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MacGuffin

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Re: the killers
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2006, 12:23:50 PM »
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Natural born Killers
The synth-rock of `Hot Fuss' was a huge hit, so why change? The Nevada band turns to its roots in pursuit of grander ambitions.
Source: Los Angeles Times



ALONE in the darkness behind the outdoor stage, Brandon Flowers jumped up and down and waved his arms like a boxer preparing for a fight, and wailed "hey-yay-hey!" over and over at the top of his voice like a street-corner crazy.

In a few minutes the singer would join the other three members of the Killers for the parking-lot performance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," part of an intensive campaign launching the band's second album, "Sam's Town." But first Flowers was enjoying his moment in the shadows, a spindly harlequin with a sheepish smile for anyone he caught watching his ritual.
 
Just his standard pre-show warmup?

"I don't know what I'm doing," he said with a laugh as he jogged toward the stairs of the stage.

Flowers might have been joking, but that's exactly what a lot of people are thinking about the Killers as the Las Vegas-based band returns with the follow-up to its rags-to-riches debut, "Hot Fuss." Second-album time is a crucial career juncture for any pop act, and the Killers have used the occasion to unveil a radical redefinition.

Instead of the obvious — another helping of steamy, noirish scenarios set to thumping, catchy, faux-British synth-rock, such as "Somebody Told Me" and "Mr. Brightside" — "Sam's Town" is filled with guitar-based anthems that aspire to something more substantial, rooted and American.

It still has the Killers' flair for hooks, but its grand, sweeping scale proclaims that the Killers want to be a band that matters, one with a fist-in-the-air connection with its audience.

"There's that feeling you get when you're in a stadium and U2 plays 'One,' what that means to everyone there," Flowers, 25, said during an interview the following evening.

"And it doesn't have to be to that many people. You go from U2 size where they sell 35,000 every night to where Morrissey always sells 2,000 a night, but when you're there, there are moments that are just — people say it's a substitute for religion for some people. We're believers."

An American band

FLOWERS, a passionate music fan and a competitive, ambitious player, knows that nothing is guaranteed in rock these days. Take Franz Ferdinand, which arrived just before the Killers. The Scottish band seemed to have the world at its feet, but its second album faded quickly despite its excellence. So why not follow your instincts and hope for the best?

If nothing else, "Sam's Town" fulfills two of Flowers' primary aims.

"For me, the things that were deliberate were to sing like an American, because I'm an American, and to sing about what I know about instead of fantasies," he said, sitting with bassist Mark Stoermer in a dressing room at the Hollywood studio where Kimmel's ABC show is shot.

"Fantasies are OK too, but I just felt like I wanted to make an album that people could relate to right now," he said. "I guess the American thing came from people who were talking about how English we sounded, and me actually singing with a fake accent…. Americans are getting a bad rap right now, and we felt that everywhere that we went, whether it was Germany or France or wherever, there's a look that you get when they hear you open your mouth….

"It's because of the war and everything that's going on. It's understandable, but to an extent it's not fair because we're just people that were born here, and we're not ashamed of it, and I wanted to sing about growing up here and things that I know about and humanize us in a way," he said. "People don't see that, they see us like monsters."

The Killers' new sound (and the hirsute look that goes with it) might open new horizons for the band, but it's also brought it its first critical pounding. Even though the balance of the reviews has been positive, three high-profile outlets — Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times — lit into the Killers, calling the band calculated and clichéd, more Bon Jovi than U2.

"The funny thing about the negative press is that it's never about the record, it's always about the way the band looks or something that Brandon said," said Rob Stevenson, the A&R executive at Island Def Jam Music Group who signed the band. "I think it's really transparent…. I think it hurt them a lot, because those negative reviews were really personal."

"Everybody doesn't have to like it," said the tall, laconic Stoermer. "But it seems like we're on the verge of being one of those bigger bands, and some writers maybe want to be the gatekeeper and want to maybe help hold you back."

"Some indie kid on a blog, we expect that," added Flowers. "But those are ones that we expected to be smarter. Like Mark was saying, they're so used to people not being good that they don't want to believe it. They just want to believe it's a rip-off.

"And it's not…. You can't find a moment on this record that's stolen from anything. I mean, this is real music that we're writing; I think it's been so long that they're not used to it. Everybody just waits for U2 to make another album to go see a stadium show or to have something be exciting and big and smart."

Now that's sounding more like the Brandon Flowers who's stirred things up over the last couple of years, sparking verbal feuds with other bands and freely expressing his profound confidence in his own.

"I always joke with them that they have no filter," said Stevenson, in town from New York to ease the band through the busy week of the album's release. "It's very honest. I think a lot of artists have an onstage persona and an offstage persona. These guys, it's the same thing…. It reminds me of [Oasis'] Gallagher brothers, who were always heroes of mine. Some people hate them, but I love them for their honesty and their cockiness."

Still, Flowers was relatively low-key as he sat with Stoermer and talked about the new album, perhaps pacing himself for what the band hopes will be a marathon campaign.

