Rock

20 Questions With The Killers’ Ronnie Vannucci Jr.

The Killers
Olivia Bee

The Killers

Last month, the Killers returned with Imploding The Mirage, their first album in three years and one of the most consistently thrilling of their discography. It’s also the first project the veteran live act has released while being unable to perform its songs at major festivals and American arenas, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet with songs like “Blowback,” “Caution” and “My Own Soul’s Warning,” Imploding The Mirage -- which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 albums chart -- will one day be ripe for the Killers’ major stages.

Following the new album’s release, Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. reflected on its influences, how their hometown of Las Vegas helped shape them, the Beatles song that makes him cry, and more in these 20 Questions.

1. What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?

Tape. The Head on the Door, The Cure.

2. What was the first concert you saw?

Pointer Sisters, of course.

3. How did you parents influence your musical taste as a kid? 

Taught me how to work the stereo. Bought me a drum set. Threw me on a stage at Ceasars when I was 7.

4. Who made you realize you could be an artist full-time?

I did.

5. What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?

Working with Jeff Lynne.

6. How did your hometown/city shape who you are?

Vegas... there are wheelers and dealers. And I guess I found out how to stay on the right side of a sharp edge of wrong and right.

7. What’s the last song you listened to?

Plague Vendor, “New Comedown.”

8. If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?

Buddy Rich.

9. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd of one of your shows?

[no answer]

10. How has the pandemic affected the way you’ve created music in 2020?

Lots of studio time. Which feels like a natural continuation from recording ITM.

11. Was there a collective mission statement heading into the creation of Imploding the Mirage?

Not so much as what people in boardrooms have, but yes, there’s an objective.

12. What were the band’s main influences while creating the sound of the new album?

Renewal. And Thomas Blackshear’s art.

13. How did you spend the release day of Imploding the Mirage?

With a bottle of champagne at 9:45 am.

14. How much do you pay attention to fan reaction, or critical reaction, to a new album -- and is it more or less than earlier in your career?

We pay attention, we just don’t live or die by it.

15. How much has the band discussed how to present the new songs on the road, even as touring is indefinitely delayed?

We discussed when writing and recording. All aspects are considered, well, usually.

16. What’s your karaoke go-to?

“Vamos Ala Playa.”

17. What movie, or song, always makes you cry?

“Across the Universe.” The Beatles song.

18. What’s one thing that even the band’s most devoted fans don’t know about you?

I don’t know, and I’d like to keep it that way. The Internet... nothing’s sacred these days.

19. If you were not a musician, what would you be?

I’d probably wander around calling myself a photographer.

20. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Hang in there. It gets better. Read more books, and don’t worry about being fancy.

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