Natural born Killers

Metromix, 8 September 2004

Actually, not really. Those songs about murder? They're pure fiction, we're told

Las Vegas is a breeding ground for many things, but considering that most DJs in town play Korn and Slipknot in between striptease sets, good music has never been one of them. But even Sin City's bad music genes can have the occasional mutation.

Enter Vegas natives The Killers, four new-wave hipsters whose synth beats, glammy guitars and morbid tales of love sound like Duran Duran and Depeche Mode teaming up for a blackjack game. Even Morrissey himself took notice of the group's debut, "Hot Fuss," and enlisted them to open his summer tour.

Between stops in Europe and Japan, and before a series of dates with the Pixies, The Killers will stop in Chicago for their own headlining gig. We caught up with singer Brandon Flowers to find out what the, er, fuss is all about.

Your album dwells a bit on murders and stalkers. Where's all this anger from?

I've always loved crime shows on TV, and I love horror films. "The Ring," "The Exorcist," "The Omen." The old man in "The Exorcist"--oh my gosh. He scares the hell out of me. It's fun to write about dark things. Some of the characters are real, but none of the murders are true, though, I promise.

You've played Chicago a few times. Have you gotten to hang out in the city at all?

It's cliched, but we went for Chicago-style pizza. It was awful. I still love the cheap pizza --Little Ceasar's, Pizza Hut.

Before joining The Killers, I hear you were a bellhop at the Gold Coast Hotel in Vegas.

First of all, I was a bell-man. And it wasn't as exciting as it's made out to be. It was usually just miserable. I'd make like $2 on the graveyard shift. It was Western-themed, and sometimes, when the rodeo was in town, I used to have to cart these really heavy brass sculptures into the cowboys' rooms, like an old man smoking a pipe, or a cowboy riding a bull. I don't know what was going on with that.

Rumor has it that Andy Dick recently got, um, fresh with your lawyer.

He humped his leg at Coachella. Whatever. Isn't he in his 40s? Grow up, dude. It's OK to be young at heart, but humping someone's leg is ... well, a little too young.

Your sound is decidedly retro. Is that a conscious choice?

Yeah, well, I don't want to really be influenced by someone right now. Maybe it's an ego thing. Everything today sucks ... Bands like The Stills bother me because they're all style and no substance. It's totally obvious that these kids don't love the classics like we love them. They're just in it for the now.

The last time you played in Chicago, one of your amps caught on fire. What happened?

Just a freak accident, really. It was my monitor. We were playing "Mr. Brightside," and I saw a little flame, and five seconds later it was flames everywhere, two feet high in the middle of the stage.

Feel like you were having a Hendrix moment?

Ah, I don't know. We put it out with a fire extinguisher, which wasn't very Hendrix at all. It was definitely not one of rock's greatest moments.