Killers can't get satisfaction
Kathy McCabe
January 11, 2007
Herald Sun
THE Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers is in a van with his bandmates being driven to Los Angeles from their Las Vegas homes.

It is the week before Christmas, but there is no festive holiday for an American band on a mission to conquer their homeland.

So the Killers are off to appear on a television show.

Flowers sounds weary, disappointed that his band's second album, Sam's Town, which they believe is pure Americana, has not made them stratospheric megastars.

His benchmark seems rather high, considering it peaked at No.2 on the US chart (and on the Australian chart) and has achieved platinum sales of more than one million in the US.

"Sales-wise, I guess it's doing fine, but we've still got a lot of work to do," Flowers says.

"Everywhere in the world it's getting great reviews, except America.

"They don't appreciate it. We didn't get the cover of Rolling Stone for the first album (Hot Fuss) and we sold five million records.

"And we're nowhere near getting the cover after what they have said about this album.

"It's really hard for us because Rolling Stone is such a staple in rock ' n ' roll music and they are not embracing an American band doing what we are doing. I'm confused - Paris Hilton and Britney Spears get on the cover.

"It's frustrating because everywhere else has really taken off."

No doubt Flowers and his bandmates - guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr - will be feeling the love when they try to blow everyone off the main stage during the travelling musical circus that is the Big Day Out.

"We never mean any harm, but it will be very difficult for other bands to follow All These Things That I've Done," says Flowers, his confidence flooding back.

"It has turned out to be a song that can blow people away. It's a live song. It thrives in that environment."

Flowers perks up considerably when asked about his expectations of the internationally renowned festival that is affectionately known as the Big Day Off among bands.

"Everyone is so excited about the Big Day Out. We're so looking forward to the sunshine after spending the winter in Europe," he says.

"I've bumped shoulders with Kasabian and Muse (also on the bill) but never talked to them.

"It will be fun to do some band-bonding because we are usually in our own little world and bands can treat each other like gangs at festivals.

"I am trying to get over that and go up and talk to people and find out they are not as evil as you make them."

When the Killers first toured Australia in 2004 on the back of their debut album Hot Fuss, they blitzed through 45-minute sets.

Now armed with two albums' worth of songs, Flowers feels the band's live set is far more potent. He is buoyed by the reaction given to Sam's Town's singles, When You Were Young and Bones.

"We were so scared and sceptical about how people would accept When You Were Young because it's not a typical Killers song," he says.

"We had that song for six months before anyone else heard it. We knew how good it was, but we were nervous waiting for people to get it.

"It was a pretty big risk to release it as the album's first single. I mean, it doesn't even have a real chorus.

"We play it every night next to Somebody Told Me and people love it. It stands up next to that song."

The Killers' slight left-turn with their sound on Sam's Town is reflected in their look. Rather than the slick, cabaret-meets-Dior jackets and thin ties, there are moustaches, boots and desert chic.

"When I think of Morrissey, I think of the flower in the back pocket or Mick Jagger and the scarf around his neck," Flowers says.

"It's great if people think of my moustache and boots when they think of Sam's Town.

"I think the facial hair looks good. It will be around for a while."

So after 15 minutes of chatting, Flowers has come full circle. Rather than being despondent about the fortunes of Sam's Town, he is celebrating the fact the band has not been a victim of the feared second-album slump.

"We were so worried about what was going to happen in these past few months, as you watch other bands slide into oblivion after big debut albums. It's scary," he says.

"I don't think we have whored ourselves - and I won't be doing a Pepsi commercial - but we want to do a lot of work. We want to be the biggest band."

The Killers, Big Day Out, Jan 28, sold out; Festival Hall, Feb 1, sold out.