Q&A: The Killers
Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. talks about singing in a London basement with Prince Harry and Tom Jones!
It’s been a banner year for the Killers. The Las Vegas foursome released an excellent album, Day and Age; launched a world tour; collaborated with Elton John; wowed with an orchestral performance on ‘Letterman'; rocked SNL (in feathered outfits, no less); and generally ruled the music game like the slick chrome American princes Brandon Flowers sings about.
And they’re nowhere near stopping. On Nov. 10, the Killers will release Live From Royal Albert Hall, a new DVD documenting the band’s two-night run at the London venue last summer (see a trailer below). We checked in with drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr., who was preparing to kick off the Killers’ South American tour, to talk about the new release, the band’s plans for a covers album — and singing with Prince Harry in a basement!
Hey, Ronnie. Where are you right now?
Monterey, Mexico, about to start this new tour tonight.
You guys have been touring ever since Day and Age came out in November 2008. Do you ever get at each others’ throats?
Yes. [Laughs] But it’s quick lived. It’s like fighting with a brother. It’s over before it really gets started.
The Killers’ new DVD, Live at the Royal Albert Hall, is out next week. What makes those shows so special?
The best thing about it is that Royal Albert Hall is an intimate venue. We’ve been blessed to be able to play to large crowds, especially when we’re there in London, but it’s nice to be able to play in a smaller room and see the whites in people’s eyes and hear and feel them. Plus, the Albert Hall is a beautiful place. It’s true royalty.
Did the band celebrate after the gigs?
I ended up singing in a basement with Prince Harry and Tom Jones at like 4 A.M…. it was just one of those nights, man.
The New Moon soundtrack is ruling the charts. How did the Killers get involved — and were you worried about contributing to a movie targeted at ‘tweens?
Music coordinator Alexandra Patsavas really has her shit together, and it was a great lineup. She had some really great ideas. Before any of this happened, we got to meet with the director, Chris Weitz, and he’s fully aware of what’s going on and he wanted to surround the film with good music so it wasn’t about 11-year-old girls. And, if it is, at least you’re giving them some good music to listen to…. Movies and soundtracks are good ways to get your music out there [to new fans], as long as you’re surrounded by good people.
Were you a fan of the movies or books before you got involved?
I didn’t know anything about it. I think everybody’s girlfriend or wife did, though… it’s a guilty pleasure of theirs. It’s really a girl thing. I like the movie. I see how people could get into it. But it’s just not my demo, really.
Have the Killers been writing on the road?
Yeah, a little bit, when we can. We’ll bring out some extra equipment so we can mess around in the backroom and record ideas and take them on the bus and mix them. Right now we’re in South America so we didn’t bring any of our recording equipment, because, you know, it’s all hotels and air travel. So it’s a little more difficult to do right now.
Can fans expect a new album in 2010?
We just gotta see how we all feel after this tour. We have a covers album in the works, but we started doing a bunch of different things and we decided, ‘Eh, lets put it on hold.’ I think that’s something that may come out before another studio album. I’d really like to do it. I just like it for the sake of being able to get inside someone else’s brain and try and do each song justice.
Are you guys split over which songs to cover?
We’re thinking about covering Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, Lou Reed. It’s all over the place.
The Killers have released Christmas songs the past few years. Can you tell me anything about this year’s track?Yeah, we just got the final mix of something we recorded on the road with Wild Light and Mariachi El Bronx, and we’re actually listening to it right now. It’s called “Happy Birthday Guadalupe.” It’s fitting, you know, we’re in South America!
Any dream collaborations for 2010?
It would be awesome to do something with Tom Petty. Yeah, that’s definitely my dream for next year.
WATCH: The Killers, “Live From London” Trailer
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