Written by P. BROWN
IF I HAD A
15-YEAR-OLD SISTER, we’d listen to The Killers together without
shame. Really, the band’s an anomaly…so immediately likeable, yet
indie enough (at least initially) to pass. Their blend of ‘80s synth,
new wave and more modern day progressive gels so perfectly it’s
sometimes almost disgusting. But in the end, it’s good to once again
be able to like something so popular without being embarrassed about
it. Thanks, Killers.
Originally from Las Vegas, The Killers basically have the same old
story. The garage. The rough start. The quick explosion into
worldwide fame. The controversy. Yet there’s a difference and it’s
tough to pinpoint. Hopefully the following talk with bassist Mark
Stoermer will help.
So how did
The Killers first get together?
They had a different guy playing bass and drums in the beginning. It
didn’t work out. It was only for a few shows. I went to their third
show and [drummer] Ronnie [Vannucci] started coming out as well.
Eventually the four of us started playing together. We were
practicing six days a week, five hours a day in a garage. We wrote
like 40 songs before we made Hot Fuss, which had 10 of
those. From there, one thing led to another. We played usually at
least a show-a-week at the Vegas bars. We made a demo, did some
showcases for labels and got turned down by everyone in the US.
Until we got an indie record label deal in the UK. And after that,
with some press, we were starting to catch a name. Then labels in
the US were interested.
Was there kind of a sense of I-told-you-so?
Yeah, there was a sense of it, but they would never admit it. I
think A&R people and record labels in general are very nervous and
only will sign something if it’s proven. It’s kind of a Catch 22.
Am I just ignorant, or is this kind of an uncommon
occurrence? Because the last time I heard of someone getting flown
to England to break through was Jimi Hendrix.
It’s fairly common. It was kind of the same thing with The Strokes
and The White Stripes. The UK has a different rock scene. The radio
breaks new bands. And it’s easier… If you’re a new band, the radio
will play you. Because they’re always looking for what’s new. In
America, everything’s kind of locked in.
You’ve got your fair share of hits. Who decides which songs
are considered singles, and are you surprised certain songs haven’t
been considered such?
We knew what the singles were before we even had a record deal on
the first album. There was some counseling from people at the label.
But we were never forced to put anything out as a single. And every
time, the choices had been what we thought were going to be the
singles, anyway. There’s always a couple songs we thought could’ve
maybe been singles if they were released like that, but…everything
we chose to be a single, we thought could’ve been, too.
I’m interested in your name. With MySpace and whatnot, it’s easy for
a group to find like six bands with the same name. Were there any
problems getting dibs on “The Killers?”
No, surprisingly there wasn’t, especially because Killers is such a
common word. It’s been used by a cover band or two, and some metal
band from Europe. But they never trademarked the name, so there were
no legal problems with us.
No. But right before we got it trademarked, we were a little nervous
that somehow we wouldn’t be able to. We assumed that maybe someone
in the world had trademarked it already. We couldn’t think of [a
name] as good, so we’re lucky we didn’t have to change it.
So for any new bands out there, would you recommend to
trademark that shit early?
Check into it at least. Make sure no one has it. Because it would
suck to have a good name, and lose it or have to change it right
when you get a record deal.
Loaded question: Is this a stepping stone toward other crazy
shit you guys will end up doing separately, or is this “Killers or
The future’s unpredictable. I think we’re hoping to stick together
and have some longevity as long as we’re having fun doing it and
proud of the music we’re making. But you never know, things could
Generic question. Very generic: Any talk of another album
any time soon?
There’s a few ideas out there that we try at sound check. Same thing
we did on the last album. But a lot of the heavy writing will
probably come after we’re off the road. You just never know. It’s
just too early to tell.