Belfast Telegraph

We've finally caught up with The Killers

The Killers headline day two of this week's Tennants ViTal festival. Maureen Coleman grabbed an exclusive chat with their drummer, Ronnie Vannucci Jr

US indie rockers The Killers today told how they turned down dates elsewhere to secure a summer slot in Northern Ireland.

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph ahead of their Ulster debut at Tennents ViTal this week, the band said they were "hugely excited" about playing Belfast for the first time.

The band's drummer Ronnie Vannucci said previous commitments meant they had never made it north of the border, despite playing Dublin and the Oxegen festival.

But he said he hoped their headlining gig on Wednesday night at Ormeau Park would make up for it.

"You know I can't really give you a reason why we haven't played Belfast before, other than duty called elsewhere," he said.

"Our agents seemed to think it better to have Belfast superseded by England and Dublin and I suppose because they have festivals like Oxegen and V, we played there then.

"We had other offers to play, we were invited back to Dublin again, but we said no so we could come to Belfast.

"Our music seems to be gaining more notoriety now and that means we get to play more places, places we've never been before like Belfast, or Budapest, where we've just played."

Ronnie said he'd heard a lot about Belfast from friends who have been here or who hail from Northern Ireland.

"The great thing about being in a band is meeting other guys in bands and I've quite a few friends from Belfast," he said.

"We're pretty tight with the Snow Patrol dudes. We've had some good times with them."

Ronnie said the trip to Belfast would be a 'slam dunk' type of visit, but that he hoped he could stay on for an extra day to get a look around.

"More than likely we'll be in and out, but sometimes we all split up and do our own thing, so maybe I'll get to stay on for a day and see what the place is like," he said.

The Killers, who come from Las Vegas, released their debut album Hot Fuss in 2004 to massive critical acclaim. Their second album, Sam's Town, was released last year. Combined, the albums have sold over 8,750,000 copies and singles such as All These Things That I Have Done and Mr Brightside have become indie anthems.

The band, fronted by Brandon Flowers, have also been nominated for a Grammy award and earlier this year scooped two Brit Awards for Best International Album and Best International Group.

Ronnie said: "At the Brits we were so nervous about playing live and didn't think about winning. We're not really about gongs or trophies," he said.

"But it was amazing to win. We knew something was up when Steve Tyler came into our dressing room and started singing 'I've Got A Feeling'."

The band, who formed in 2002 and are influenced by Brit bands from the New Wave era, plan to release a third album in 2008.

"What we want to do is just keep going and keep making good songs," he said.

"Hot Fuss was really only a couple of demos, but with Sam's Town we were working with producers for the first time and any pressure on us to come up with a great second album was self-imposed. The third album will be paramount. It'll be even more important than the second one."

Ronnie, a former photographer at the Little Chapel of the Flowers in Vegas, said he hoped the weather holds out for Wednesday's gig.

"When we headlined Oxegen last month, we felt really bad about it," he said.

"We played the last slot of the last day and all we could think was that all these poor people who were cold, wet and covered in mud and probably wanted to be at home in bed.

"Hopefully we'll bring the good weather with us to Belfast."

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