Despite putting out two best-selling albums in three years and touring nonstop, the Killers' front man Brandon Flowers feels lazy.
Blame it on Lou Reed, the veteran rocker who taught the band a new level of dedication when he worked on their new single, "Tranquilize." The song appears on the Killers' latest effort, "Sawdust," a collection of rare recordings and B-sides topped with a sprinkling of new songs set to be released Nov. 13.
The Killers — guitarist David Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer, drummer Ronnie Vannucci and Flowers on vocals and keyboards — have been on tour for the past year in support of "Sam's Town," the critically acclaimed follow-up to their 2004 debut, "Hot Fuss."
Now Flowers, 26, is ready to make new music. He talked with The Associated Press about touring, time off and what's next for the Las Vegas quartet.
AP: What inspired you to make a B-sides album?
Flowers: It's for our American fans. We don't have the B-sides here. There was the argument that you can get them on the Internet, but it's just kind of putting them all together. It's also for our future fans.
AP: What was it like getting back into this old material?
Flowers: We didn't mess with much of it. There were a couple of songs that I was excited to fix because they made me cringe for five years. They weren't all rerecorded but we touched a couple of them up, you know, reinforced. We're better players. I'm a better singer now. I think there's something great about hearing a song and hearing where you were five years ago, but the things that we fixed were the things that we were ignorant about. I was 21 years old. I never recorded before. ... So I got to sing things over and have it sound more how we would rather them sound.
AP: How did you end up working with Lou Reed?
Flowers: This was a song that ... should have been on "Sam's Town." It's a real stinger. So I don't know what we were thinking, why it didn't make it on, but it's kind of nice to have a duet and we're all very big fans of Lou Reed. We thought it was worth a shot to ask him and he loved the song.
AP: Do you have plans to work with other artists you admire?
Flowers: If there comes a time. It would be nice to work with somebody new, you know? It seems like nobody gets together enough anymore. It would be nice to do something with Elton John or something.
AP: There are a few new tracks on this album.
Flowers: Yeah but most of it was all done. There's going to be 17 songs and they're basically the B-sides except for a couple. There's a song that we kind of promised in the past. It's called "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf." It kind of goes together with two songs from the first album ("Jenny was a Friend of Mine" and "Midnight Snow") and it tells a little story.
AP: What are you most looking forward to doing when you finish the tour this month in Australia?
Flowers: My wife had a baby, so I'm excited to go and be with my baby. He's a handsome little man.
AP: What are you listening to these days?
Flowers: I just don't listen to music as much as I used to. I like to try and hear something new every now and then. I'm not very excited by any new music right now. It seems like we're in a sad, sad state of affairs. I don't have any new secrets. ... The Strokes were the big thing for me that made me want to be better. I would say another band like that would be Arcade Fire.
AP: Does putting all the B-sides on one record liberate you to make new music?
Flowers: Before we may have swept some things under the rug and now we're cleaning things up. We're going to be able to put them away and move on now. It's kind of like cleaning house, so now I'm excited. People say the second album is a big turning point but I think our third album is where you really prove yourself. ... I think we've really got to do it again big for people to see that we deserve whatever we get.
AP: Do you anticipate a change in the band's sound for third record?
Flowers: I hope so. I hope we change so it's not so boring. I'm looking forward to it. There's always going to be the four of us playing so whatever that is, that will be there. We strive for excellence. We try to write good songs. We just kind of let it take us where it's going to go. ... It's almost like we let the songs lead the way. It's exciting to not know what's coming.