We know a guy who dumped his girlfriend because of her love of The Killers. And this was way before he heard the unintelligible line ‘or are we dancer’ and all those plastic saxophone solos in their infamous single ‘Human’. There’s no doubt that The Killers divide opinion, but what we’re saying is: give in. They’re America’s top pop band. Don’t believe us? Just ask lead singer Brandon Flowers (though the guy seems pretty modest over the phone). Plus, he really loves his mum, which is why we love him.
After The Killers’ debut, you were extremely confident in interviews. After the second album, you seemed humbled. Where’s your head at now after releasing Day & Age?
I’m scared, because this is where some people start to get comfortable. And I don’t want to get there. I’m not too comfortable yet. The thing that’s really kept me on my toes is what my mum would always tell me. It’s not the best thing for a mother to tell you, but after I’d lose a soccer game, she’d never tell me, ‘You’ll do better next time.’ She’d always say, ‘There’s always somebody better.’
So not, ‘You can’t win ’em all,’ so much as, ‘You can’t win.’
There’s always someone ahead. For this album, it was Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’. I could have really done without that song. And Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex on Fire’. If not for those, we’d be on top of the world.
Your lead-singer peers, Paul Banks of Interpol and Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, both have solo albums out. Have you considered it?
When things get really dark in the band. When the arguments get rowdy enough.
So talk me through a Brandon Flowers solo album. What would it sound like?
Could you be more specific?
It would be more adventurous.
You brought sax solos back – and not just a token horn. You went all big: ’80s wailing is all over Day & Age. Was there internal debate?
Most of the things that we do, we never realise it’s going to cause any kind of commotion. We just thought, this is great! It’s a little bit Roxy Music; it’s a little bit sleazy. And then, all of a sudden, people made a big deal out of it. The saxophone is the moustache of this record.
Well, when we saw you on the cover of a magazine last year, our first reaction was: thank goodness he shaved his face.
My wife likes [the moustache]. It’s a macho thing for me.
Let’s talk about the track ‘Neon Tiger’. That’s symbolism, right?
No, it’s about a tiger. I’m not an animal-rights activist, but I was trying to feel what it must be like to be [Las Vegas magicians] Siegfried and Roy’s white tigers. You can draw parallels between them and myself, being performers from Vegas. I was finding similarities and putting them in song.
When in Vegas, it’s easy to feel nostalgic for the old era. Even though it was mafia-run and dirty, we’re guiltily drawn to it.
I have the same problem. I romanticise. I live with the ghosts of Elvis and Frank Sinatra. It seems so glamorous. They were American men who don’t exist any more. But there are ugly things about them,
too. I went to high school with girls that would daydream about what strip club they wanted to work at. That’s one of the sad things about Vegas.
One of your songs features in a new public-service announcement to raise awareness of human trafficking. Did your more sleazy experiences in Vegas lead you to such a cause?
I’m not shouldering the entire cause myself. It was set up. But we’re definitely against human trafficking.
Well, that’s a relief.
Ha, yeah, put that on the cover. ‘The Killers are against human trafficking.’
The first Killers song we ever heard was ‘Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll’. In hindsight, it’s totally sarcastic, right?
There’s so much snobbery. You go through high school and all the paranoia and crap that goes with that. It’s b******t. We like big songs and we’re going to embrace it.
The Killers play Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on December 8. Tickets start at Dhs295 from www.timeouttickets.com.
Suits you, Brandon
Flowers is a man who loves a sparkly suit, but which would look best in Abu Dhabi?
Ah, the anaemic domino look. Imagine the amount of napkins he’d have to use when eating tomato soup.
Suit-ability: 2/5. It’s just not practical, Branners
Like Sergeant Pepper’s younger brother. We reckon the moustache had to be a homage to Ringo (he couldn’t grow one either).
Suit-ability: 2/5. Meh, Coldplay did the same look back in March
Seriously, you’re going on stage dressed like a Texan Noel Coward in a red silk smoking jacket? Well, we warned you.
Suit-ability: 3/5. Don’t be surprised if a shisha party breaks out
Looking like he’s just robbed a nest. It begins like a normal suit, then all of a sudden: raven feather shoulder pads! Nice.
Suit-ability: 1/5. Is he human, or is he falcon?
At last, something sensible – it looks like Goldfinger does his tailoring. If you’re going to go glam, you may as well go the whole hog (and we can’t resist diamante cuffs).
Suit-ability: 4/5. In the UAE, bring on the bling