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The Killers on the loose
There’s a transatlantic feel to the brilliant pop of these Las Vegas rockers.
Stuart Clark, 10 Aug 2004
This shouldn’t in any way detract from my rampant heterosexuality, but Brandon Flowers is a big ride. Indeed, with Julian Casablancas turning into the male Courtney Love and Craig Nichols down to his last couple of marbles, there’s no one who can hold a chiseled cheekbone to him at the moment. Add in the fact that his band, The Killers, have conjured up one of the debut albums of the year and he’s every right to be turning summersaults.
“Turn summersaults? All I want to do right now is sleep,” the 22-year-old confides. “I don’t mean to be a whiny rock star, but the last time I got a proper eight hours was Wednesday. As for days off, that hasn’t happened since Christmas.”
This being Saturday July 11, you can understand why Flowers’ current fantasies involve plump pillows rather than lithe supermodels.
A classic case of American blood, English heart, the Las Vegas quartet half-inched their name from the makey-uppy band that appeared in New Order’s ‘Crystal’ video and sound like an amalgam of Bowie, Oasis, Duran Duran and U2 (I know they’re not Anglo-Saxon but humour me!)
“There’s a bit of a ‘The grass is always greener’ thing going on, yeah,” agrees Flowers who’s got more than a touch of Matt Damons about him. “We’ve never thought, ‘Oh, we wish we were British’, but the music from The Beatles all the way up has always been really good. Hearing The Cure’s ‘Head On The Door’ for the first time was pretty special, and The Joshua Tree was a big record for all of us. I was inside the heart the last time U2 played Las Vegas, which was amazing.”
Given his obvious fandom, it must’ve been weird playing the Oxegen New Band Tent while The Cure were 500 yards away on the Main Stage.
“We’d already clashed with them at Coachella in California,” Flowers continues, “which would have been a bummer if we hadn’t got to see them in a tiny little club in Islington that couldn’t have held more than 200 people.”
Any other “pinch me, I must be dreaming” moments to report?
“Playing at the Wiltern Theater in LA with Morrissey and him standing right in front of the stage at soundcheck,” butts in his drummer colleague Ronnie Vannucci (Sopranos sounding or what?) “You’ve looked up to this guy since you were 12 and there he is eyeballing you! The only thing more surreal than that was opening for Gary Numan in the Shephards Bush Empire.
“How was it? Ummm…interesting!”
Having been given the bum’s rush by all the US majors, The Killers sent a DIY 7” of theirs to fledgling London independent Lizard King who immediately took the bait.
“When Lizard King came on board there was a sense of, ‘Hey, this is really happening!’” Van The Other Man continues. “Not just from us, but some of our parents who hadn’t immediately grasped what we’re doing. They’re all excited now, so it’s okay.”
Is it true that The Killers found each other through the newspaper classifieds?
“Yeah,” Flowers confirms. “Our guitarist, Dave, placed a ‘Musician Wanted’ ad mentioning Oasis, which came directly after me seeing them in Vegas and deciding that’s the direction I wanted to take. A couple of weeks later we were a band.”
Getting back to sleep deprivation, just how much in need are they of quality quilt time?
“Very,” he laughs somewhat mirthlessly. “This isn’t a natural life, but you do what you have to do to keep everybody happy.”
Never mind the Horlicks, here’s The Killers! b
The Killers’ Hot Fuss is out now on Lizard King