The Killers liven '80s synth-pop
By Costa Caloudas

American University's The Eagle
Published: Friday, April 2, 2004

Brandon Flowers, lead singer for the Killers, is a relatively patient man. Instead of venting his frustation about being locked out of the Black Cat when his band should be loading gear, he opts instead to head over to the 24-hour laundromat across the street. This isn't all that could bug Flowers today on their tour with Stellastarr*. The Killers have a painfully early set time and they'll be playing to a partially empty club, while the audience slowly trickles in. Even more irksome, the band wont be able to see the Capitol building before they leave D.C.

Las Vegas' the Killers (not to be confused with mediocre White Stripes poseurs the Kills) have been causing a ruckus overseas with their high-octane brand of new wave, glam and all-things-'80s throwback. London has taken a quick liking to the band - one-upping the stateside market namely because of the Killers lack of a U.S. record contract.

Now the group has inked a deal with Island Records, which has proven time and time again that it knows how to market bands and sell records, especially awful acts like Everlast and Hoobastank. Just think, if Island can make the most embarrassing acts go platinum, imagine what they can do with an actual talent such as the Killers.

Two things separate the Killers from the onslaught of hip bands like the Strokes, the Walkmen and Interpol: working class background and the lack of a scene. An alarming trend has followed all of the aforementioned bands - one has to come from affluent families to be in a successful, young band.

"You want to hate them for it, but they write good songs," Flowers admitted. "The decline of the starving artist is a little annoying. The only reason it would bother me is if they were pompous, and some of them are," a statement in reference to a few unfortunate run-ins with rude musicians who will go unnamed.

Las Vegas also isolates the Killers from scene trends in New York and Los Angeles.

"[Vegas is] like a cheap L.A.," Flowers said. "The fake culture crap gets fed here a year later."

The Killers go relatively unnoticed in Vegas - a city completely devoid of music history - even from their friends.

"We get no love in Vegas whatsoever," Flowers said. The only acts from Vegas worth mentioning are '80s hair-metal kings Slaughter, and Toni Basil, of "Hey Mickey, you're so fine" fame. But Sin City has had no musical affect on the band, aside from teaching them a lesson or two on financial planning.

"I was a bellhop," Flowers recalled. "I saw people get drunk and lose all their money, so it was a good example of what not to do."

Flowers also has a passion for listening to historic music figures, from David Bowie to Iggy Pop, both of whom have lost a step in recent years, according to Flowers, with Bowie making mediocre solo albums and Pop collaborating with Sum 41.

"The only one who hasn't lost a step is Morrissey," Flowers said of the U.K. cult hero. "He's my hero."