The Killers frontman
on his gambling jones, his time with Axl and why he's not a good
Many Of The Things Brandon Flowers says come back to haunt him. The
Killers singer, 25, recently took a swipe at Green Day, which has
caused headaches for him and his and his record label. And while
recording the Killers' new album, Sam's Town, Flowers frequently
trumpeted how dope he thinks the record is. "I came out with a big
mouth," he says. "And I feel bad for my band, because they've got
nothing to do with it." So Flowers - who takes Killers criticism
like a knife to his heart - was taken aback when the Sam's Town
reviews poured in; a mix of good, bad, and ugly. It was hard to top
their debut, the hit parade of Hot Fuss, but as their world tour
presses on, Flowers is seeing their new songs take hold. "There's
something to be said about a song thats so catchy that the first
time you hear it, you love it," says Flowers phoning in after a gig
in Cologne, Germany. " But there's something more long-lasting about
about these new songs. And there's not a day that goes by that I
don't see, looking into the audience, the songs growing on them more
Sam's Town was mixed loud. I can't even listen to it on my ipod
at full volume.
Maybe we're going deaf, but we like it that way. The guitars are
turned up on this album. And Alan [Moulder, co-producer,along with
Flood] - he's used to working with the Smashing Pumpkins and Nine
Inch Nails. Guitar-hero stuff.
And your voice is definitely more alive than on Hot Fuss.
I think it sounds better, yeah, but that could just be because I've
been singing everyday for the past three years. I love it. We didn't
use too many vocal effects. On the first album, we used auto-tune,
and I didn't even realize what was going on with these machines and
the computer. I was adamant about not using it this time. You really
hear what my vioce sounds like, for the first time.
You recorded Sam's Town at a studio in the Palms Casino in Vegas.
How much did you gamble in the process?
I have an addictive personality, so I worry about getting into poker
too much. And being from Vegas, most of us have a family member with
a gambling problem. But I like the occasional turn of the roulette
wheel, or a little blackjack. I think I lost a couple hundred bucks
during the making of Sam's Town.
"Read My Mind" is another Killers classic. How did that song come
We had a song called "Little Angela." But one cool thing about Alan
and Flood is that, even thuogh it was intended to be a B side, it
was taken very seriously. So we're playing the song and, looking
throught the glass into the control room, I could tell Alan was
upset. When Alan and Flood argued, they'd go out into the hall, and
it really felt like Mom and Dad were fighting. I heard Alan
say,"We're trying to make ' Peggy Sue' [into] ' With or Without
You,' "which came as a blow because he was basically saying my
lyrics weren't good enough. So I started singing melodies, and in
two hours it was a whole different song. I think it's the best song
we've ever written.
You recently slagged Green Day in the British press. Was what you
said taken out of context?
It has caused alot of unnecessary drama. I said it a long time ago;
I don't know how it crept up. It wasn't taken out of context,
really. The point was, if they're so punk rock, why don't they make
their DVD in Washington, D.C., instead of in England with a bunch of
English kids singing "I don't want to be an American idiot"? Do it
in front of the White House or something.
Tim Burton had never directed a music video, but he did your new
one for "Bones." How did that happen?
I'd been kicking that song around for two years. I loved it to
death, but it was old, and I thought it might end as a B side. But
[bassist] Mark [Stoermer] had this idea to put brass on it, and it
just brought it back to life. The trumpets reminded me of Oingo
Boingo - growing up, I was a big fan, still am - Danny Elfman was in
Oingo Boingo, and he does the music for Burton films. A light turned
on. We couldn't believe he said yes. It's so great. It makes you
feel like a kid when you watch it.
How'd Axl Rose end up introducing the Killers at the VMAs?
It was an honor. A few days before it happened, we met him at a
party in L.A. after our gig at the Troubadour. And he wasn't sure if
he'd make it to New York. The reason, he said, was that he'd "just
come back from London, where they had all these black cabs, and I
just can't rap my head around it."
Which makes no sense, of course.
He's a strange man, but he's cool.
I noticed during the show in New York you kept talking to
guirtarist Dave Kuening. What do you guys chat about?
In New York we're usually scared to death. And I don't have anything
to say to the crowd. The whole "entertain us" Nirvana line is true -
people want that. It's like you have to be a great songwriter and a
comedian. Which sucks for me, because I'm not good. I feel like it's
real boring for them to watch. So me and Dave talk about DVDs,
Seriously, though. Give me one example.
We were in Vegas, and Dave messed up on the first five songs.
On "When You Were Young." he broke a string. He was hitting wrong
notes - I don't know where he was. I walked over to him and asked
him if he'd be joining us on the next song.
Best Album Of '06
" I like new Razorlight album - bombastic glam. And the Strokes
album [First Impressions of Earth]. ' You Only Live Once' is as good
as it gets."
Last Great Show
"I saw The Flaming Lips in New York. A real treat. They take you to
another place, and Wayne Coyne has a gift. He has charisma like Jack
Favorite Song To Sing
"'Read My Mind.' I love playing it and watching the crowd react,
then playing ' Somebody Told Me' and knowing that it stands up."
"Corlene Byrd. She's a great songwriter from Vegas who sang some
background vocals for us. One day she's gonna make it."