Behind The Band Name: The Killers

The Killers—Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Ronnie Vannucci Jr., and Mark Stoermer—have flexed their musicality over a number of genres throughout their tenure. They’ve done tried-and-true indie rock. They’ve done ballads. They’ve done heartland rock. They’ve even ventured into folk. Regardless of which way they lean, the end result manages to be something beloved by their die-hard fanbase.

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The band debuted in the early ’00s and quickly found success on a mass scale. It wasn’t long before every indie rock fan knew the name, “The Killers.” Find out how Flowers came up with the moniker, below.

Behind the Band Name

Despite growing up in Las Vegas, Flowers became obsessed with British music from an early age. An Oasis show at Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel in 2001 made him drop the synthpop sound he started with in favor of indie rock a la the Gallagher brothers.

As his Mancunian tastes continued to develop, he started listening to the likes of Joy Division and New Order—the latter of which inspired Flowers and co.’s moniker.

In the accompanying music video for New Order’s 2001 single, “Crystal,” a fictional band called The Killers stepped in to replace the band on screen. The name seems to have stuck with Flowers, who went on to name his band the same thing.

The New Order nods don’t stop there. The (real) Killers took inspiration from “Crystal” for their own video for “Somebody Told Me.”

Flowers told Radio X about meeting Bernard Sumner of Joy Division/New Order at the NME Awards soon after “Somebody Told Me” started to make waves.

“It was our first time going, and we were starstruck,” Flowers said. “It was an incredible experience for us. We were just happy to be there.

“I’m in the bathroom. I’m at the urinal,” he continued. “And Bernard Sumner [of Joy Division/New Order], who’s one of my heroes, steps up next to me and he starts singing ‘Somebody Told Me’ in my ear. It was so surreal, you know?”

Hot Fuzz / Sam’s Town

The Killers released their debut album, Hot Fuzz, in June 2004. The album spawned a number of indie hits like the almost inescapable (not that we’re complaining) “Mr. Brightside,” “All These Things That I’ve Done” and “Somebody Told Me.”

The album peaked at No. 7 on Billboard’s Album Sales chart and has since been certified 3X platinum. “Mr. Brightside” has no shortage of accolades. The track was named Song of the Decade by UK radio stations Absolute Radio and XFM in April 2010, the second most streamed song on Spotify from the 2000s, the ninth greatest guitar riff of the 21st century by Total Guitar, and most likely to get a crowd fired up by anyone who’s thrown a party between 2001 and now.

They followed up the success of Hot Fuzz with the album Sam’s Town in 2006. The album saw the band start to lean into the heartland rock flavors they would later dive headfirst into. The album’s lead single, “When You Were Young,” earned the band two Grammy nominations and remains one of their signature tracks today.

Continued Legacy

Following the completion of their third album and their subsequent tour, the group decided to go on a short break. The hiatus lasted for about a year and a half, during which the band members focused on their solo pursuits.

The band launched their return in 2012 with the release of Battle Born. The album was their most Springsteen-esque yet, serving up the singles “Runaways,” “Miss Atomic Bomb” and “Here With Me.”

Following several power chord-led albums, the band took things for an acoustic turn in 2021 with Pressure Machine, a concept record about Flowers’ hometown of Nephi, Utah. The album debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart, continuing England’s love affair with the Nevadans.

Flowers and crew have an impending project on the way, though an official release date has not been shared. They have previewed the album with the single “boy.”

The Killers are currently on tour, making stops at a few major music festivals as well as some solo headlining shows. Find their dates, HERE.

Photo by Richard Kepler / The Oriel Co.

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