The Killers interview: the road to Wembley

One half of the stadium-filling foursome reflect on ten years of London gigs



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Brandon Flowers (left) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr of The Killers

Brandon Flowers (left) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr of The Killers © Erik Weiss

September 2003

Having struggled in the US, the young Killers try out at tiny Camden sweatpit the Dublin Castle

Brandon Flowers (singer): ‘There were about 50 people there. It was a big deal to us. None of us had ever been out of America before – we all had to get passports. And we knew the history of the venue [Blur and Coldplay cut their teeth there]. The smell and the way it looked, it was everything I wanted an English pub to be.’

Ronnie Vannucci Jr (drummer): ‘We’d done regional shows in the US but nobody gave a shit. Then we came and did this show and it felt like somebody finally cared.’

December 2003

In front of Jack White, the band earn their stripes upstairs at the great and grubby Highbury Garage

RV Jr: ‘We opened for The Dirtbombs and we were having a really good time on stage, so much so that The Dirtbombs’ manager was giving us the stink-eye. I remember nearly totally mangling Renée Zellweger with my cymbal stand too. Jack White was there and they were dating at the time. It was such a weird gig.’

March 2004

The Killers electrify the plush Shepherd’s Bush Empire supporting (an unfriendly) Gary Numan

BF: ‘It was the first time we’d seen Alan Moulder, our producer, since “Hot Fuss” was released. He was saying, “Well, it worked! We did it!”’

RV Jr: ‘I just remember Gary Numan not giving a shit. Pretty funny. I don’t think he said two words to us.’

July 2004

The Las Vegans pack out legendary Charing Cross Road venue The Astoria (demolished in 2009)

BF: ‘It’s sad that it’s not there any more. It was the biggest place we’d sold out at that point. The reaction to the record at that show was such a big rush.’

RV Jr: ‘I remember thinking: This is where Radiohead played! All the notches in our belt, they’re in England. Especially these early shows, right at the beginning.’

February 2009

Four albums in, and the band decide to tentatively take on London’s mighty millennial arena, The O2

BF: ‘This was a big show, but by the end of the “Hot Fuss” tour we were doing arenas in America. I argued with our booking agent as I didn’t feel ready for it until this stage, when I felt we could play an arena and do it right.’

June 2013

The big one – ten years after starting out, The Killers play to 70,000 fans at Wembley this week

: ‘It’ll be one of the biggest stages we’ve ever been on. There aren’t as many bands who’ve played there as I thought, so it means even more. It’s an honour.’

RV Jr: ‘Everything has built up to this show. Even in my garage, writing “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”, I remember thinking: I can see us playing this at Wembley! You can go too far down the rabbit hole, though, thinking about the importance of things. We’ve got a job to do, and that’s to kick asses!’

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