Brandon Flowers blooms as killer rock crooner (+video)

By John Caruccia

The Killers' frontman says taking singing lessons has fine-tuned his vocal performances.

He's obviously a professional singer, but The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers still thought it was a good idea to take voice lessons before hitting the studio to record the band's new album.

"It seemed like the right thing to do," he said in a recent interview. "I wanted to be better, get better and it's just helped me ... [My voice teacher] knows what my ambitions are and he knows there's a certain style and something I've already got going on. We're just trying to fine-tune a few things."

The 31-year-old added that he's "not trying to be an opera singer or anything".

Dressed in a leather motorcycle jacket, with close-cropped hair, the rock singer embodies the stage presence of an old-time crooner along the lines of Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett.

And while Flowers lists both as major influences, glam rocker David Bowie sits at the top of the heap.

"In the beginning I was obsessed with Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory and you've got some weird interpretations of that from some dude in Las Vegas," Flowers said. "That's not there anymore. I don't feel like that any more.

I still love that music, but it just changes as you get older I guess."

That change can be heard all over Battle Born, the band's fourth album, which debuted at No 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the US last week.

But Flowers insists his maturity as a vocalist hasn't affected the core sound of the band.

"We try to take a little bit of Las Vegas with us everywhere we go," he said of the group, which kicks off a world tour later this month which brings them to the Big Day Out in Australia but has no New Zealand dates scheduled.

Five producers - Stuart Price, Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois, Damian Taylor and Brendan O'Brien - were credited with taming the sounds of the record.

"We didn't seek out that many people. It was more of a logistical thing," said drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. "We waited till the last minute to ask some people to work with us and just had to grab whoever was available in the time that they had available."

The album's first single, Runaways, has peaked at only No 78 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, which is dominated by mostly dance and electronic-flavoured songs.

"We've always walked the line, you know. But we're not shy about wanting to have big songs," Flowers said. "Now it's strange, it's tough to be a rock band right now. It is. The rock stations are dying."

"I really shouldn't have anything to complain about because we got our foot in the door at the last second," he said.

"I feel sorry for young guys now that love rock 'n' roll and are struggling to find a home."

Who: The Killers, Las Vegas pop-rock outfit.
What: Fourth album Battle Born.
When: Out now.


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