It's already getting busy. They were doing three straight nights on their friend Kimmel's show, and after their five-song performance the night before, they'd gone across the street to sign autographs at the new Virgin Megastore. Then they rehearsed until 3 in the morning, fine-tuning their production for the world tour that opened last weekend with two concerts at the Wiltern LG.

Aiming big

IT hasn't taken the Killers very long to reach this point. The group started in 2002 when Flowers, a fan of David Bowie, Depeche Mode, the Cure, Oasis and Morrissey, among others, teamed with guitarist David Keuning. Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci completed the lineup after some other players came and went, and they got their record deal shortly after Stevenson heard their demo recording.

The Killers learned something about the demands and rewards of success when "Hot Fuss" arrived with no fanfare in June 2004 and quickly seemed to take over rock and then pop radio, fueled by Flowers' brashness and rock-star stance. Its U.S. sales are up to 3 million.

How long they'll be on the road now depends on the success of "Sam's Town." The album sold an encouraging 315,000 copies in its first week, but it's the long haul that will tell the story.

"There's lots of things that sell 10 million records two years ago and then they're gone and no one cares about," said Stoermer, 29. "We want as many people to like us as possible, but there's something about a longevity to the songs, that they could be played 10 years from now, that's what were trying to achieve."

That is something Flowers aimed for by writing more concrete, grounded lyrics that focus on a recurring theme.

"A lot of the album is about things that are dying — values," said the singer, who grew up the youngest of two boys and four girls in a Mormon family in Henderson, Nev., outside of Las Vegas. "The way that I was raised, it seems like kids aren't getting raised like that anymore.

"Sometimes it feels like we are trying to hold on to those values on the album, and then there are other times when it sounds like we're kind of sending them off in style, kissing them goodbye."

Flowers, who's been married for a year, isn't just a nominal Mormon.

"I'm not rigorous, but I'm not moderate either. I'm medium well," he said, laughing. "I think it gives it a push and a pull…. It keeps my life interesting I guess…. You're almost expected to be a certain way if you're in a rock 'n' roll band. And it's tempting sometimes. You know, you read stories, mythical almost stories of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Depeche Mode and everybody, and it sounds like so much fun.

"So that's there, you know, just the things around us that we can't control — I guess we could control it a little more, but we want to have a little fun too."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: the killers
« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2006, 04:16:46 PM »
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What Doesn't Brandon Flowers Hate? Bono, Beards And Cuddling
Killers frontman famous for starting spats has also professed admiration for Morrissey and eyeliner. 
Source: MTV

You've got to hand it to Killers frontman Brandon Flowers: Every time you think he's finished talking smack about other rock bands, he raises — or is it lowers? — the bar once again.

Over the past 18 months, he's cobbled together an impressive highlight reel of high-profile spats, taking on the Bravery, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and emo music in general — to name just a few.

It was enough to make even the most ardent Killers fans roll their eyes. And given the recent backlash the band has experienced thanks in no small part to their lead singer's free-flowing mouth, coupled with the newly humble tone he's been taking in interviews, it looked like Flowers was finally looking to get out of the beef business.

But lo and behold, late last week he chose yet another target for his ire: revered East Bay punks Green Day. And while that in and of itself wasn't enough to garner headlines, what Flowers was accusing them of — exploiting anti-American sentiments for commercial gain — was.

And it got us thinking: Is there anyone out there that Flowers actually likes?

Sure, there are those he couldn't possibly talk smack about — Sam Boyd, whoever invented the skeevy moustache, San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (especially if he's on Flowers' fantasy team) — but we had to cull our vast archives of interviews to find him expressing his admiration for, well, pretty much anything else.

It wasn't easy — seriously, we spent all weekend looking — but finally, we were able to assemble this list of people and things that Flowers doesn't totally hate:

October 10, 2004: In the Killers' first chat with MTV News, a doe-eyed and mop-topped Flowers spoke freely about a host of subjects, and was quick to dole out praise for Oasis ("I always loved their songs. And I remember seeing them play 'Don't Look Back in Anger,' and it was almost religious, the whole crowd screaming along; it was amazing"), Morrissey ("He's someone I've always looked up to. He came to watch us soundcheck during one of our showcase performances, and it was incredibly nerve-racking") and his own band's debut album, Hot Fuss ("I listen to it as much as I listen to anything else, which is sort of pathetic").

He also gave the following endorsement to his old employer, the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas: "It was this kind of Western place. The owners were big on rodeos and things like that, so we'd have, like, the Super Bowl of Rodeo there. It was all right."

January 18, 2005: During an appearance on "TRL," Flowers called the Killers' three Grammy nominations "an honor," and copped to being giddy about "being up against U2 and Elvis Costello — all these legendary acts — that's really what it's all about."

March 25, 2005: In the very interview in which he would launch the now-infamous Killers/Bravery feud, Flowers also found time to inexplicably big up San Diego glam-rockers Louis XIV and some of his favorite movie stars, including James Spader and Eric Roberts — who would go on to appear in their video for "Mr. Brightside" — because "he's a quintessential bad guy. He gives you the dirt and grime you need. He's sweaty and manly and completely cool."

