Soundtrack of my life: Brandon Flowers


As a teenager, the Killers' frontman dug the intensity of Depeche Mode - and found that the Basildon band made the perfect accompaniment to a round of golf

When I fell in love with pop music

Panic, The Smiths (1986)

When you're young you want pop music that is catchy - not many pre-teens are into death metal - and when I heard 'Panic', at 12, it made me feel immensely happy. It certainly didn't make me want to wear black and be alone in a corner of the room. And nobody in Nephi, Utah had heard of the Smiths then and I doubt they have heard of them now, which made them something special. Everyone was listening to grunge and here was this song saying 'burn down the disco ... because the music they constantly play says nothing to me about my life.' Morrissey was speaking directly to me!

When I was in my rebellious phase

Songs of Faith And Devotion, Depeche Mode (1993)

The darker side of Depeche Mode drew me in. I had the earlier, poppier albums, but suddenly there was a sense of sin involved in their music, and the way they approached religion fascinated me. I saw the album on cassette for $4.99 at a truck stop on Interstate 15, surprisingly. It was too damn dark for me at first. It scared me and I didn't understand the beauty of it. Then I would learn to sing all the songs while I was playing golf, or on the way to school.

When I bonded with my brother

Just What I Needed, The Cars (1978)

My brother was always trying to get me into the stuff he liked when I was a kid, most of which I rejected, but the one that kick-started it all for me was this best-of album by the Cars, released in 1995. At the time I didn't really like music. I didn't like the classic rock that gets played on American radio 24/7 and I didn't relate to the stuff my friends were listening to. But after a long car trip with my brother the Cars just stuck. They had it down. If you want to hear where the Killers got their ideas, just listen to the Cars. They're so good, it's depressing. I hear this album and I say, 'Forget it.' It's just so solid.

When I discovered American rock

Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen (1994)

Springsteen has always been there, and he's a part of us without our even realising it. You hear 'Born to Run' a million times, and you grow up with 'Born in the USA', but it wasn't until I was 24 that I actually realised how great he was. I listened to him after a reviewer called our first EP 'too Springsteen' and I thought, 'What?' So I checked him out and I'm not sorry I did that at all. The lines in 'Philadelphia' are amazing: 'no angel's gonna greet me' and 'my clothes don't fit any more' describe a man dying of Aids so brilliantly. Nobody else can write lyrics like that and it takes my breath away.

When I decided to become a pop star

Hunky Dory, David Bowie (1971)

Some things are meant to happen. I was going to college because my girlfriend at the time wanted me to, and I was driving on the freeway when 'Changes' came on the radio. When I heard the line 'still don't know what I was waiting for' I assumed it was Bob Dylan, but then the chorus came in and it was so catchy, so perfect, that I knew it couldn't be. I found my calling at that moment. It led me to other Bowie albums, and then to T-Rex's 'Metal Guru', from which the Smiths' 'Panic' is directly ripped off, and I was given a shot in the arm. I was no good at school, but I knew I could do this: it made me realise that I've got pop in my blood. If you cut me open a chorus will come out.

Strange and possibly true

1. The Killers' 'Where is She?' was written about the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old Scottish girl who, unbeknown to Flowers, had attended concerts by the band.

2. Flowers's cousin is the PGA pro-golfer Craig Barlow. Craig earned more than $1m from the sport last year. Could Brandon ever top that?

3. The band's first hit single, 'Mr Brightside', is about a former girlfriend who was cheating on Flowers. Julia Roberts's brother Eric stars in the American video for the song.

4. Before forming the Killers, Flowers worked as a bellhop at the Gold Coast Hotel in Las Vegas.

5. As a Mormon, Flowers has always refrained from drugs, but he does smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, both frowned on by the religion.