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The Next Big Things Issue: The Killers

The Killers never received the Bono Talk, that rite-of-passage sit-down in which rock’s king of sunglasses sincerity imparts his hard-won wisdom to young bands in the dizzying flush of first success. Over the years, Nirvana, Hole, Radiohead, and the Strokes have been offered the Bono Talk, but when the Killers met the U2 frontman backstage after their sold-out show at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre last November, Bono was too lit to lead. “He was pretty drunk,” singer Brandon Flowers says. Adds drummer Ronnie Vannucci, “He did drape his arm around me and say, ‘Spare us the interesting second record.'”

Since SPIN named them one of 2004’s Next Big Things, the Killers have actually gotten very big (this does not always happen). Their debut album, Hot Fuss, has at press time sold more than 600,000, and in December the band scored three Grammy nominations, including one for Best Rock Album. In less than a year, the Killers have gone from working-class kids who dress up like Duran Duran and play clubs on the weekends to internationally touring rock stars who dress up like Duran Duran every night. But without the perspective of a big brother who’s navigated the showbiz underworld and survived, they probably would’ve found themselves vulnerable to countless career-derailing turns.

Happily, they recently received the Eric Roberts Talk.

Roberts, the estranged bad-boy brother of Julia who has made a career out of playing lowlifes in movies like Star 80 and The Pope of Greenwich Village, appears as a chiseled, sweaty bordello owner in the Moulin Rouge-inspired video for Hot Fuss’s second single, “Mr. Brightside.” “We were doing this scene,” Flowers says. “It’s like my first acting ever, and between the takes I’m talking to him about fame. I told him we went to Graceland. And he says, ‘It’s almost grand, isn’t it?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ And then he smiles and says, “But it’s so fucking white trash.’ About Graceland! Who says that? He’s evil! He’s the devil.”

For the rest of the story, visit your local newsstand and pick up the new February issue or subscribe to SPIN

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