If the Killers have learned anything from their experiences with Sam’s Town, it’s that they’re probably better off not talking to the press.
“I think we’re all learning to be more careful with what we say. Like [frontman] Brandon [Flowers'] Bruce Springsteen comments about the last record,” bassist Mark Stoermer sighed. “People took that as if [Sam's] was some sort of Bruce tribute album. I mean, you can hear influences there, but to single out that one thing, that early on, it put a picture in a lot of people’s minds. So we’re playing it close to the vest now.”
You can’t really blame Stoermer for being tight, er, vested. After all, it’s pretty fair to say that Flowers’ media sessions in the lead-up to Sam’s Town — including one spectacular interview with MTV News last May, in which he launched the whole Springsteen thing, talked about his artistic rebirth and asserted that Sam’s was “one of the best albums in the past 20 years” (see “Killers’ Next LP Will Show Strong Influence Of … Bruce Springsteen!?” ) — did more harm than good, and most certainly led to some of the album’s less-than-stellar reviews (see “Killers Try To ‘Bring Back’ Rock, But Not All Critics Are Onboard” ).
So this time around, the entire band is trying very hard to keep things secret.
“We’ve got some new songs, but there’s a long way to go before they’re ready for an album,” Stoermer said. “So far, they’re different than Sam’s Town, but nothing that we write surprises me. Some are a bit stripped down for us — whatever that means. Some have the vibe of [Jacques Lu Cont's] ‘Thin White Duke remix’ of ‘Mr. Brightside.’ We talk about what we want for the album, but inevitably, it always gets away from us.”
Another reason they’re being so elusive? Well, they’ve got another album to knock out before they even think about the follow-up to Sam’s Town: a still-untitled B-sides album (tentatively due in November), which Stoermer said would tie up a lot of loose ends. “It’s for the completists,” he said, noting that the album would also feature two or three never-before-recorded songs written during the Sam’s Town sessions.
“That’s the idea, at least,” he said. “[Those kinds of albums aren't] the same in these days of file sharing, but for our fans to have it all together, remixed and retracked — well, we think that’s cool. When we were growing up In the ’90s, we were fans of [B-sides collections like] Oasis’ The Masterplan, the [Smashing] Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot, Nirvana’s Incesticide. So we’re trying to do something like that.”
And though he’s not talking much about those two or three new songs — remember the vow of silence — Stoermer did let it be known that one of them is a duet, which they’re currently recording with none other than Lou Reed.
“Yeah, Lou’s here, recording it right now,” he said. “It’s a huge deal and an honor. We’ve never done a duet before, and Brandon had the idea to ask Lou if he would sing on it, since we felt his voice would go really well on it. And so we did, and he said ‘yes.’ It’s pretty amazing, and the song is great too.”
So can we expect to hear more duets on album number three?
“Heh, we’re just talking about stuff like that now … maybe deciding where we’re going to record it,” he laughed. “Other than that, we don’t really have any plans. Maybe take a little break!”
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