The Killers' Brandon Flowers on New Music, Being a Man and Calling His Hero; the Killers Frontman Tones Down the Swagger, but Still Thinks His Band Is the Best in the World

By Fleming, Amy | Newsweek, September 15, 2017 | Go to article overview

The Killers' Brandon Flowers on New Music, Being a Man and Calling His Hero; the Killers Frontman Tones Down the Swagger, but Still Thinks His Band Is the Best in the World


Fleming, Amy, Newsweek


Byline: Amy Fleming

The pre-concert obsessions of rock stars generally revolve around green room snacks or the order of the song list. For Brandon Flowers, the sinuous frontman of Las Vegas band the Killers, it was the color of the confetti. When bits of paper rained down on a crowd of 65,000 fans at London's Hyde Park in July, they perfectly matched the bubblegum pink of his leather blazer. "I had been planning that for months," says Flowers the next day, adding that the crowd's euphoric response was "like plugging into the universe--almost like eternity or something. I hope I never get used to that."

The Hyde Park show, the Killers' first major concert in five years, was a walk-up to the release of the band's fifth album, Wonderful, Wonderful . And the pink jacket--a nod to the theme of the record's first single, "The Man"--was what the now-36-year-old Flowers wore for the release of the band's debut album, Hot Fuss, in 2004. It was the moment that introduced a key ingredient in the Killers' popularity: Flowers's rakish public persona. The lyrics for "The Man" subtly mock a hubris once compared to that of a TV evangelist: "Nothing can break, nothing can break me down/Don't need no advice, I got a plan."

"My vision of what masculinity is has definitely changed," he says. "As I've had more experience, I've come to realize it's more about compassion and empathy."

Flowers grew up idolizing the battling Gallagher brothers of Oasis, inspiration, perhaps, for his early swagger; in an early interview, he remarked of emo and pop-punk bands, "There's a creature inside me that wants to beat all those bands to death." Not long after, he apologized for that comment, and the bad-boy shtick was always an awkward fit; Flowers was raised, and remains, a devout, teetotal Mormon who frequently and unironically exclaims, "Holy cow!"--as in his response to early efforts by the band's label, Island, to sensationalize them. "Holy cow," says Flowers, "I've heard label presidents talk about how their favorite artists are stars both on and off stage--because of the controversy that they were whipping up--and my internal conscience, or whatever, just knew that wasn't right. …

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