You’ve got to hand it to Killers frontman Brandon Flowers: Every time you think he’s finished talking smack about other rock bands, he raises — or is it lowers? — the bar once again.
Over the past 18 months, he’s cobbled together an impressive highlight reel of high-profile spats, taking on the Bravery (see “Killers’ To-Do List: Lawsuit, Long-Form Video, Beef With The Bravery” ), Fall Out Boy (see “Killers Get More Beef — This Time With Fall Out Boy” ), Panic! at the Disco (see “Panic! At The Disco Fight For Cred, Swear They Have No Beef With The Killers” ) and emo music in general — to name just a few.
It was enough to make even the most ardent Killers fans roll their eyes. And given the recent backlash the band has experienced (see “Killers Try To ’Bring Back’ Rock, But Not All Critics Are Onboard” ) thanks in no small part to their lead singer’s free-flowing mouth, coupled with the newly humble tone he’s been taking in interviews, it looked like Flowers was finally looking to get out of the beef business.
But lo and behold, late last week he chose yet another target for his ire: revered East Bay punks Green Day. And while that in and of itself wasn’t enough to garner headlines, what Flowers was accusing them of — exploiting anti-American sentiments for commercial gain — was.
And it got us thinking: Is there anyone out there that Flowers actually likes?
Sure, there are those he couldn’t possibly talk smack about — Sam Boyd, whoever invented the skeevy moustache, San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (especially if he’s on Flowers’ fantasy team) — but we had to cull our vast archives of interviews to find him expressing his admiration for, well, pretty much anything else.
It wasn’t easy — seriously, we spent all weekend looking — but finally, we were able to assemble this list of people and things that Flowers doesn’t totally hate:
October 10, 2004: In the Killers’ first chat with MTV News, a doe-eyed and mop-topped Flowers spoke freely about a host of subjects, and was quick to dole out praise for Oasis (“I always loved their songs. And I remember seeing them play ’Don’t Look Back in Anger,’ and it was almost religious, the whole crowd screaming along; it was amazing”), Morrissey (“He’s someone I’ve always looked up to. He came to watch us soundcheck during one of our showcase performances, and it was incredibly nerve-racking”) and his own band’s debut album, Hot Fuss (“I listen to it as much as I listen to anything else, which is sort of pathetic”).
He also gave the following endorsement to his old employer, the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas: “It was this kind of Western place. The owners were big on rodeos and things like that, so we’d have, like, the Super Bowl of Rodeo there. It was all right.”
January 18, 2005: During an appearance on “TRL,” Flowers called the Killers’ three Grammy nominations “an honor,” and copped to being giddy about “being up against U2 and Elvis Costello — all these legendary acts — that’s really what it’s all about.”
March 25, 2005: In the very interview in which he would launch the now-infamous Killers/Bravery feud, Flowers also found time to inexplicably big up San Diego glam-rockers Louis XIV and some of his favorite movie stars, including James Spader and Eric Roberts — who would go on to appear in their video for “Mr. Brightside” — because “he’s a quintessential bad guy. He gives you the dirt and grime you need. He’s sweaty and manly and completely cool.”
June 20, 2005: Perhaps a little gun-shy after the Bravery incident, Flowers sighed his way through an interview at New York’s Irving Plaza — though he still behaved better than guitarist Dave Keuning, who treated the whole thing like a root canal — giving half-hearted shouts to U2 (again) and Depeche Mode and touting the magical healing powers of laughter: “I hope our video makes people laugh. That’s a good thing for people.” Plus, he gives his thumbs-up to the Killers’ pre-show ritual, something they’ve dubbed “the Cuddle.”
“We all join together in a circle before we go onstage,” he said. “Even our feet touch, which is something I just kind of noticed. It’s kind of like a soccer coach talking to the kids.”
April 27, 2006: In the midst of recording the Killers’ Sam’s Town, Flowers took a brief minute to describe his newfound adulation for Bruce Springsteen (“He’s a gift,” Flowers enthused), his mighty studio beard (“It’s only added to my Samson complex!”) and the many amenities that Las Vegas’ Palms Casino, where Sam’s was recorded, has to offer, including “an ’erotic suite’ down the hall” and “a basketball-themed room with multiple beds that come out of the walls.”
September 23, 2006: Backstage at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, Flowers — now sporting a sufficiently creepy moustache — talks up bands that “influenced” the making of Sam’s Town, including Queen, ELO, Peter Gabriel and Dire Straits. And despite his new Western duds and praise for “all things Americana,” he still gives props to, well, one of his favorite props from the Killers’ last album: eyeliner.
“I have four sisters, so there was always eyeliner around,” he laughed. “I’ll still wear it on occasion too, if I feel like it. It gives me a bit of a gypsy feel.”