The Killers haven't forgotten Nevada ties
Posted: 5/25/2007
The Killers May 28 show at MontBleu was just rescheduled for Sept. 21. Hang onto your tickets.

Editor's note:On Thursday it was announced this show is postponed to Sept. 21 due to previous illness in the band. Original tickets honored or refunded at point of purchase. Details: 800-648-3353.

Recent years for The Killers have been a blur. The Vegas rockers have toured the world, sold more than 5 million copies of its debut album, "Hot Fuss," and is closing in on that same mark for its 2006 album "Sam's Town." Much time has been spent away, but some upcoming shows will bring the band closer to home, including their May 28 stop at MontBleu and the June 1 show in Las Vegas.

With all those albums sold, and people singing along to their hits "Mr. Brightside" and "Read My Mind," they're heroes in Vegas and a lot of other places now, but that wasn't always the case, drummer Ronnie Vannucci said in an interview.

"They tried a fair amount of BS articles, like in the very beginning," Vannucci said of some instances in the Vegas media. "Like, 'sure the U.K. loves them, but Vegas?'"

But the band has earned respect at home, and they're glad to play up Vegas in their music and imagery. "Sam's Town" is named after a casino and the album cover features a bighorn sheep and a possible prostitute in a nod to Nevada. The album was even made in the Palms casino recording studio. Vannucci said there was no intention to make a particularly Vegas album.

"It was never any type of concerted effort where we tried to have some type of game show or theme song," he said. "It was kind of after the fact. We made the record at home because we hadn't been home for a couple of years."

Working with producers Flood and Alan Moulder (who had worked as a team with U2 and Smashing Pumpkins), The Killers made an album that sounds sonically on a grander scale than the new-wave pop sound of the first album. Singer Brandon Flowers thematically ties together songs about longing for the way things used to be, even if he hadn't experienced some of those ways firsthand, in songs like "When You Were Young," "For Reasons Unknown" and "Read My Mind."

Some reviewers likened the new album to more of a grand U2 sound, or the heartfelt grit of Bruce Springsteen -- both great leaps in style when considering a lot of writers compared The Killers to such bands as Duran Duran upon the arrival of "Hot Fuss" in 2004.

Part of the bigger sound of "Sam's Town" came from The Killers pulling out all the stops when making the album, explaining that the band used 70 tracks in recording, whereas do-it-yourselfer indie musicians often record with just four or eight.

"Alan and Flood wanted to put the brakes on a lot of times," Vannucci said.

But at the same time, the producers pulled something out of the band that otherwise might not have surfaced.

Singer Brandon Flowers related a story from the recording in the band's bio.

"We could see them through the glass in the control room, and I could tell that Alan was upset," Flowers said. "I heard Alan say 'We're trying to make 'Peggy Sue' into 'With or Without You.' '' That was a real blow to me, because he was basically saying my lyrics weren't good enough to match the production."

Flowers re-wrote the lyrics and the melody, and "Read My Mind" was created.

"It's the best song we've ever written," Flowers said.

While the success of the new album has allowed The Killers to tour extensively, the band hasn't played Reno since 2004 at the New Oasis, just prior to the release of "Hot Fuss." It could be attributed to heavy demand worldwide, or perhaps bigger commitments to grooming of the band's collective facial hair. But Vannucci admits that, although he played in Reno while he was in other bands and even entertained the idea of pursuing a medical degree at the University of Nevada, Reno, The Killers have no particular affinity to the Reno-Tahoe area.

"I don't think we feel any allegiance to Reno because we're from Vegas," Vannucci explained. "If we're talking proximity, it's like an eight-hour drive, and L.A.'s a lot closer. Not to really discount Reno so much, but other towns have kinda taken precedence."

Fans seem to have taken the homestate show appreciatively. Even at a whopping $70 a ticket, it's nearly sold out.