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They’ve embraced the big sound of America but The Killers still aren’t fully comfortable with the burdens of stardom, reveals frontman Brandon Flowers.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 29 May 2007
“Yeah, I love my country and I am fascinated by it,” says Flowers. “The older I get, the more I appreciate it, especially going abroad and seeing the negativity there is towards the country right now. My family, the people I work with – the people sitting in bars in Germany complaining about America don’t know them. Sometimes I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder, but I wanted this album to mirror who we are and where we come from.
“I mean, I would concede America is going downhill in a lot of ways. I’m not in any place to talk about this really, but I think morally there are problems. And of course nobody is a fan of war, regardless of whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or whatever.”
It seems to bother you, though, that people emphasise those negative aspects when they talk about the country.
“Well, there are still so many beautiful things about it,” asserts Flowers. “Physically, it’s unbelievable, and the mix of cultures… I was in a place today and there was a Polish girl working there. When I told her I was from America, she asked if there are many Polish people there now. I said there are, even my wife descends from Polish people, but now she’s just an American. And she said, ‘Oh, that’s sad’, because the culture had died out and so on.
“And I didn’t get into it with her, but I wanted to say that actually it’s pretty amazing there, that the – I hate to say melting pot – but that the mix still exists. I know we don’t have the purebred culture, but we do have bits and pieces of everybody’s. That’s what makes me who I am, and I love it.”
The Killers have certainly incorporated a strong European aesthetic into their imagery, courtesy of legendary Dutch lensman Anton Corbijn, who directed the ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ video and took the photographs for the Sam’s Town sleeve. Was he someone the band sought out to work with?
“I grew up being a big fan of Depeche Mode,” reflects Flowers. “Then U2 came later, so Anton was a big part of what I thought about rock ‘n’ roll, although I didn’t realise it. Even the first Morrissey solo album, I had no idea that was Anton until later, but he’s been shaping what I think about rock ‘n’ roll since I was a kid. It’s very exciting to reach out to those people with the prospect that they might answer. He came to a gig, but he thought that we just wanted to do a photo shoot with him, when in fact we wanted him to do the video.