NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
The lead singer was most enthralled with the new building.
"There are times if you don't want to you don't have to leave, you know?" he said. "I stayed here pretty late most nights."
They took months rather than weeks to make the record. Practical jokes punctuated by the sound of fireworks and good times threatened to take over at one point.
"You know on the back of the comic books when we were kids where you could order any kind of joke trick?" longtime producer Angelo Petraglia asked. "I think that's where they were ordering from. Things were coming in and you'd be like, 'They still make these things?'"
Caleb Followill brought in 10 songs he'd been working on alone at home, something of a change in the band's formula. And Petraglia combed through old work tapes, finding bits and pieces he'd bring to the band's attention, like the "Use Somebody" era sound sketch that turned into "Beautiful War."
"The whole thing was chill actually for those guys," Petraglia said. "I felt like, let's get back in there and be a rock 'n' roll band and get back to it. Things had gotten so big with the band, it was a chance to scale down, get in the clubhouse and kind of have fun and make a rock 'n' roll record."
At the same time, they were falling into a stable pattern at home. Off the road for long stretches, everyone who wasn't married settled down. Everyone has at least one child now except Jared, the band's youngest member.
They also started their own record label, Serpents & Snakes, using it to sign friends; started fine food, wine and spirits festival Music City Eats that debuted over the weekend; and have generally blended into the environs in a way they didn't before. They started the new rock 'n' roll renaissance in Nashville, but were never really around to enjoy it.