a family band. Brothers Nathan, Caleb and Jared Followill started the band in 1999 and brought their cousin Matthew Follwill into the mix. They broke out of their native Nashville and onto heights most bands can only dream of. They’ve had 12 Grammy nominations, a platinum record, and have played in front of millions. And they’ve got a record coming out March 5 called “When You See Yourself.”
Despite all this, Nathan Followill shows in this interview, that they still have family at the heart of everything they do.
Thank you for getting some music out there on “When You See Yourself,” we’ve been playing it and loving it. So thank you for that.
Well, thank you so very much for playing it. It feels good to have new stuff out there to be played. Having to sit on it for a minute was a little difficult, but we’re definitely thrilled to finally get it out there for sure.
I heard about how long that you have been sitting on it. So we’re glad to hear it too. And we’ve been playing Kings of Leon since the beginning of our station and we’ve been playing your music and I wonder what you listen to. So I would love to talk about… We’re going to air this and I would love to come out of it with a song. So if you could play a song on the radio that you’ve been listening to recently, what is like a song that you would play?
Oh my goodness. We’re pretty nostalgic around here. My wife is a musician as well, so she’s really into what we play around dinner time and stuff like that. There’s always music playing in our household except for nap time. Mama Bear gets upset when we play music during nap time. Yes, my wife, I was fortunate enough to marry a beautiful Italian girl who was an amazing cook in the kitchen, and her dad is a chef who owns a few restaurants in New Jersey. So food is a huge part of our lives.
My wife’s cooking and the island in our kitchen is where 90% of the action happens anyway. So we’ve always got music playing while dinner’s being made. And then while dinner is being served, we’re always listening to music. And I mean, but it can be anything from, oh my gosh, from African funk, from Nigerian funk from the seventies to Harry Nilsson, to at Etta James, my daughter is obsessed with Billie… is it Eilish?
Okay. For my pick, I mean, it would probably be something so off cuff. I mean, I’d say probably be like a Harry Nilsson.
Oh, you’re speaking straight to my heart. I love Harry Nilsson.
Yeah. I would say probably Remember by Harry Nilsson would be a song that we listened to quite a bit around here, so that would probably be a one that I would play that people would not expect, I don’t think.
What draws you to him?
His style of singing and storytelling and just the whole story of him. I think he was some sort of a salesman and they had written a song that maybe the Monkeys had cut for him. And I remember his agent calling him and saying, “Now you can your day job now.” So I remember hearing that story and I thought that was so neat, but yeah, just a great… I mean, I’m just a sucker for that type of singer songwriter. I’m a big Randy Newman fan.
Why the song “Remember” in particular?
Man, I don’t know if that’s just one, we’d just pick in general. That might be one that comes up the most on say if we’re listening to a soundtrack, or just on Alexa, or a playlist that my wife has made. That was just one that just came to mind. But we’re big Nilsson fans. The Arrow, my daughter is eight and my son is two and that’s a staple in the household as well.
Nathan, what’s your role in the kitchen? Are you cooking? Are you strictly playlist duty?
I am strictly making sure the volume is just right on the music and I’m a hell of a taste tester. I don’t think a drummer should ever have knives in his hand ever. It’s just not a good idea, in my opinion. But I’ll taste just about anything, but I save the actual cooking to my wife. She’s the pro, when it comes to that.
What are the kids’ favorite thing to eat right now?
We are so fortunate to have kids that eat everything. I mean, my son Oliver, honestly, broccoli is probably his favorite thing right now, which is so crazy to say. My daughter, Violet, loves clams linguine. That’s her favorite dish right now, I would say. So we get spoiled here at home. Mama knows what she’s doing.
That’s great to hear. I love the idea of all of you cooking and eating and listening to Harry Nilsson. That’s a dream. That’s a perfect scene.
Yes. I mean, what else are we going to do nowadays? It’s perfect. This is the time to do it.
I’ve kind of tried to make that the silver lining and all this madness that we’re going through is I would normally have already toured a record, and probably been on round two of touring this record, depending on what part of the world we’re in. So I in a way feel like I have stolen this time with my kids that I normally would not have gotten to have, or to enjoy.
So although it is saddening to not be able to be out there, play and the record and playing this music live, which we want to so bad. But on the other hand, it has been great to give my kids drum lessons, and just to just do things that dad’s get to do. I get to where my dad and my husband hat right now, instead of my band member hat, which is nice.
But yeah, just we’re all about family and family time and getting in as much as we can. So that has definitely been our silver lining for sure.
That’s great. I love to hear that so much. And I’m going to respect your time here. I think you’ve got another interview in a minute, so I’m going to let you go and thank you for making this music and thanks for sharing this slice of your life with me here.
Yes, sir. No problem. And one question for you.
Is Five O’Clock Steakhouse still going strong in Milwaukee?
[Laughs] Yes, it is. Yes, it is.
Okay. I was going to ask about that, because I know some places have had to shut down due to obvious reasons, but I was like, “I’ve got to check on Five O’Clock Steakhouse, that’s our spot we go to when we’re in town.” So I had to check in on them. So that’s good to hear.
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