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Week 48 : Day 3 : Review Journal article, 2004

Article

Where's the Love from ReviewJournal.com, 17th September 2004
by Doug Elfman.


The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers says his band gets more respect outside its hometown of Las Vegas

At the beginning of September, the Killers was the third-most played band on Los Angeles' KROQ, one of the industry leaders in American rock radio. The Las Vegas band's single, "Somebody Told Me," was making its way to the top of the Billboard Modern Rock chart.

And yet, in the Killers' hometown, the band's music was nowhere to be found on Infinity Broadcasting's rock station, KXTE-FM 107.5. Instead, Infinity was spinning the Killers on its adult-pop station, KMXB-FM, 94.1.

A programmer for KXTE did not reply to a request for a comment. But singer Brandon Flowers is glad his band is being played at all.

"Every time I'm home for a couple of days, I always hear it" on KMXB, he says of "Somebody Told Me."

Even so, the Killers-free atmosphere at KXTE plays into the stereotype that the rock that gets respect in Las Vegas comes out of the screaming mouths of metal bands or from pop-punk bands.

The Killers' kind of rock -- less anger, more keyboards and bigger variations of melody -- represents a rock trend being pitched to kids in the rest of America. But not here.

Flowers says in the past he has felt disrespected while singing in the city he grew up in, even as his band prepares for its homecoming.

"We're looking forward to it. You know, I'll be honest, though. Our crowd has never been that great in Las Vegas. You know how the kids are there."

Flowers says a sizable number of local rock fans don't want to believe the band's success with its debut album, "Hot Fuss."

"So a lot of (Vegas kids go to Killers shows) just to basically set their minds straight that we're not worth what's happening, you know? And you feel it. I feel it the second I walk out onto the stage, every time we're in Las Vegas. And it's not a positive feeling. And it's hard, because I love Las Vegas."

Locals ought to embrace not just the Killers, but different kinds of local bands, Flowers says.

"This could be a really good thing for local bands. Without us, nobody would've ever thought of Las Vegas for a band. I mean, it's been a long time" since a Vegas act, Crystal Method, became an international success in the 1990s.

"I want people to be happy," about the Killers' prosperity, Flowers says. "I just hope Vegas catches on."

Elsewhere, though, the Killers keep racking up big gigs. The entire band will make an appearance on an episode of "The O.C." later this year. The group has graced magazine covers. And the band will headline an upcoming "$2 Bill Concert Series" on MTV2.

The band's success hit Flowers when they played to huge crowd's at the V Festival in England in August. The gig was staged by British music magazine NME, during a week when the Killers topped NME's charts.

"That really hit us over the head," Flowers says. "There was 15- to 20,000 people at our gigs, two nights in a row. And there's just so many people, you can't see the ground. And every person's fist is up in the air for `All These Things That I've Done' or `Mr. Brightside.' It feels great."

"It's hectic," Flowers says. "When we finished the album, we were all happy with the way it turned out. (But) we didn't know how busy it was gonna be."

The Killers played Vegas earlier this year, before "Hot Fuss" came out. An unannounced show at the Ice House was riddled with technical problems, and the band could perform only a few songs in the wee hours of the night.

"Yeah, that was a disaster," Flowers says.

Before the group was signed to a major label, it didn't perform in public in Las Vegas much. That explains why there's no built-in local fan base. The group spent most of its time writing songs, then inked a record contract.

Now, when they perform night to night, Flowers is finding it challenging to play the same set at each concert.

"I don't know, sometimes you get a little bored from playing (the same songs) every night, and you might do something a little different," he says. "It's always exciting, (but) a lot of the moves get recycled."

Being repetitive makes him feel guilty.

"Every now and then, I'll notice a couple of people that follow us around for a couple of shows, and I feel almost embarrassed to do the same thing that I might have done the night before," he says. "But for the most part, it's all new people, so I've gotta get used to that."

On the album, Flowers sings while he plays keyboards, and he's doing the same on the road. "It keeps me on my toes," he says.

But the band might hire a keyboardist for the next album's tour to give him more time to perform as a frontman, he says.

"I think (the keyboards) will always be up there with me, but I just won't do it as much when we get another guy," he says.

Flowers says he thinks the group's songs are getting better on tour, reflecting on what he has noticed most on the road.

"They're all getting stronger. We're just really learning to play together really well, and I think it's gonna help for our new songs."


Media Watch
E! TV will repeat the SNL episode with The Killers on February 4th

Awards Watch
Grammy Awards - Best Pop Performance, Best Rock Performance, Best Remixed Recording (8th February) [read full details]
NME Awards 2006 - vote Best International Band and Best Dressed (23rd February)

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Comments
(Anonymous)

Brandon not playing the keyboards? NO!!!!!! Don't hire a different guy to play those beautiful synths!! And why doesn't Las Vegas be nice to them? That's their hometown,for crying out loud! But PLEASE Brandon! Don't hire someone else to play those synths!!!! PLEASE!!!