The Killers: Don't call us retro
Oct 12, 2004

By GARY GRAFF
Of The Daily Oakland Press

The Killers' debut album is called "Hot Fuss," and that's an apt description for what's been going on around the Las Vegas quartet.

With a crafted, upbeat sound that recalls 1980s favorites such as New Order, Duran Duran, the Smiths and even the Cars, the group has been on "band to watch" hot lists in such publications as Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. Former Smiths frontman Morrissey is an outspoken fan.

Warmly embraced by British audiences and media before "Hot Fuss" came out at home, the Killers have logged radio hits with singles including "Somebody Told Me" and "Mr. Brightside," while "Hot Fuss" is one of 10 finalists for this year's prestigious Shortlist Music Prize.
Still, singer-keyboardist Brandon Flowers, who formed the Killers almost three years ago with guitarist David Keuning, laments that "in most cases we don't get taken that seriously."

"I don't sing about wanting to kill myself, and there's not all this publicity about what a cokehead I am," he says. "People think there's no way we can be this good.

"Maybe if I was on heroin or talked about how difficult life is, it would help. But this is what we are, and I'm glad the people who come to the shows and buy the records seem to like it."

Flowers, 23, says one of the best residual effects of the group's success has been the reaction of his 35-year-old brother, who he credits with turning him on to much of the music that influenced the Killers' sound.

"He grew up right in the time of U2 and the Smiths and everything," Flowers says. "I remember him having New Musical Express covers on his wall, blasting the Cure and everything. So to have us be on the NME cover and have Morrissey and Duran Duran talking about us in interviews, he's just in shock. I love it."


And, Flowers adds, he and his bandmates don't mind the comparisons - as long as you don't call them retro.

"Getting compared to anybody that's great, like that is wonderful," Flowers says, "but to say that we're just an 1980s band, that bothers me 'cause we're not. If we took the keyboards out, nobody would say that, I don't think.

"But so far, we haven't been compared to anybody who makes us cringe - except for, like, Gary Numan. All I know is 'Cars,' so I don't know what part of him they're comparing us to. Everyone else has been OK, though."