A lot has changed for Nashville rock outfit Kings of Leon since July 29, 2011, when frontman Caleb Followill drunkenly rambled during a show in Dallas, Texas and soon walked offstage. Allegations of alcohol abuse and a tweet from bassist Jared Followill about "internal sickness" followed, nudging the quartet into the longest hiatus of their decade-long career.
But on September 24 KoL return with their sixth studio release, Mechanical Bull, and as a new, more mature band. In the downtime, drummer Nathan Followill was married and both he and Caleb welcomed new children into the clan. The rowdy, drunken Southern boys are growing up.
"[There's] a lot more baby bottles than beer bottles now!," Nathan told Rolling Stone. "We had one song that ended up not making it on the record. It had all of our kids' names on it. We kept it internally to play for the wives."
The drummer also discussed the band in-fighting following their last album, 2010's Come Around Sundown, and reconvening after a full-year hiatus to record Mechanical Bull.
"Being a family band, we were bound to have that awkward first time hangout at a show or at Christmas or Thanksgiving," he said. "There's no avoiding it. If the band even stopped, we're still a family and would see each other. So that wasn't a thought in any of our minds. We all knew we needed a break, but we knew it wasn't over."
Last November, the band met-up and "started kicking ideas around in this sh-tty-ass place we bought that we turned into a studio," he said. KoL often write on the road, accumulating song ideas from jam sessions during soundcheck, so their break forced the quartet to return to their original songwriting style. "We had to go back to the blueprint of what we did on our first album, when we locked ourselves in a house and rolled the dice."
Followill says the new LP's sound is diverse, with tracks referencing hard rock, country and even funk.
"There are a couple songs that could be considered country ballads, even though they're not country songs," he said. "One song has more of a Queens of the Stone Age feel. Another one sounds more like Sly and the Family Stone."
"It's all across the board," he adds.
Watch Kings of Leon's new music video for Mechanical Bull single "Supersoaker" below.