Ronnie Vannucci has spent the past few months collecting passport stamps, performing on some of Europe's largest stages and getting reacquainted with Polish cuisine.
But as the summer ends, his work is just beginning.
As is his nature, the affable Killers drummer, whose wit is as dry as the soil of his native Nevada, has maintained a sense of humor about it all.
"It's the best way to get the word out that you have a record coming out without doing a car commercial," Vannucci says of the band's numerous recent festival appearances from a promotional tour stop in London.
The record that Vannucci is speaking of is "Battle Born," The Killers' fourth disc, released today.
It's an album of unabashedly grand scale, one that huffs and puffs and blows kisses to the most romantic, idealized notion of both a band's sense of purpose and its relationship with its audience.
It's a lofty aim: rock band as life coach.
"Show me where it hurts, maybe I can heal it," frontman Brandon Flowers sings on "Matter of Time," a head-down rocker suggestive of The Cars with a bigger engine beneath the hood.
On the very next song, the live-for-the-moment "Deadlines and Commitments," he's right back at it.
"If you should fall upon hard times, there is a place in this house you can stay," Flowers reassures, his voice doubling as a hand on your shoulder.
Throughout the album, Flowers earnestly delivers plenty of lines that a buddy might say when your better half splits or when he's trying to persuade you to strive for something that seems outside your reach ("Let's take a chance, baby, we can make it"; "Don't break character, you've got s-o-o-o-o-o much heart"; "You never shine if you never burn").
The Killers, who recently announced a pair of shows at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Dec. 28 and 29, have never shied away from grandiloquence, lyrically, sonically or otherwise, and "Battle Born" elevates it all to the next exponent.
"This record has very much been about honing in on what we think we're good at, what feels most natural to us," Vannucci says. "To me, it focuses on what's become important to us. It's pretty transparent what's going on with us. It's sort of like this diary or snapshot of what's happening."
A lot has happened since we last heard from The Killers, namely solo albums from Flowers, bassist Dave Keuning and Vannucci via his Big Talk side project. After finishing up the touring cycle for their last album, "Day & Age," in 2010, the band members took their first extended break from one another since their career took off with their multiplatinum 2003 debut "Hot Fuss."
Vannucci says his time away from The Killers spent fronting his own band gave him a new perspective on the group once they reconvened.
"Being able to step in everybody's shoes for a while was great. It sort of made me realize how good these guys are, how easy they make it look," he explains. "Having that newfound perspective, being able to have that objectivity, it definitely made my seat and my dynamic in the band a little more realized. It was a big picture type of thing. It probably gave everybody a little bit more of a sense of individual identity."
Still, this didn't make the recording any easier.
The band has been open about how challenging it was for them to complete the album, which took a year, complicated in part by them working with a number of different big-name producers (Daniel Lanois, Brendan O'Brien, Steve Lillywhite, Stuart Price and Damian Taylor).
"One of the reasons we had five producers is that we waited until the last minute to choose a producer, and these guys are busy, they've got lives and schedules themselves," Vannucci says. "You've got one guy for two weeks, another guy for a month, a guy for three days here, seven days here.
"But that being said, it was kind of a nice trial for us," he adds. "We got to work with a lot of great producers in a short amount of time, and that was a tremendous education."
The biggest concern in such a working arrangement would be creating a disjointed-sounding record, but "Battle Born" feels unified in at least one sense: Everything builds toward the outsize.
The disc opens with a couple of fireballs, "Flesh and Bone" and "Runaways," songs written to be played in stadiums, with guitars at high tide, melodramatic synth and exultant choruses intended to be as rousing as soccer chants.
The album ends on a similarly bombastic note with the title cut, a wipe-the-dirt-off-your-jeans pick-me-up with Queen-style vocal harmonies, while "Miss Atomic Bomb" pairs some of Vannucci's most propulsive playing with Flowers practically panting on the mic.
Flowers' voice is a cannonball on "Battle Born." Even on austere ballad "Be Still" he sings with such gusto that everything else fades into the ether.
"You can hold it in, or you can scream it into a microphone," he sings on the latter number, and there's never any doubt about which he'll choose.
The characters who inhabit these songs, and The Killers' catalog in general, always seem to be searching for something that lies just beyond the horizon, infatuated with possibility. They're dreamers, romantics, young lovers on the run - restless types who have trouble sitting still.
The same could be said of the band who soundtracks their pursuits.
If there's a criticism of this bunch, it's that sometimes they can appear to be trying too hard.
But to hear Vannucci tell it, that's just a part of their makeup, the DNA inherent to sons of a city that knows little rest.
"We grew up in Vegas, mom and dad workin' in hotels and casinos, and we worked ourselves," he says. "We've been given this opportunity, this window, and we're having a good time with it, man."
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.