We talked to Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci ahead of Wednesday’s Killers show

It’s entirely fitting that The Killers will be the first act to headline T-Mobile Arena, which opens Wednesday. Arguably the biggest band ever to break out of Las Vegas, the homegrown heroes have earned the honor for obvious reasons.

Beyond that, though, in a more symbolic sense, the outfit, with its hardscrabble early history, seems a solid representation of the city itself, which was likewise conceived by counterintuitive thinking and built into something spectacular by folks who believed in a vision and backed it up with hard work and determination. Once a barren stretch of land in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas became a little piece of paradise, a place that people from all over the planet came to celebrate.

The same can essentially be said for The Killers, who brought attention to a place that was previously overlooked, and went on to become the toast of the town.

“Well, first of all, thanks for calling us the ‘toast of the town,’ ” drummer Ronnie Vannucci says, sounding amused by such an assertion. “There’s a lot of other bands and other talented people there, and it’s nice to be in that group and considered for this opening gig.”

“I think it makes a lot of sense, Las Vegas and as far as that trajectory. The arc of Vegas becoming a new town, as it does every sort of 10 years, it’s interesting and fortuitous that we’ve been able to find a similar arc in our career that leads us to be at the same point. So us being at a certain point in our career and then being able to play this arena is pretty cool.”

“We try to take a little bit of Las Vegas with us everywhere we go,” says the band’s frontman, Brandon Flowers, whose band has embedded references to the city in several of its records, from the title of “Sam’s Town” and its accompanying artwork to “Battle Born,” the band’s most recent album from 2012. “That’s something that we’ve always been proud of and proud to be associated with. And this is definitely a box that we’re really happy and proud to be checking.”

Some big bands have come out of Las Vegas since the breakthrough of The Killers, including Imagine Dragons and Panic! At the Disco. But back when Flowers and his bandmates first started, there really were no breakout acts from the valley, beyond perhaps Slaughter and Toni Basil (who once choreographed a video for Talking Heads, as Flowers notes). “Nobody had really come from Vegas,” Flowers recalls.

So although “I definitely felt strongly about what we were doing and I was excited about it,” Flowers says, he and his bandmates really had no inclination that someday they would realize such success, much less be considered one of the city’s most celebrated acts. “But even then,” bolstered by his belief in the band, “nobody’s got a crystal ball, and I think we’ve always got a little gremlin in the back of your head telling you that it’s not going to happen. So, I don’t know, we just worked really hard, and we also got lucky.”

When you hear how The Killers went about earning accolades outside of Las Vegas, there was indeed a certain amount of luck involved — although timing and tenacity were equally important. Before that, though, The Killers made much of their own luck locally. Working its way up from playing open-mic nights, the band steadily built a following playing a style of music that was out of step with the scene at the time, so it was met with some resistance.

“I think that also helped us,” Flowers says, recalling how it made the band work even harder. “When we first started, it didn’t seem like anybody was really on our side, and I think that gave us sort of something to fight for in the beginning and made us a better live band. And we just tried to get better with every gig.”

Finding gigs in Las Vegas at the time was a little more challenging. The band played whenever and wherever it could, everywhere from places like the Junkyard to Crown & Anchor. But it was the shows at Sasha’s, packed parties thrown by scene fixture Ryan Pardey, that helped The Killers learn how to kill. Those gigs were the most memorable Vegas shows, according to Vannucci.

“I think some of my favorite shows are really early shows of us playing these nightclubs down by the Hard Rock,” the timekeeper recalls of playing Pardey’s “Trash at Tramps” parties. “Back then, it was like, what are people who are in their 20s going to do, the ones who wanted to stay up late and hang with their friends? What kind of scene do they belong to? They have to build it, and that’s kind of what we did. We were just the entertainment.

“That was the most fun, just getting together with like-minded people and helping these 20-year-olds — and us included — find a place to sort of let our hair down and party a little bit and establish our own scene and create something that was a little bit more fun and not an outlet mall version of a scene. It felt very organic and cool. It was a place where we could all hang out.”

The scene doesn’t sound that far removed from the generator parties Vannucci played with Attaboy Skip, one of the bands he was in before joining The Killers. “Seventeen-year-old kids didn’t have a place to play,” he explains. “So you go where there aren’t any gigs and you make a gig. You go sit out in the desert and you get a couple of generators together and some diesel fuel and everybody pitches in and we have parties, and we play these shows. We didn’t have a place to play. There were very few places to go and do shows, so we’d make them up. And I suppose the early days of The Killers was just sort of a more developed extension of that.”

In essence, the early days prepared the band for life ahead, a life on the road. After landing a record deal and releasing an album that went several times platinum, The Killers spent the better part of two years on the road. When the momentum for that record slowed and the outfit came home to record “Sam’s Town” at the Studio at the Palms, that’s when Flowers said he really became aware of how much this city means to him.

“I always go back to the same line,” he says. “Tom Waits has a line in which he says, ‘I never saw my hometown until I stayed away too long.’ The first time we left Las Vegas, we toured for a couple of years, and it made me really zone in on where I was from and wonder how much I was a part of it or how much it was a part of me.”

Read more from Dave Herrera at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at dherrera@reviewjournal.com and follow @rjmusicdh on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Get a sneak peak of Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like