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 Killers...

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 appeared.

"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 coaches too."

'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 Valentine.

"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 can."

But Mr. Valentine actually makes money from card games?

"He's amazing," says Brandon, "like something out of a movie."

Natalie

"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 different song."

Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf
Midnight Show
Jenny


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 police interrogation.

"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!"