January 2005

rockpressmagazine

I was lucky enough to get to talk to Mr. Spymaster himselfÖRonnie Vannucci.

Bob: Everywhere I look I see you guys. Congratulations on all your success.
Ronnie: Thank you. Itís awesome.

Bob: Tell me about your life when you guys put The Killers together.
Ronnie: I was a music student. I played classical percussion at UNLV and I had sworn off rock and roll for a good three and a half years after being frustrated with both myself and playing situations around town. I decided to commit myself to playing music and getting better.
I was asked to play an emergency gig for my roommate who had a band. I had never heard this band. I winged this gig and it happened to be with The Killers. It was one of their first gigs. Dave and Brandon had the band before Mark and I joined. Thatís when I met Dave and Brandon and struck up a friendship. At the time I wasnít interested in being in a band. I was really focused on finishing school. Being in a band was almost the furthest thing in my mind. When I heard them I was like WOW, this is something I can really relate to as far as being influenced by the same songwriters and bands and musicians. I actually tried to find them a different drummer and one thing led to another and eventually I was asked to join and I said ďWhy donít we play together first?Ē I forget what happened, but Dave couldnít make it over so me and Brandon went to my house and I had an old upright piano and we played for hours and hours and got some teriyaki chicken afterwards and it was as easy as that. Then Dave came over and the bass player they had couldnít make a commitment. So after a week we went looking for bass players. Mark had seen the first couple shows and ended up being our first fill-in bass player. Me and Mark actually played our first show together back in 2002 (with The Killers). We tried some other bass players out for awhile because Mark was in another band and didnít want to break up that commitment, but that band ended up falling apart anyway and it freed Mark up and he said he was in! So we started writing and recording and doing shows and working really, really hard. Itís all been good.

Bob: Your CD ďHot FussĒ brings back memories of Duran Duran and the Smiths, but with a new twist and in a very refreshing and original way. It takes me back to some really good times in my life.
Ronnie: Thank you. I think thatís what we all thought when we started making this music. It was never a concerted effort or issue of us sitting around the table saying we are going to write these type of songs. We are inspired by a lot of different music and I think it just pours out in the music we create. I think what it really comes back to is getting back to writing songs again. I think it has been missing for a long time as far as pop music goes in the States. There is something to be said for a lot of 80ís bands besides their hairdoís and synthesizers. Back then they had a lot of good songs. Songs take you to a place, as you were saying, and that is what they are supposed to do. I guarantee you if you hear a Limp Bizkit tune, itís not going to take you anywhere. It might remind you of something, but a song, a true song, should really be able to take you someplace and affect you. I think that is how we kind of write, how we craft songs. I guess thatís what we do.

Bob: People like Simon LeBon (Duran Duran) and David Bowie have gone on record saying good things about you. These are legendary people, dude!
Ronnie: We are not ones to get starstruck by any means, but we had David Bowie come to one of our shows in New York and he came backstage. Just to hear his comments on the music and hear him say good things about our music and our playing just weirds me out. I have never been one to get starstruck for whatever reason but that really seemed to affect me and affect all of us, I think. That and Bono (U2). Me and Brandon actually had the chance to hang with Bono and have a similar experience. Just to even be recognized let alone liked. I think that is great. I canít wait to get the second record out.

Bob: Did you start the next record yet?
Ronnie: Yeah. We are doing some demos tonight.

Bob: I thought you got your band name from and old Iron Maiden album (laughs).
Ronnie: (Laughing) No, but we are fans. We actually got it from a New Order video. Itís not that itís New Order. It was just a really, really great name for a band. Itís from their ďCrystalĒ video which comes off their album ďGet ReadyĒ from 2001. A lot of people think we might just be hanging from New Orderís nuts, but truth be told, it could have been anybodyís video and we wouldíve taken that name.

Bob: Every time I turn on the TV, I see you guys. Have you done all the talk shows at this point?
Ronnie: All of them but Leno. We were asked but we had a scheduling conflict. We will get on there eventually. We are doing Saturday Night Live on January 15th.

Bob: You have made it!

Ronnie: We are pretty excited. We are going to try and get in some skits.