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updated: 7/8/2013 12:02 PM

Kings of Leon join in to help Okla. tornado relief

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  • Caleb Followill and Kings of Leon are reaching out to help Oklahoma after a series of tornadoes killed dozens of people last spring with a benefit concert in Oklahoma City featuring The Flaming Lips, Jackson Browne and Built to Spill.

      Caleb Followill and Kings of Leon are reaching out to help Oklahoma after a series of tornadoes killed dozens of people last spring with a benefit concert in Oklahoma City featuring The Flaming Lips, Jackson Browne and Built to Spill.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When tornadoes devastated parts of Oklahoma earlier this year, members of Kings of Leon decided to help out the people of the state that's been a huge part of their lives over the years.

They just weren't sure how, and opening up the bank account didn't seem the right way to go.

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"It just felt like something we could lend a hand to," Jared Followill said. "We talked about just donating some money. But you know we just all started talking and we realized we'd probably raise more money by doing a show and it would probably be more fun for us than just writing a check. We can go there and be with the people, be with our family. It was one of those things that we didn't realize that it could happen. The people that we work with just made it happen really quickly."

The Kings of Leon's Rock for Oklahoma: A Benefit Concert for Oklahoma Tornado Victims will happen July 23. It's the third big fundraiser in the wake of the storms that killed dozens and uprooted thousands, preceded by efforts that included fellow Oklahomans Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Ronnie Dunn and Carrie Underwood.

The Followills invited Oklahoma City residents The Flaming Lips and Jackson Browne and Built to Spill to participate in the concert at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Grace Potter and Ben Kweller will make guest appearances, and there will be a silent auction to win a meet-and-greet with Victoria's Secret Angels Lily Aldridge and Erin Heatherton.

The concert comes as the Kings wrap up a European tour and prepare to release their sixth album, "Mechanical Bull," later this year.

Known as a Nashville band, the Kings have strong and deep ties to Oklahoma. Half the Followill family band, which consists of brothers Jared, Nathan and Caleb and cousin Matthew, was born in the state. They cheer for Oklahoma sports teams and return every year for a family reunion in Talihina. And their fathers and many family members still live there.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.

"Oklahoma's been a really huge part of our lives," Followill said. "We just have so many roots there and so many friends. A lot ... of people that are close to us were affected in one way or another, so I think it's just really important for us to do this and give pretty much all we can."

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