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DETROIT (Billboard) - Kings of Leon's Nathan Followill is confident that organizers of the upcoming Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco will keep stray pigeons as far away from the stage as possible. But, the drummer notes, "we're bringing a couple of muzzle loaders, just in case."
He's kidding, of course. But while answering questions about the infestation of defecating pigeons that forced the cancellation of the band's July 23 show at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, Mo., Followill told Billboard.com that the incident turned into a much bigger story than the band had anticipated.
"I think us trying to be the real-life Spinal Tap just got a little closer for us," Followill said during a conference call to promote the Outside Lands performance on August 15. "I think in the end, it's going to help us more than it hurt us. It's just one of those things that happened, and looking back on it now it's a lot funnier than it was at the time. But we really felt bad for the fans -- especially those that had driven a ways and stood out in the heat all day. But sometimes, y'know, s*** happens -- in this case literally.
"We're happy to move forward and we've been having great shows since," Followill added, "so hopefully Pigeon-gate can officially be put to rest."
The band has been playing four songs from its upcoming fifth album, which is still untitled and unscheduled, in its recent shows. Followill said the songs -- which have been identified as "Mary," "Immortals," "Radioactive" and "Southbound" -- are from sessions in New York City with producers Jacquire King and Angelo Petraglia, the same team that worked on Kings of Leon's Grammy Award-winning 2008 breakthrough, "Only by Night."
"They've been going over really well, a lot better than we thought they wood," he said. "Some of them are getting better reactions than the older songs, which is bittersweet but great to see that (fans) are digging the direction we're heading ... It'll be great when we can play the whole new record. It's taken a lot of self-discipline to get up there and not play eight or 10 of the new songs."
Followill added, "It's a great feeling to look down front every night, and there are kids singing every single world to songs that aren't even released yet, which just means they've watched them a gazillion times on YouTube. It makes you feel good that the fans are craving the new music that much."