ARTIST PROFILE: BRANDON FLOWERS

Posted on December 20, 2012 by Admin . | 0 Comments


Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the popular band The Killers, is considered one of the most talented rock stars of his generation and has been called the “poster boy for modern rock n’ roll,” but don’t expect to find the sex and drugs to go along with that stereotype. He’s a husband, a father of two, and a strict Mormon. “At home, I’m not a rock star,” he says. “I wear dad-appropriate attire. I drive a truck. And we go out to the mountains to light fires and have barbeques.” The Las Vegas bred musician provides ultimate proof that an artist doesn’t need to live an insane life for inspiration (as the first artist we profiled, Austin Kleon, pointed out).

The Killers’ first album, Hot Fuss (2004), is everything you might expect a pop/rock album to be–the glamour and glitz of showbiz all packaged into eleven tracks and a few smash hits. The music video for the album’s biggest single, Mr. Brightside, embodies the feeling of it all, but Flowers says none of it comes from his own reality. “Hot Fuss was all based on fantasy,” he says. “The English influences, the makeup — they were what I imagined rock was. I'm a dreamer, you know? So I dug into that dream and made Hot Fuss.”

The Killers - Mr. Brightside from leonardo gonzalez on Vimeo.

Hot Fuss led The Killers to be known as “best British band from America,” which turned out to be a wakeup call for Brandon Flowers. He began to consider his family and who he really was. The result was a new album, Sam’s Town (2006), and the beginning work that’s based on Flowers’ own life and beliefs.

Sam’s Town was met with mixed reviews; critics wondered what it was really about and what Flowers was reaching for. He says there’s no shrouded meaning: “Sam's Town wasn't some love letter to America or overreaching mythic thing. It was about me,” he explains bluntly."I sang about Grandma Dixie and my brother being born on the Fourth of July. Guess what? My grandma's name is Dixie, and my brother was born on the Fourth of July, 1969. The album is very real. I was being honest.”

Battle Born, The Killers’ most recent album, released this September, is perhaps the most heavily based on Flowers’ life. References to his hometown of Las Vegas are frequent and clear. The song Deadlines and Commitments was inspired by comedian Jimmy Carr’s (somewhat joking) comment that the next big album would be about America’s economic woes. Miss Atomic Bomb darkly refers to the nuclear tests conducted outside of Vegas that grew into a tourist attraction in the 50s (Flowers’ mother, who died of cancer in 2010, witnessed many of these explosions). Even the album’s name holds personal importance for Flowers. “[Battle Born] stems from the Nevada State flag,” Flowers explained in an interview with Richard Dawkins. “We’re from Nevada. ‘Battle Born’ is written on the flag. Nevada became a State out of the Civil War. But that’s not what the record is about. It’s just a part of our heritage, a part of our growing up, seeing that flag everyday.”



The way Brandon Flowers’ life experience influences his art doesn’t stop with the music itself. Motivated by memories of concerts he attended, Flowers makes sure The Killers still perform live, high production shows–a somewhat dying trend with today’s dwindling music industry. “Some people think what we do is weird or contrived,” he admits. “But I remember when I paid my $20 to go see Morrissey, I wanted him to be a show. I didn't want him to just stand there. I take that into consideration.”

And what of Flowers’ religion, that’s drawn so much media attention and so many prying questions? He’ll stand up for it, but he doesn’t preach about it in his music. “My faith influences the songs I don’t write,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Brandon Flowers proves that great art–even great rock n’ roll–doesn’t need to come from living fast or hard. All it needs, he says, is integrity. “First things first: we write songs that we love,” he says. “We’re true to ourselves.” That honesty spans across everything he does.“You can’t save the world with music,” he says. “But I can try.”

Posted in ARTIST PROFILE


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