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Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday September 26, 2013 MYT 12:03:08 PM
by angelin yeoh
Battle stations!: The Killers, featuring (from left) bassist Mark Stoermer, guitarist Dave Keuning, frontman Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr, will be performing tomorrow at the Helipad, Sepang International Circuit in Selangor.
The Killers’ drummer opens up about the band’s latest album and his doppelganger.
WHEN The Killers take the stage for its highly-anticipated gig at the Sepang International Circuit in Selangor tomorrow, all eyes will be on charismatic vocalist Brandon Flowers and guitarist Dave Keuning. Then, most likely, bassist Mark Stoermer. It’s easy for most people to forget about the drummer since he’s often positioned right behind the lead singer. But, you might want to pay attention to drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr.
“You know, it’s hard to not sound like a car salesman. We’re going to pour sweat (and blood) to hopefully end up with a show where everybody is enjoying themselves,” said Vannucci, 37, in a phone interview from Los Angeles, California early this week.
For the affable drummer, playing for thousands of fans live is akin to being in combat. “It’s a dogfight (laughs). I’m trying to think about the music, but at the same time, I don’t want to overthink it. I want to enjoy the process. It’s like making love! When you think too much about what to do, it’s no longer fun.”
Vannucci also said the band has a new pre-show ritual. Previously, he said the band gets together and “huddle” before a show. It was explained as a “manlier version of cuddling.”
“A couple of weeks ago, our friend Michael Valentine left us a voice message. So, we played it and he had recorded a rap song for us. Now, we just listen to it to get ourselves pumped before a show.” Prior to joining The Killers, Vannucci was in a band called Romance Fantasy with Valentine.
For its latest album Battle Born, The Killers collaborated with a number of noted music producers, including Brendan O’Brien, Steven Lillywhite and Stuart Price. Interestingly, Price has also worked with British rock band New Order. The Killers got its band name from a music video of New Order’s single Crystal.
Vannucci tried to play it cool when we asked him about what it’s like working with someone who had a connection to one of their major musical influences. “No, it was not stressful at all. Yeah, at first, we thought it’s going to be a nerve-wracking experience but then, we got to work in the studio and everything was alright. It was interesting!”
Later, he admitted: “Okay, it was actually quite stressful (laughs).”
The pressure was also on for The Killers to come up with music together again after a long hiatus. “Working with different producers has definitely helped us to bring our A-game to the music-making process. It gave us the direction we needed after not playing together for so long. We’re really happy with the end result.”
With the success of hit singles Runaway, Miss Atomic Bomb and Here With Me; Vannucci also described Battle Born as “the band’s return to form”.
Formed in 2001, The Killers’ debut album Hot Fuss sold over seven million copies worldwide and was even nominated for Best Rock Album at the Grammy Awards in 2005. The album also spawned hit singles Somebody Told Me, Mr Brightside and All These Thing That I’ve Done.
The Killers will be releasing Direct Hits on Nov 11. The greatest hits compilation album features some of The Killers’ best tracks including new single Shot At The Night, produced by French electronic duo M83.
“It’s part of our contractual obligation to come up with a greatest hits album after a certain period of time (laughs). It’s fun to be able to look back at what we’ve done for the past 10 years.”
When The Killers took a hiatus in 2008, Vannucci went on to form project band Big Talk.
“Yeah, during the break, I just kept on making music. For a long time, I didn’t have anyone to play with. So, I called up a good friend of mine and said ‘Hey man, do you want to come play the guitar and we can maybe make a band?’ That was it.”
Big Talk was formed in 2010 with Vannucci on vocals/guitar and Taylor Milne as lead guitarist. Later in 2011, Big Talk’s self-titled debut album was released with singles Replica and Big Eye.
“The experience was a lot of fun and it taught me to really push myself as a musician. In fact, I’ll do it again when The Killers go on another break.”
He is eyeing a meeting with My Name Is Earl star Jason Lee in the future. Vannucci is aware that fans on the Internet have talked about his likeness to Lee. With a laugh, Vannucci said: “We have never met each other! Don’t know why it didn’t happen sooner! Which is a funny thing because we have mutual friends who said the same thing about us.”
Vannucci only has nice things to say about his famous doppelganger, “Well yeah, he’s a handsome guy.”
Local rock outfit Kyoto Protocol will be the opening act for The Killers’ concert at Helipad, Sepang International Circuit in Selangor tomorrow. Gates open at 7pm. Presented by Future Sound Asia, tickets are priced RM238 and RM358, and available at selected Rock Corner outlets in the Klang Valley or online at www.boxtix.asia. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/officialfuturesoundasia.
The Killers' runaway dream
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Entertainment, The Killers, Ronnie Vannucci Jr, Battle Born
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