The Killers’ front­man Brandon Flow­ers talks to JOHN MEAGHER about fa­ther­hood, Ir­ish con­nec­tions, ad­vice from Bono and ad­just­ing to life on the road with­out two found­ing mem­bers

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE -

At the height of the Killers’ early suc­cess, around the time of sec­ond al­bum Sam’s Town, Re­view in­ter­viewed Brandon Flow­ers in Brighton. The band had played an elec­tri­fy­ing show the night be­fore, but the next morn­ing the front­man was sub­dued. The con­trast be­tween the pas­sion­ate per­former who had 10,000 peo­ple fol­low­ing his ev­ery word and the shy Mor­mon strug­gling to make small talk in the bland ho­tel room could hardly have been greater.

To­day, he’s on the other end of a phone line, chat­ting hap­pily about life on the road and the de­mands of be­ing a fa­ther of three young boys. He cuts a very dif­fer­ent fig­ure and you have to pinch your­self to be­lieve that any­one could be this re­laxed, shoot­ing the breeze with a jour­nal­ist on the other side of the world, just a cou­ple of hours be­fore go­ing on stage in Perth, Western Aus­tralia.

“It took a lot of time [to be­come the con­sum­mate front­man],” he says, with what sounds to these ears like a South­ern drawl. “It wasn’t some­thing that came com­pletely nat­u­ral to me. I’m ob­vi­ously a stu­dent and a sponge and a thief and I’ve al­ways been at­tracted to the great front­men like a lot of peo­ple. I’ve taken what they’ve had to offer and fun­nelled it through my weird life in Las Ve­gas, and that’s kind of how I came to be­come what I am.”

He says he had an awak­en­ing in his mid 20s, af­ter the Killers’ star­tling elec­tro-rock de­but, Hot Fuss, was re­leased. “I fell in love with peo­ple like Bruce Spring­steen and it showed me an­other road, an­other av­enue, that I could take. So it was pow­er­ful to me to re­alise that I share things in com­mon with him and I ended up fall­ing in love with that [way of con­duct­ing one­self ] and of mu­sic that spoke to me and my life — and it’s noth­ing to do with de­bauch­ery. He’s al­most ‘clean’, if you know what I mean. The light went on for me — that’s re­ally who I am.

“I fell in love with mu­sic at 12 or 13, lis­ten­ing to stuff like the Cars and New Or­der and David Bowie and it was strange to have it hap­pen again when I was 25.”

He says Spring­steen’s ex­am­ple has helped him jug­gle the de­mands of be­ing a par­ent with fronting a glob­ally pop­u­lar band. “I’ve been lucky. There are the foun­da­tions put in place by my par­ents — I have that go­ing for me right away. But in the be­gin­ning, when I started to make mu­sic, I didn’t know what it meant to be a suc­cess­ful rock ’n’ roller or pop star and the only ex­am­ples I have are these peo­ple that are mythol­o­gised or idolised and of­ten lived lives that weren’t con­ducive to hav­ing a healthy fam­ily. But now I know that I can be in a band and be a fa­ther and not go down a de­bauch­er­ous road. And Bruce lit the way for me.”

Flow­ers has also looked to other clean-cut rock­ers, in­clud­ing Bono who helped him come up with the ti­tle of the clos­ing track on lat­est al­bum, Won­der­ful Won­der­ful. “I sent Bono an email and the sub­ject was ‘Have All the Songs Been Writ­ten?’ He told me he thought it would be a great ti­tle. But it’s some­thing that I was think­ing about when I was writ­ing the songs on this al­bum and it’s some­thing I still think about? Are there still great songs to write?

“It’s been 60 or 70 years of great songs, and what’s left to be said? That’s some­thing you wres­tle with ev­ery time you go into a record­ing stu­dio. And, of course, there are still great songs that

You can con­nect with a loved one over other peo­ple’s songs, but I never ex­pected it would hap­pen with one of my own

have yet to be writ­ten. We just have to be in­spired by all those great songs of the past — hell, I even wrote a cou­ple of them my­self!”

Won­der­ful Won­der­ful has at­tracted gen­er­ally good reviews and it’s widely thought to be the band’s most per­sonal al­bum to date. Flow­ers says he was in­spired by dif­fi­cult pe­ri­ods in his life and of the chal­lenges faced by his wife of 13 years, Tana, when she suf­fered de­pres­sion so dark in 2015 that she con­sid­ered end­ing her own life.

“There’s a song on the al­bum, ‘Rut’, that I’m re­ally proud of and writ­ing it helped me to be­come more com­pas­sion­ate and have more em­pa­thy for my wife,” he says. “We had some re­ally in­ti­mate mo­ments when I was work­ing on that song be­cause I was check­ing that she liked each line I wrote and I’d run any changes by her. You can con­nect with a loved one over other peo­ple’s songs, but I never ex­pected it would hap­pen with one of my own songs.”

Some­body told me: Flow­ers says Bruce Spring­steen was his role model on how not go down a de­bauch­er­ous road

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