THE ROAD TO WONDERFULWONDERFUL, the first new album from the Killers in five years, was long and winding. In the years since Battle Born, members indulged in a series of side-projects before setting to work with producers Stuart Price and Jacknife Lee. After several false starts, they found the key to the future in the past; a tour celebrating the tenth anniversary of Sam’s Town convinced frontman Brandon Flowers that the band’s fifth album needed to be built around a common centre.
With bass player Mark Stoermer and guitarist Dave Keuning both bowing out of touring duties, Flowers seized the opportunity to make his most personal album to date, ruminating on modern masculinity and where he sees himself in that continuum as he moves from the swinging braggadocio of lead single “The Man,” to more tender fare, like “Some Kind of Love.”
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
If I went to a gig that I was fully invested in, that I was going to pay money for — and I was really receptive to spiritual experiences, you know, I wanted it — I had such a reverence for the singers. I was so excited to see people like Morrissey and Robert Smith and be breathing the same air and be in the same room as Dave Gahan, so every concert I went to in my teenage years was special to me. Now, it’s changed so much. I’m the singer of a band and people aren’t content with just being in a room with you anymore. It’s not just an autograph, it’s a selfie and you can’t take it with the whole group, it’s got to be everybody on their own. I once went to the Hard Rock because I heard Martin Gore was at the Circle Bar at the Hard Rock, and I went and just watched him. I just wanted to get a glimpse of him and his hair and see what kind
of a jacket he was wearing. I guess I had a different approach to it all.
What have been your career highs and lows?
We’ve had a lot of boxes checked. In the early days it would have been getting a record deal, opening for Morrissey, having a number one record in England and things like that — those things were really exciting. We played Wembley Stadium on the last tour and that was something that every band dreams about. Seeing that realized is pretty indescribable.
What’s the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
After we played the Electric Ballroom in London in 2006, I read the Rolling Stone review of Sam’s Town. [The review reads, in part: “The Killers leave no pompous arena cliché untweaked in their quest to rewrite ‘Born to Run’ — even though one of the reasons Springsteen’s a genius is that he’s never tried to rewrite ‘Born to Run’ himself… They seem like they’re trying to make a big statement, except they have nothing to say.”] That’s the meanest thing I guess.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
I had a pretty big mouth in the early days. Elton John basically told me to stop it and keep my head down. That’s how he said it. I think I eventually got there. Don’t be drawing so much attention to yourself and let the songs do the talking. It took me a long time to do that, I don’t know why, but it was the right advice.
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Some of my favourite days in my life are when I’ve gone on five or six hour hikes and then get back into town and go to Caesar’s Palace for dinner or something like that. I guess I kind of like that contrast of being able to mix those things.
What was the first LP/cassette/ CD/ eight track you ever bought with your own money?
The Cars’ Greatest Hits on cassette. Songs like “Just What I Needed” and “Tonight She Comes” — those were the songs that spoke to me at that age. Grunge was in full swing,
“Elton John told me to keep my head down.”