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The Killers: Guitar Hero 5 Fridays on Yahoo! Music

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

When the Killers debuted with Hot Fuss in 2004, their sound was so synth-driven it wouldn't have been surprising if listeners mistook it for the latest Duran Duran comeback album. A record so decadently Duran-like in its OTT lipglossed glamour, it should have had a Patrick Nagel painting on its cover, Hot Fuss was a definite nod to the '80s era; perhaps not since Suede had a band so boldly ascended to such lofty levels of fearless foppishness and flamboyance and absolute fabulousness. They even had a pretty-boy frontman ostentatiously named Brandon Flowers, his actual real moniker. (Not quite as grand a name as "Simon Le Bon," but almost.)

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Anyway, while the Killers have continued to wear their '80s influences on their ruffled sleeves--note their exquisitely icy cover of Joy Division's Cold War classic "Shadowplay" for the Control soundtrack, or their Christmas collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant--their sound has become increasingly guitar-oriented over the years, starting with their ambitious, Springsteenian sophomore album, Sam's Town, which was the band's unabashed and surprisingly successful attempt to position themselves as The Next U2.

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With Sam's Town and the follow-up Day & Age, the Killers thus effectively transformed themselves into arena-rocking guitar heroes--as evidenced by the Guitar Hero 5 Fridays concert clips below, shot at San Diego's Viejas Arena (a show complete with eardrum-silica-singeing pyro, cranked-to-11 amps, and Brandon in full-on rockgod mode):

But amazingly, the Killers have managed to carve out a wholly unique career path, keeping one Chelsea-booted foot firmly planted in the indie/hipster world (the aforementioned Joy Division cover, collabos with Lou Reed and Starsailor, a video directed by Tim Burton) while also being fully embraced by the mainstream (stadium tours, headlining festival slots, their songs covered by American Idols and used in Olympics commercials, etc.). In the interview below, shot backstage at the Viejas Arena after the Killers' GH5 Fridays gig, Brandon himself reflects on his band's unusual career and lofty ambitions:

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