DAILY UNIVERSE EXCLUSIVE
By Erin C. Pierce and Dan Monson newsnet

A little more than 10 years ago, the lead singer of the Killers was hanging out in the Wilk playing pool with his brother. Though he was never a BYU student like his brother Shane, Brandon Flowers remembers visiting campus at a young age while growing up in Nephi.

"It was the taste of college that I'd never really get to have," said Flowers, lead singer of the chart-topping band. "The first thing that comes to mind is playing pool and bowling somewhere on campus. The jukebox was amazing - Boingo, Morrissey, New Order."

Now, that little brother has his own songs in jukeboxes, record stores and CD collections around the world, and Brandon Flowers is living his childhood dream, rising as an international music sensation with his band's double-platinum debut "Hot Fuss," as his brother cheers him on from his Utah home.

The Killers are currently nominated for three Grammys, and SPIN magazine named the group band of the year in its January 2006 issue.

"Music makes my blood flow," Flowers said. "I don't know anyone who doesn't have a favorite song. I just want to be the messenger."

Within a few short years Flowers went from being a Las Vegas club singer to a major record label artist. His brother Shane said the transition into stardom was not a natural thing for Brandon, but it was a challenge he was up to.

"Obviously, it was something that happened so fast for him. He had to learn how to be a performer, but he was up to it," Shane said. "His songs were so good. He just needed to put the performance aspect to it."

Shane said the performance aspect came along fairly quickly, but one of the biggest shocks was when Brandon was asked by his and Shane's longtime 80s musical idol Morrissey to open at his show.

"The huge kicker was a year and a half ago. He called me up when I was living in Texas, and told me he was going to be opening for Morrissey," Shane said. "I told him, 'You've got to be 100 percent sure because I'm online. I'm going to buy my plane ticket right now; my wife and I are coming.' It was midnight when he called me. He goes, 'Hold on a sec, I'll call you right back.' Even he wanted to make sure - he had to confirm it. He called me back 10 minutes later and said excitedly, 'It's on, it's on.'"

Not only did Morrissey ask The Killers to open for him, he reserved the best slots for them, on both opening and closing nights.

"It only seemed like yesterday we were going to Morrissey concerts and had his posters on the wall. It was crazy," Shane said.

Posters of Brandon and The Killers now frequent the walls of the Flowers family home in Santaquin. Brandon's 11-year-old nephew Taylor said he gets plenty of attention in his 5th grade class.

"When I told some of my friends they didn't believe me," Taylor said. "I showed my friends pictures [of Brandon] and an autograph at my house. They think it's cool. One of my friends asked me for a poster with an autograph, but I said no."

In media interviews, Brandon credits Shane for influencing him in his music. Growing up, Shane's favorite 80s bands in turn became Brandon's favorites as well. Even now, Shane is often the first to hear the latest song Brandon is writing.

"Musically he is huge," Brandon said of his brother. "He started me on The Cars at 12. I've learned so much from the music he chose to show me. I would be a different person if I was enamored with hip-hop. That is where my sense of purpose for The Killers comes in."

Shane's passions have always been music and golf, two things Brandon also loves.

"When it comes to influences, those would be my only ones. What he does, it's just a gift," Shane said. "Whenever I wasn't home he'd sneak into my room and listen to my music."

At a young age, Shane took Brandon to his first concert, furthering Brandon's musical enthrallment.

"I remember taking him to a Morrissey concert when he was 15 or 16 years old. It was Halloween night," Shane said. "Morrissey's always been my favorite and so there I was, oh man, I'm all excited. But he was way more enthusiastic than I was. He was way more excited than I was to be there, and I thought, 'Man, I thought I was a fan.'"

Despite the 12-year age difference, Brandon and Shane have remained close over the years as the only two boys in a family of six children. Shane accompanied Brandon on The Killers' European tour with U2 this past summer. From helping Brandon re-glue rhinestones on his keyboard backstage before the show, to starting piggyback races against the other band mates, Shane was able to witness firsthand and share in the real-life experiences of his brother's childhood dream.

Brandon is enjoying his band's chart-topping accomplishments so far thanks to singles such as "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me." But Brandon said being on the top of the music scene is only part of the game.

"Now we need to stay up here. That's the true challenge. But you should see the view," Brandon said.

The Killers are expected to release their second album early this summer. Kyle Anderson of SPIN magazine said Brandon's flashy personality has largely contributed to the band's success so far.

"The one thing that I always tell people about Brandon is that he's sort of made a career of being over the top, for the sake of being outrageous. But he's really a very well-spoken, well put-together guy," Anderson said. "He's hyper-aware of what he needs to say and do in order to get attention, and he's done a tremendous job. I mean my mom is aware of The Killers, which is always a good barometer if your mom recognizes a song."

Brandon's personality is one of the band's defining features, but the flashy personality the media often portray is only one side of the Brandon his family and close friends know.

"He's a pretty quiet, shy kid, but he's funny as heck," Shane said.

Shane said Brandon also, obviously, is characterized by his deep love for creating music.

"I hope people appreciate the work we do," Brandon said. "The songs are so important to us."

From the nine-year-old boy playing pool at the BYU student center to the now musical powerhouse performing with U2, Brandon has had quite the journey. He achieved international stardom like the musical icons he long idolized, but Brandon said he hopes to also acquire the more subtle qualities of his other major influence, his brother Shane.

"My brother is one of those people everyone wants to be around. I think he's got a great combination of goodness and coolness," Brandon said. "When you're the singer of a band, people only want one of those qualities. So it's been difficult but I hope he rubbed off enough."