- READ MORE: The Killers on the cover – “There are a lot of young people unsure of their place in this world”
Flowers was speaking to NME for this week’s Big Read cover story when conversation turned to politics. Having been vocal about their opposition to Trump – as well as tackling attitudes towards racism and immigration on the single ‘Land Of The Free‘ – Flowers said that he was feeling “less anxious every day about what you’re going to read in the news” since Biden became a President who is “more about doing the job as opposed to keeping his followers frothing”.
Of the mood in America at large, he said: “There was a moment where we felt so divided that we were all really anxious and wondering what it meant to not be a gun owner. People were buying guns and some places in Utah were running out of bullets. What are these people preparing for?”
Flowers continued: “It became a political statement if you wore a mask, and I was laughed at in gas stations for that. It was just a crazy time. That’s calmed down a little bit, but it’s still scary to know how quickly we can be torn apart.”
The Killers’ new album ‘Pressure Machine’ was inspired by characters from Flowers’ childhood in his hometown of Nephi in Utah, where the opioid crisis has hit as hard as it has elsewhere in the US. The issue is the subject of the track ‘Quiet Town’.
“Since I’ve left Nephi, like much of America, opioids have left their ugly mark on the town, our friends and acquaintances,” said Flowers. “While a lot of these songs took place in the ’90s, we saw more overdose deaths in 2020 during the pandemic than any other year in recorded history.
“It hasn’t given – not even a little bit. It’s affected my family and other people in the band’s families. It’s just a huge tragedy that America is facing.”
In tackling wider issues, drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. told NME that “the beauty of this album is that it’s about Nephi in Utah, but it could be about any town anywhere” – namely on ‘Terrible Thing’, which deals with a young teen living “in this barbed wire town of barbed wire dreams,” sitting “in my bedroom on the verge of a terrible thing”.
The drummer explained how this was about “a kid struggling with his homosexuality and not knowing what to do in this small town. He’s thinking about taking his own life. There are a lot of young people unsure of their place in this world – if they’re gay or just realising that adolescence is tough.”
Read the full NME Big Read cover story with The Killers here, where the band also open up about childhood trauma, meeting Bruce Springsteen, collaborating with Phoebe Bridgers on the track ‘Runaway Horses’, Flowers’ past run-in with Richard Dawkins, and how all four band members are set to reunite for a “heavier” sounding new album.