April 25, 2024

After being dumped Blush Response, a synth-pop outfit, over whether or not to relocate to L.A., keyboardist Brandon Flowers attended a ‘02 Oasis concert and decided next time around he’d like to be in a more guitar-oriented band.

An ad in a local music paper, referencing Oasis as an influence, led Flowers to hook up with David Keuning. The two began writing songs with “Mr. Brightside” being their first effort. Keuning had a verse and Flowers added the chorus. 

As often happens, finding the rest of the group was a bit more difficult. A series of bassists and drummers tried out before Ronnie Vannucii and Mark Stoermer were enlisted. But even with the line-up in place it was tough going. Day jobs, rather than gigs, paid the bills.

The Killers, who took their name from a New Order video, soon built a local rep but their first label contract came from the London based indie Lizard King.

The group left for England to record and tour. Later, an appearance at the CMJ (College Music Journal) show in New York led to a worldwide (except the UK) deal with Island. ’04 saw the release of their “Hot Fuss” album which went multi-platinum.

Still hanging on to their Vegas roots (refusing to relocate to L.A.), The Killers, in October, ’06, released “Sam’s Town,” the title referencing an old school Vegas casino/hangout.

Not that there was a cause and effect but the group appeared on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, then the following week “Sam’s Town” reached #2 (behind Evanescence’s “The Open Door”) on the Billboard 200 album chart.

The Killers issued their third studio effort “Day & Age” in late ’08. “Human” was the lead single. Prior to the album’s release the group once again appeared on Saturday Night Live.

“Day & Age” went to #1 in the U.K. and #6 on the Billboard 200 selling more than four-million copies. At the NME Awards, the band won the Best International Band honor for the third time (’05 and ’08 were the other two years).

Going on hiatus, band members engaged in solo projects. In ’10 Flowers recorded “Flamingo,” featuring “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas,” a collaboration with Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis. 

“She’s always popped into my mind whenever I think about getting a female vocalist involved because she’s a fellow child of Las Vegas, too,” Flowers told NME in an interview. 

Utilizing the talents of a veritable fleet of big-name producers (Steve Lillywhite, Damian Taylor, O’Brien, Price and Lanois), The Killers produced “Battle Born,” their fourth album. The set contained the balled “Here With Me.”

Two years later, and without a new album to promote, The Killers launched a ’16 tour. It hit a bump when the group announced that Stoermer was taking a break. While still involved with The Killers, he planned to make a solo album and “pursue other educational goals.” 

“Don’t Waste Your Wishes,” a Christmas charity compilation of the band’s holiday singles, dropped in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of (RED). Co-founded by Bono (U2), the organization worked to eradicate AIDS in Africa. 

The Killers issued “Wonderful, Wonderful” in ’17, the band’s first album in five years. Flowers said the effort presented “the more tender side” of the band. It worked.  The set went to #1 on the U.K. Album chart, the Billboard Top Rock Albums and the Billboard 200.

“Imploding The Mirage,” a ’20 release, was the first album not to feature Keuning who was on an indefinite hiatus.  The guitar parts were played by Stoermer and producer Jonathan Rado along with guest musicians – including Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham.  While the album followed its predecessors to the top of the U.K. Albums and the Billboard Top Rock Albums charts, it only peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200.

Next, The Killers presented “Pressure Machine,” a concept album based on Flowers’ youth in Utah, that dealt with prescription drug abuse and poverty, crime, homophobia, and depression with “touches of hope and joy sprinkled throughout it.”  While the album marked Keuning’s return, Stoermer’s studio contributions were reduced due to difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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