Late last month, the Killers posted an Instagram Live video that sent their fan community into a state of hysteria. It not only shows them at work on a follow-up to their 2020 LP Imploding the Mirage, but it reveals that estranged guitarist Dave Keuning is back in the fold. There’s been no official announcement about his return, but the masked man at the 12-second mark is unquestionably Keuning. We’d recognize that hair anywhere.
Keuning never officially left the band, but he stopped touring with the band in 2017 and didn’t contribute to Imploding the Mirage in any way. “I don’t want to spill too much dirty laundry, but it’s been years since he’s been really been a productive part of this band,” Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. told Rolling Stone last year. “And it sucks. We have to get used to it, and hopefully that will level out and we’ll figure out a way forward. He can come back if that’s what he wants. This is all his decision.”
His absence made the recording of Imploding the Mirage a very difficult process since Keuning has been a critical member of the creative team since their earliest days. “We were trying to make it sound like the band wasn’t fractured,” singer Brandon Flowers told Rolling Stone. “And trying to sound like the Killers. It was almost like we were doing this dumbed-down, mannequin version of the band.”
They eventually filled the Keuning-size hole by bringing in guests like Weyes Blood, K.D. Lang, and Adam Granduciel from the War on Drugs. And had they been able to go on the road, they would have stuck with touring guitarists Ted Sablay and Taylor Milne to play his old parts.
Bassist Mark Stoermer played on Imploding the Mirage, but he’s also skipped out on recent tours. That means that half the band hasn’t been on the stage the last few times they’ve toured. And so here’s a look back to an incredible performance of “All These Things That I’ve Done” from the Royal Albert Hall in 2009 when the group was intact.
With all due respect to the current touring lineup, this is the Killers lineup that the fans want to see when they buy tickets. The group has said that Stoermer is open to future live dates and now Keuning seems to have come back as well. When live music returns, it’s very easy to imagine the original four Killers finally back together onstage where they belong.