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Brandon Flowers stays true to Killers’ roots on new album, tour

LONDON ENGLAND - JUNE 24:  Mark Stoermer  BrandFlowers The Killers perform live stage during first day 'Hard Rock

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: Mark Stoermer and Brandon Flowers of The Killers perform live on stage during the first day of 'Hard Rock Calling' music festival at Hyde Park on June 24, 2011 in central London, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

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♦ 8 p.m. Dec. 21

♦ UIC Pavilion,
525 S. Racine


Updated: December 20, 2012 10:38AM

NEW YORK — 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 latest album.

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” he said. “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 icons 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 anymore. I still love that music, but it just changes as you get older I guess.”

He showed off his voice when honoring the late Andy Williams with a version of “Moon River” at a recent concert, and it’s heard all over “Battle Born,” the band’s fourth album.

But Flowers insists his maturity as a vocalist hasn’t affected the core sound of the band, known for the hits “Mr. Brightside” and “When You Were Young.”

“We try to take a little bit of Las Vegas with us everywhere we go,” he said of the group.

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 struggled to break out in an environment dominated with dance and electronic-flavored 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. I feel sorry for young guys now that love rock ‘n’ roll and are struggling to find a home.”


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