Brandon Flowers on Killers’ Future: ‘We Need a Kick in the Pants’
The Killers have been laying low since they wrapped a big tour last summer — which doesn’t necessarily sit well with frontman Brandon Flowers. “A couple of the guys want to take a break from touring and the rat race,” the singer, 33, told Rolling Stone. “I want to keep it going.” So Flowers decided he would record a new solo album, The Desired Effect (out May 19th), a collection of spare, synth-y pop songs he cut with producer Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Vampire Weekend). We caught up with Flowers as he prepares for a solo tour of Europe.The tour hits the U.S. July 27th in Millvale, Pennsylvania.
You recently said you felt like all the songs on your new album could be singles.
It feels strong. I was a little overconfident that day, but that’s just how it goes. I’m really proud of it, and I am excited about it. But then I also need to watch my language.
You never really hold back in interviews.
Yeah. We’re all so worried about being politically correct and walking on eggshells, and it makes for a lot of boring conversation. But I’m guilty of being too careful or too cautious about what I say, for sure. But I have good reason.
I read an essay calling the Killers’ second album, Sam’s Town one of the most misunderstood albums of the decade.
Yeah, it’s crazy. It just took a beating. It was just in America. In England it wasn’t so bad. It started with Rolling Stone, and sort of everybody else seemed to follow suit, and that was really frustrating. But, you know, it’s fine. I got thicker skin because of it. I really believed in that record, and we went out onstage every night, and I was going to prove it. I think it made us better live, and that’s been a real blessing, because touring is such a big part of what we are, and I enjoy it so much.
Before it came out, you called it “one of the best albums in the past 20 years.”
Yeah, that was another one. I can still see it: I was standing in my driveway in Henderson, Nevada, doing an interview. And I remember those words coming out of my mouth. I didn’t know it was going to be so controversial. I was just excited! You know, recently I saw Ian McCulloch [from Echo and the Bunnymen] said “The Killing Moon” is the greatest song of all time, because he loves that song and he’s proud of it. I understand why he said that. It might not be the best song of all time, but it’s a great song! And he’s a badass, and he just loves it, and he’s proud of it. And that was how I felt. I was so excited about it, and it ended up backfiring. [Laughs] I put my foot in my mouth quite a bit in the early days.
Like in 2006, when you said Kanye West “makes me ill”?
Yeah, that one’s tough. Everyone’s afraid to say anything contrary to him being a genius. It’s crazy, man! And it’s frustrating. I’m not going to tear him down, but I will say I find that to be frustrating. [Laughs] That’s my stance on it. A lot of people might agree with me now. I may have been a little bit ahead of my time. But I think he wants to be good. I think he wants to be great, and that’s something that we all want to strive for. We’ve just got different roads of getting there, I guess.