“I hope we don’t look too excited to be up there,” said lead singer Caleb Followill.
“I hope we don’t play a song a linebacker doesn’t like and he decides to come out and take us out,” joked drummer Nathan Followill.
(You can watch their performance of “Use Somebody” at the NFL draft on Thursday night below and judge for yourself.)
In March, Kings of Leon — brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill and their cousin, Matthew — made history by releasing their eighth studio album, When You See Yourself, as a non-fungible token or NFT, a digital form of currency that can only be used in its own ecosystem.
Sound confusing? Well, even the band wasn’t sure what it was getting into with its pioneering move.
“We had to study up a little bit, and it’s still a little beyond me,” Caleb said before the band toured the hall. “We didn’t know that much about it, but we were happy to be introduced to it.”
Nathan Followill had some familiarity with cryptocurrency, but wasn’t quite up to date on NFTs or all their possibilities.
“I think it’s the way of the future, not only for music but you’re seeing sport cards in the form of NFTs, artists putting their work through NFT,” he said. “So not just for music, but for art and I think it will definitely have a place.”
The band is giving a “significant” portion of proceeds from the NFTs to Live Nation’s Crew Nation fund, a charity that supports workers in the music industry hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greg Harris, the Rock Hall’s president and CEO, applauded the band’s willingness to try something new.
“Rock and Roll is always pushing the envelope and doing new things,” Harris said. “So when Les Paul invented the solid body electric guitar, he was pushing it. When Jimi Hendrix was playing, he was pushing the envelope. Now we’re pushing the envelope with technology and distribution.”
The band’s visit also coincided with a new football-themed exhibit at the hall, “The Biggest Show on Turf: 55 Years of Halftime Shows,” showcasing the evolution of Super Bowl halftimes.
Among the items on display is the outfit Prince wore in 2007, when his rain-soaked performance ended with a soul-stirring “Purple Rain,” to the jacket worn by U2′s Bono in 2002 in a show paying tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Now that they’ve played the draft, would Kings of Leon ever consider playing a Super Bowl.
“I don’t think they would ever ask us,” Matthew said. “We’re not that kind of entertainer. We would do it, but we would start rehearsing now for 10 years from now.”
And since he was in Cleveland, Nathan Followill made sure to give some love to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Followills grew up in Oklahoma and have followed Mayfield, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2017 with the Sooners.
“I’ve got my Browns’ Baker jersey at home,” he said. “I follow all the Oklahoma guys on whatever team they go to, but I’m a big Baker fan.”