Kings of Leon have unveiled a pair of new songs over the past month — "It Don't Matter" and "Supersoaker" — at festivals across the U.S. as a way of road-testing material off their upcoming, back-to-basics Mechanical Bull album.
And so far, they've aced each of those tests, though, as the old adage says, you can't please everybody.
"It's been all pretty positive; the reaction has been great. Of course, there are a few little bastards out there that are just trying to get people riled up, but it's all been going great, man. We're all pretty excited," drummer Nathan Followill told MTV News. "The record's been done for a few months, so we're chomping at the bit to play the new stuff every chance we get. We felt pretty confident about the first two [songs]; it's great to use festivals as a testing ground to how kids are going to respond to it."
So, "little bastards" aside, the Kings' new songs have been greeted rather enthusiastically by their fans, which makes sense, considering both "It Don't Matter" and "Supersoaker" were custom-built for concert grounds, a pair of rousing rockers that harken back the band's scuzzier, sweatier efforts like Youth and Young Manhood and Because of the Times. And, as it turns out, that was exactly what KOL's fans have been clamoring for.
"They like the energetic direction they're going in, which is like our earlier stuff; going in to this record we knew we wanted to have fun and make songs that are fun to play on stage," Followill said. "We challenged ourselves quite a bit; I think it was very hard for Jared to have to dumb down his bass playing on some of these songs, but it fits the songs ... there are some songs where I don't even hit a cymbal. You've just got to do what's best for the song, and luckily everyone was down with that.
"And I think we chose these two to play live because they really represent the record, the direction it goes in," he continued. "'It Don't Matter' is dirty and gritty, a little two-and-a-half minute pounder, everybody play has hard as they can, as fast as they can. 'Supersoaker' is a lot more melodic and a little more sing-along-y, if that's even a word. Obviously there are some slower ones on the record, because we wanted to make it as full of a record as we could. But we're ready for release date to get here so we can start playing some more of them."
Of course, there's still plenty of time until that release date (Mechanical Bull is due in stores on September 24), which leaves plenty of time for KOL to whip "It Don't Matter" and "Supersoaker" into shape ... and for Followill to answer questions about the album itself. Like, for starters: "Why the heck is it called Mechanical Bull?"
"You're going to have to ask Caleb about that one," Followill laughed. "We were so early in on the process of it, we had narrowed it down to three names, and Mechanical Bull won out. I know we watched a lot of [the 1980 John Travolta film] 'Urban Cowboy' during the making of this record, so that definitely probably had something to do with it."