To celebrate the release of the Killers’ greatest-hits compilation, Direct Hits (out now), frontman Brandon Flowers told EW the tales behind some of the band’s best-known anthems.
“Mr. Brightside” (2003) “This was literally the first song that me and Dave [Keuning], our guitar player, wrote. We didn’t have a drummer yet but he gave me a cassette, and it had a few demos with complete songs of him singing, and then there would just be these riffs that he had — so he basically had the guitar for “Mr. Brightside,” and the pre-chorus. I had an idea already of this sort of monotone, linear delivery, and it just fit so well over his guitar line. So I slapped a chorus on it, and it was written pretty quickly.
I remember the first time I heard it [set] to a beat, it was a monumental experience. We wrote a lot of songs after that, but then the Strokes’ first record came out and we ditched everything we wrote except for that song and started again. [Laughs] Because that record’s so good, you know? It was just… we realized that they raised the bar. Whether the Strokes know it or not, they really changed our path.”
“Somebody Told Me” (2004) “We were going out to clubs a lot at the time. I think it speaks to a young man’s frustration, the difficulty of picking up girls. [Laughs] That’s probably where it stems from. I was just able to run with it, and the band supplied a wonderful backing track.”
“All These Things That I’ve Done” (2005) “I worked at a casino called the Gold Coast as a bellman. This was back when there weren’t cell phones yet, so I used to call the guys and tell them I was gonna call them back and leave an idea on their answering machines. I was very heavily into glam rock at the time, and I felt like [Lou Reed’s] Transformer and [David Bowie’s] Ziggy Stardust — the delivery of those records, sometimes it was almost talking to you, especially Lou. The lines ‘Help me out, yeah yeah, you gotta help me out/Don’t you put me on the back burner, you gotta help me out’? I was just trying to be Lou Reed funneled through the Las Vegas Strip. And the bass line is a direct rip-off of a Bowie track called ‘Slow Burn.’ I can say it now because I don’t think he’s gonna come after us.” READ FULL STORY