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Kings of Leon remember grandfather, namesake

January 25, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — When the Followill family — brothers Nathan, Caleb, Jared and cousin Matthew — moved to Nashville to start a rock band, they wanted the band’s name to pay homage to their family ties back in Oklahoma.

Leon Followill, grandfather of the four members of the Grammy-winning rock band Kings of Leon, died on Jan. 9 at the age of 84, but his grandsons said his legacy will continue to live on through their music.

“He was the kind of guy that never met someone that wasn’t his friend instantly,” said singer Caleb Followill in an interview on Thursday. “I think that’s something that you strive to be, but I think he was born that way.”

Drummer Nathan Followill said his grandfather raised five sons and worked in the concrete business his whole life. He was also immensely proud of the success of his grandsons, whose sixth album, “Mechanical Bull,” is nominated for a Grammy this year.

Nathan Followill said his grandfather told him he couldn’t understand how they dealt with the pressure of being rock stars, after watching his grandsons play a show in his hometown of Oklahoma City.

“He said, ‘My arm is so sore from shaking so many hands and my face hurts from smiling for pictures,’” Followill said. “He said, ‘Y’all can have that fame stuff. It’s not for me.’”

The band is starting the first leg of its 2014 Mechanical Bull tour on Feb. 5 in Atlanta.

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