NEW YORK – Hes 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 bands new album.
It seemed like the right thing to do, he said in a recent interview. I wanted to be better, get better and its just helped me. ... (My voice teacher) knows what my ambitions are and he knows theres a certain style and something Ive already got going on. Were just trying to fine-tune a few things.
The 31-year-old added that hes 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 youve got some weird interpretations of that from some dude in Las Vegas, Flowers said. Thats not there anymore. I dont 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 recently, and its heard all over Battle Born, the bands fourth album that debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
But Flowers insists his maturity as a vocalist hasnt 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, which kicks off a world tour Oct. 26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Five producers – Stuart Price, Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois, Damian Taylor and Brendan OBrien – were credited with taming the sounds of the record.
We didnt 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 albums first single, Runaways, has only peaked at No. 78 on Billboards Hot 100 chart, which is dominated with dance and electronic-flavored songs.
Weve always walked the line, you know? But were not shy about wanting to have big songs, Flowers said. Now its strange, its tough to be a rock band right now. It is. The rock stations are dying.
I really shouldnt have anything to complain about because we got our foot in the door at the last second, he added. I feel sorry for young guys now that love rock n roll and are struggling to find a home.