Kings of Leon have fond memories of Canada

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:27 PM ET

Kings of Leon's new album, Mechanical Bull, is generally seen as a return to form for the Nashville rock band.

So you might be surprised at one of guitarist Matthew Followill's biggest influences.

"Hall and Oates, he loves them," says bassist Jared Followill, brother of KOL frontman Caleb and drummer Nathan, seated beside their cousin Matthew in Toronto recently.

Seriously?

"I love Hall and Oates a lot," says Matthew of the late-'70s, early-'80s pop-rock-soul duo. "I'll put Hall and Oates (satellite) radio on and be like (breaks into grin). There's never been a band that can write so many hits. Like, it's just crazy to me, how many hits they have. It's mindblowing."

So can an invite to be on Live From Daryl's House, featuring Daryl Hall playing with other musicians at his house during a free monthly webcast, be far off for Kings of Leon?

Matthew says he'd "probably be really nervous," before admitting: "That's pretty cool."

Retro-rock influences aside, something's definitely working for Kings of Leon, given a No. 1 record - their fourth in a row - in the U.K. for Mechanical Bull, which was released Sept. 24.

"Anywhere that you can have a No. 1 is amazing," says Jared. "I mean not to sound cocky on our side, but it doesn't come as a huge surprise to us because the U.K.'s been so great to us ... They're the only reason why we're still a band. We would have gotten dropped from the label if they hadn't bought our albums on the first album and second album."

Mechanical Bull, KOL's sixth studio album overall, is the followup to 2010's Come Around Sundown, which was followed by a 2011 tour whose low point came when Caleb walked off stage in the middle of a concert in Dallas, citing "vocal issues and exhaustion," and didn't return.

Subsquently, the rest of the U.S. tour was cancelled, but the band played in Canada, South Africa and Australia before taking a year off in the lead-up to recording the new album.

"It wasn't really a fight, we had our little thing that happened, that was for his voice," says Matthew.

"It was 103 degrees, and it was like our second or third show in that kind of heat, and the fact that his voice was going out so the doctor had given him some steroids ... Hindsight, it's like so clear. I'm glad he walked off now because the doctor said if he kept going on, he could have seriously injured his voice forever ... Like who knows what could have happened if he kept going? We wouldn't have had another album."

Adds Jared: "If Caleb had just walked off stage because he was drinking too much or something like that, then that would have been a huge issue and we would have taken issue with that, and so we had to talk about it and he explained his side. And doctors talked to all of us. We almost backtracked and felt bad for being mad at him."

After playing the NHL season opener in Montreal last week, Kings of Leon hope to stage a proper Canadian tour in February and March in support of Mechanical Bull and have nothing but fond memories of Canada.

"We love it here," says Matthew. "I love touring here. Everyone's so nice ... The fans are great. The fishing's great."

The fishing?

"Calgary's awesome," says Matthew. "I think it's the Bow River, I believe, I don't want to get that wrong.

Adds Jared: "We went sturgeon fishing in Vancouver (in the Fraser River) which was amazing. We caught a seven-foot sturgeon. And it's really cool cause it's catch-and-release everything so it's really humane. It was a 250-pound fish. It was massive."

And because they're southerners, the thought of encountering the white stuff along the way excites them too.

"I hope it's snowy, man I love the snow!" says Jared.

"We're lucky to get two (inches) a year and then if we got a foot, the city (Nashville) would shut down and everything would be insane," adds Matthew.


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