All these things that they've done The Killers return to the hard rock

Vegas Magazine June 2007



Brandon Flowers stood beneth the stage of the MGM Grand Garden Arena,shaking.

The wild trip the onetime Gold Coast bell-hop was on was about to get trippier, as ended to the stage to share a duet with none other than U2's Bono.How,Flowers remembers wondering how did I get here?

How,indeed?By that point-November 2005 Flowers and his out-of-nowhere rock band,The Killers,had blasted into the stratosphere of the music business from the largely lackluster but growing indy-music scene of Las Vegas.Their bebut album,Hot Fuss,had sold five million copies, and they hit numver one on the charts in Britian and Australia.the band had also sold out Wembly arena and Madison square Garden,opened for Morrissey,garnered three Grammy nods and appeared on Saturday Night live as well as the most vaunted of poverty-relief concerts of 2005,Live 8.

Still,the much-eyelinered pop star found it inconceivable that he was about to step onto one of the largest concert stages in his famous hometown and perform a duet of "in a little while," with the lead singer of the biggest rock band of the era,no less."It's not something I could really take in,"the 26-year-old Flowers says."I remember being down there while they were up there playing 'Desire' or something,knowing I gotta go out there.Those are the things you don't forget."

Flowers'career launched seven years ago when he picked up a copy of David Bowie's Hunky Dory album at a now defunct used-record shop in Vegas.He already had his eye on stardom."I thought I knew everything about music,"he recalls."I had my vision of what I thought I was and what kind of music I would listen to without ever listening to david bowie,who had influenced all the bands I listened to Depeche Mode and Morrissey and others.I never heard chord changes or melodies like that.that's the beautiful thing about him;he's metal sometimes,he's vaudeville sometimes."

Flowers,like bowie,emits a sexually ambiguous flamboyance on-stage and has a penchant for funky outfits and makeup.wikipedia refers to him as "a famous example of metrosexuality,"and he has found himself having to declare his heterosexuality,partially because one of the band's earliest gigs came at a gay club in Vegas known then as Sasha's.Not to mention the lyrics of "Andy you're a star" seem like an ode to a crush on a male football player,with such lines as:"In a car with a girl,promise me she's not your world." Flowers now says he wrote it"from a girl's perspective."

The Killers was officially born whem flowers,dumped by a synth-pop band in 2001,decided to switch to rock and respoded to guitarist David Keuninging's classified ad seeking band mates.Later their current bassist,Mark Stoermer,and drummer,Ronnie Vannucci,jr., would joing them.They were discovered on the Vegas indy circuit by a British scout for Warner brothers,who turned their tpe over to an independent-label producer.Once signed,the quartet moved to London,recorded Hot Fuss and took off,as Dick clark used to say,"with a bullet."

As a group,the Killers fit perfectly into an appealing media narrative about hardcrabble vegas youth done good:In additon to flowers working as a casino bellhop,Vannucci once toiled as a photographer at the little chapel of Flowers,and some of their parents were service employees on the strip.Their backgrounds made for terrrific fodder,and they worked that theme by naming their sophmore album,Sam's town,after the locals casino east of the strip near one of Flowers childhood homes.

"Vegas doesn't need to be put on a map,but when you mention the Killers,that's what they instantly associate with us,"he says."At first people think you're extraterrestrial almost because it's such a foreign place.A lot of people love it and love the party aspect of it.But a lot of people hat it and think it's a fake city.I find myself defending it a lot."

Lately,the Killers have also been defending themselves against poor reviews of Sam's town which has sold about half as well as Hot fuss(but still went double platinum).Flowers admits he became obsessed with googling the band for reviews but stopped when he realized that nothing productive was coming from that.

vannucci says that's the best approach."I know how people react when something's different,so was halway expecting it.I really don't care that much The album pleases us first.If we had donw the same thing,people would say we rewrote the old songs."

The Killers June 1st homecoming concert at the hard rock is,to Flowers,a bittersweet moment Beyond closing the latest tour,it also will be a reminder of how far they've come from the vegas scene and how they're now the subject of a great deal of sniping by their former musical bretheren.

"we want people to be proud of us when we play here,but there's so much jealousy that goes on in Las Vegas about what we've done,"Flowers says "It's kind of a shame.We'll sell out the Vegas show but it'll be a lot of people from LA The people who filled Sasha's aren't going to be in the front as they were before we sold any records.They're going to be bitching about it on blogs."