June 20, 2005: Perhaps a little gun-shy after the Bravery incident, Flowers sighed his way through an interview at New York's Irving Plaza — though he still behaved better than guitarist Dave Keuning, who treated the whole thing like a root canal — giving half-hearted shouts to U2 (again) and Depeche Mode and touting the magical healing powers of laughter: "I hope our video makes people laugh. That's a good thing for people." Plus, he gives his thumbs-up to the Killers' pre-show ritual, something they've dubbed "the Cuddle."

"We all join together in a circle before we go onstage," he said. "Even our feet touch, which is something I just kind of noticed. It's kind of like a soccer coach talking to the kids."

April 27, 2006: In the midst of recording the Killers' Sam's Town, Flowers took a brief minute to describe his newfound adulation for Bruce Springsteen ("He's a gift," Flowers enthused), his mighty studio beard ("It's only added to my Samson complex!") and the many amenities that Las Vegas' Palms Casino, where Sam's was recorded, has to offer, including "an 'erotic suite' down the hall" and "a basketball-themed room with multiple beds that come out of the walls."

September 23, 2006: Backstage at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, Flowers — now sporting a sufficiently creepy moustache — talks up bands that "influenced" the making of Sam's Town, including Queen, ELO, Peter Gabriel and Dire Straits. And despite his new Western duds and praise for "all things Americana," he still gives props to, well, one of his favorite props from the Killers' last album: eyeliner.

"I have four sisters, so there was always eyeliner around," he laughed. "I'll still wear it on occasion too, if I feel like it. It gives me a bit of a gypsy feel."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Neil

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Re: the killers
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2007, 03:53:09 AM »
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These guys really know what the hell they are doing...I mean that's as simple as I can put...From the chord changes to every vocal hook...I mean damn what a great record...I'm a believer of the killers.
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RegularKarate

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Re: the killers
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2007, 09:49:24 AM »
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These guys really know what the hell they are doing...

Yes, attrociously ripping off Bruce Springsteen and making me actually HATE keyboards

MacGuffin

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Re: the killers
« Reply #49 on: August 27, 2007, 07:32:11 PM »
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Killers Talk About Two New LPs, Duet With Lou Reed
Group isn't saying much about third studio LP, but bassist says quite a bit about forthcoming B-sides collection.
Source: MTV

If the Killers have learned anything from their experiences with Sam's Town, it's that they're probably better off not talking to the press.

"I think we're all learning to be more careful with what we say. Like [frontman] Brandon [Flowers'] Bruce Springsteen comments about the last record," bassist Mark Stoermer sighed. "People took that as if [Sam's] was some sort of Bruce tribute album. I mean, you can hear influences there, but to single out that one thing, that early on, it put a picture in a lot of people's minds. So we're playing it close to the vest now."

You can't really blame Stoermer for being tight, er, vested. After all, it's pretty fair to say that Flowers' media sessions in the lead-up to Sam's Town — including one spectacular interview with MTV News last May, in which he launched the whole Springsteen thing, talked about his artistic rebirth and asserted that Sam's was "one of the best albums in the past 20 years" — did more harm than good, and most certainly led to some of the album's less-than-stellar reviews.

So this time around, the entire band is trying very hard to keep things secret.

"We've got some new songs, but there's a long way to go before they're ready for an album," Stoermer said. "So far, they're different than Sam's Town, but nothing that we write surprises me. Some are a bit stripped down for us — whatever that means. Some have the vibe of [Jacques Lu Cont's] 'Thin White Duke remix' of 'Mr. Brightside.' We talk about what we want for the album, but inevitably, it always gets away from us."

Another reason they're being so elusive? Well, they've got another album to knock out before they even think about the follow-up to Sam's Town: a still-untitled B-sides album (tentatively due in November), which Stoermer said would tie up a lot of loose ends. "It's for the completists," he said, noting that the album would also feature two or three never-before-recorded songs written during the Sam's Town sessions.

"That's the idea, at least," he said. "[Those kinds of albums aren't] the same in these days of file sharing, but for our fans to have it all together, remixed and retracked — well, we think that's cool. When we were growing up In the '90s, we were fans of [B-sides collections like] Oasis' The Masterplan, the [Smashing] Pumpkins' Pisces Iscariot, Nirvana's Incesticide. So we're trying to do something like that."

And though he's not talking much about those two or three new songs — remember the vow of silence — Stoermer did let it be know that one of them is a duet, which they're currently recording with none other than Lou Reed.

"Yeah, Lou's here, recording it right now," he said. "It's a huge deal and an honor. We've never done a duet before, and Brandon had the idea to ask Lou if he would sing on it, since we felt his voice would go really well on it. And so we did, and he said 'yes.' It's pretty amazing, and the song is great too."

So can we expect to hear more duets on album number three?

"Heh, we're just talking about stuff like that now ... maybe deciding where we're going to record it," he laughed. "Other than that, we don't really have any plans. Maybe take a little break!"
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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