Preview: New Wave band rides out of Sin City with a 'Hot Fuss'
Friday, December 03, 2004
By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Killers didn't get the memo: the one that says New Wave revival
bands are supposed to start in New York, like the Rapture,
Stellastar, Interpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The Killers stem from the land of Wayne Newton, Siegfried and Roy
and little else resembling a real rock band. Las Vegas is where Iowa
native and guitarist Dave Keuning went to eventually place an ad in
a weekly paper to form a band whose style was yet to be named.
"It was probably a weird choice," Keuning says, "because even though
we're from there, don't be fooled, there isn't much there for bands
-- or musicians. That's why I had to take out the ad."
It was answered by Brandon Flowers, a singer-songwriter-keyboardist
who had just been axed from a band called Blush Response and who
shared Keuning's affection for '80s acts like The Cure, U2 and New
Order. Once they started writing together, that's the sound that
With a rhythm section intact a year later, The Killers hit a Vegas
club scene that was just a notch above deadly for any band, let
alone an original one not wearing sequins.
"It was really hard to get people out, but we were different than
any other band from Vegas. The few people who actually liked our
music kind of came out of the woodwork. If you don't love the usual
punk-metal-type thing there was us as an alternative."
Like the Strokes, they made their reputation across the Atlantic,
with the help of a British label, Lizard King, that was willing to
gamble on a Vegas New Wave band. Lizard King had The Killers tour
England, where they were embraced by fans, despite being an American
band playing music that sounds British.
"The people never had a problem with it," he says. "I don't think
they should. I think some in the press there do [show] favoritism,
though. I think the press is rooting for their own family."
Back in the States, the Killers signed to Island Def Jam and issued
"Hot Fuss," a debut record with a moody synth-rock sound that's more
pop-smart and less abrasive than most of the New York bands. With
MTV adding the band's catchy single, "Somebody Told Me," "Hot Fuss"
hit No. 26 on the album charts and earned The Killers such niceties
as a Shortlist Awards nomination and a coveted spot on "The O.C."
Asked if the Killers could be the band to push the New Wave revival
into a broader spotlight, Keuning says, "It may be a little early to
say. It's possible. Around the time we started the band, I heard
about this whole New Wave thing and it was something that people
wanted to have happen in a weird way. We came out and we were thrown
Not that The Killers have a problem being associated with a bunch of
other bands who, while borrowing heavily from the past, are actually
"I love that kind of music, so I'm not embarrassed in the least. But
I think it's just a fad, and it's going to end in a few years, and I
hope we're still around, because we're not a fad and our songs
aren't going to get any worse because there are less bands to pick