The Cairns Post

Reunited for a killer concept

WITH AN ORIGINAL LINE-UP AND TIME ON THEIR SIDE, THE KILLERS PRODUCE A PANDEMIC RECORD WITH A DIFFERENCE

- CAMERON ADAMS

Brandon Flowers, frontman of US rock band the Killers, turned 40 in June. There was no party but he was around old friends: the band was prerecordi­ng its headline slot of the virtual Splendour in the Grass festival that aired last month.

“I think we did have a dinner after,” Flowers says.

“We’ll have to get the hookers and cocaine out for 41, I guess,” drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr jokes.

That virtual performanc­e didn’t just mark a milestone for Flowers; the old friends he was surrounded by were a big deal for Killers fans.

It was the first time the original Killers line-up – with guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer – had performed together in five years.

By the time of the last Killers tour, Keuning and Stoermer had become frustrated with life on the road and were replaced with other musicians, leaving only two original members on stage.

“Even though it’s been half a decade since we played together, there’s just this familiarit­y that we feel,” Flowers says of this year’s virtual reunion.

“We have warm feelings for the things we’ve shared with everybody. It was nice to be there together; we could have probably used a little more practice, but we pulled it off, I think.”

Last year’s album, Imploding the Mirage, saw Stoermer return for several tracks, while Keuning hasn’t been on a Killers album since 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful.

When the pandemic saw the world tour for Imploding the Mirage put on hold, Flowers decided to head back to the studio (after posting a viral virus video washing his hands to the band’s hit Mr Brightside).

Keuning, who had released a solo project, reconnecte­d with the band, while Stoermer sat out.

“Mark had some anxiety about Covid, as we all did,” Flowers says.

“You can’t fault him for wanting to stay the hell away, so he wasn’t able to come to the studio, but we were all being very cautious, wearing masks, all that.”

“(Producer) Brian Eno always says even when you finish a record, maybe you should keep working. So it’s always in our minds, but this time we were actually able to keep those muscles we’d been flexing working because we weren’t touring. The thing about this record that’s different (is) these are songs that are quieter, they show more restraint than ones that otherwise wouldn’t be able to compete with your typical Killers songs. So we’re really grateful for the opportunit­y to make a record like this.”

The resulting record, Pressure Machine, is also the first Killers’ concept album.

Flowers wrote the lyrics before the music – a Killers first – fashioning them around his memories of growing up in Nephi, a small town in Utah.

They range from a man struggling with his sexuality, to dealing drugs, and the first bodycount on a Killers song since their debut album.

“We’ve got another body on this record,” Flowers says of Desperate Times. “Nick Cave was definitely

Brandon EVER since The Killers’ hit When You Were Young, Flowers has been openly channellin­g his hero, Bruce Springstee­n (pictured). This year, The Boss belatedly turned the Killers’ Springstee­n-esque 2008 single A Dustland Fairytale into a duet. “It was such a treat,” Flowers says. “He’s such a part of the American fabric, he’s an icon. But what’s amazing around about him is that he’s genuinely really nice. You’re little phony people and you can kind of read them if they’re a so much but or if they’re arrogant. He’s obviously accomplish­ed to do that, we were he still takes time for people. It was so cool for him so happy with how it turned out.” on my mind writing that song.

Man I’d love to hear his baritone delivery of that song.”

“Brandon had a more deliberate approach to lyric writing,” Vannucci Jr says.

“This is what it’s about, now let’s go and build a universe around this story. That new approach to songwritin­g has turned out to be fruitful; I could see us doing this again.”

Indeed, the band has already started working on another new album. “Brandon’s been on a bit of a roll,” Vannucci Jr says.

“It makes me feel good knowing that if there is another government­al shutdown, we would know what to do next. First we get our frozen foods, then we start working on the next batch of ideas. Mark and Dave are also on board.

“We are letting ourselves stretch enough to disregard the boundaries we otherwise might have put on ourselves. We’re tapping into new sources, there’s new inspiratio­n. It’s giving us a green light into a lot of different directions, it feels limitless in a way.”

The band announced an Australian tour before the pandemic, with tickets never put on sale. At this stage, they’ve tentativel­y locked in a tour here in March – pandemic dependent.

The “revolving door” line-up means Flowers thinks Keuning is more likely to be on the Australian tour than Stoermer.

“We’re still in talks with Mark and Dave to see how it will work, but the tour is all planned,” Flowers says.

“We still haven’t played in front of living, breathing people for 18 months now. We’re chomping at the bit.”

Pressure Machine is out today.

 ??  ?? Dave Keuning, Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci Jr from US rock band The Killers have a new album out.
Dave Keuning, Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci Jr from US rock band The Killers have a new album out.
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