NME March 20,2004
Are you sitting comfortably? Then
we'll begin. Once upon a time, in a city far away called Las
Vegas, there was a boy called Brandon Flowers who was born
to tell synth-laden stories of sex and suicide with his band
The young Brandon Flowers lived for music. He loved New
Order and Morrissey and dreamed up stories of death and dark
longings. Yet Brandon was lonely, since all the boys his age
were stupid nu-metal fuckos. Then his friend Dave Keuning
"I like the Pet Shop Boys," said David.
"I like Duran Duran," said Brandon.
"And we both like eyeliner!" they said. So David (guitar)
and Brandon (vocals), alongside their friends Mark Stoermer
(bass) and Ronnie Vannucci (drums) formed a band called The
Killers and told Brandon's tales. Tales of sports star
stalkers, dead disco dancers and gambling Brando freaks.
Tales like these...
Somebody Told Me
"This is the story of trying to meet someone in a club,"
says Brandon. "It could be a strip club or a dance club."
In the chorus there's a girl who has an androgynous
boyfriend, who looks like an equally androgynous girlfriend
the narrator once dated. Explain.
"It's really just a play on words," says Brandon. "But it
gets people confused. That's good."
"I don't know what that's about," admits guitarist David,
"other than boys and girls dancing. I love that."
Both David and Brandon are keen to keep The Killers unisex.
"The androgyny means we appeal to boys and girls," says
Brandon. "That's really important to us."
Andy You're a Star
"It's about a football player from my high school," explains
Brandon. "Teachers favour the football players and
wrestlers. It's made known: these guys are special. In fact,
the teachers encouraged the hierarchy, as a lot of them were
'Andy...' is sung from the point of view of a stalker, who
eyes the titular jock on the field, admires his plaques in
the school hall and grows jealous of his girlfriend. Brandon
says it's "a song for a loner".
"The longhairs and the musicians," remembers Brandon, "they
would get treated the worst by the sportsmen and coaches.
They were always bullied."
So are The Killers getting back at the jocks?
"No," smiles Brandon, "just taking a new look."
The Ballad of Michael Valentine
Ronnie's friend Rod sometimes calls himself Michael
"He's a professional gambler," says Brandon, "who acts as if
he's from the '50's, like Brando or something."
The booze and betting odyssey described in this B-side
didn't actually take place - "I wish it had," says Brandon -
yet some parts are true.
"A lot of people in Vegas say they're professional gamblers,
but they actually lose," explains bassist Mark. "Others
advertise their services as professional gamblers, saying
they'll teach you how to play, say, blackjack the best you
But Mr. Valentine actually makes money from card games?
"He's amazing," says Brandon, "like something out of a
"It's about the last days of disco, how AIDS brought it
crashing down," says Brandon. "I was born in 1981, so I
don't remember it. There was some cheesy music, but I think
a lot of good things then, especially bands like The Cure,
intertwined dance with rock."
"I love the Pet Shop Boys," says David. "I think Neil
Tennant's head should be carved on Mount Rushmore."
In the Killers' tune New York girl Natalie parties hard,
catches HIV from a dirty needle and dies.
"I guess it's the tragedy that draws us to this subject
matter," says Brandon. 'It makes for a good song, a
Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf
A pop trilogy will appear on The Killers' debut album later
this year, telling the story of another girl's death at the
hands of her ex-boyfriend.
"We haven't finished the first song in the series," says
Brandon, "but it's called 'Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf.'
It's about a couple breaking up; all the boy cares about is
keeping the whiskey they bought."
That is, until she finds a new man. During the second song,
'Midnight Show', he hears she's met someone new and
jealously drowns his former lover. The final song, simply
called 'Jenny', is also told from the murderer's point of
view, as he tried to piece together his alibi during a
"It's OK making the decision to split up," says Brandon,
"but when somebody finds somebody else, it's terrible; it's
the worst feeling in the world."
Flowers says he isn't the boy in the song, yet there's
always autobiography in there somewhere. How did your last
relationship end, Brandon?
"She found another boy. It was kinda ugly!"