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The Killers' Dave Keuning talks about Day & Age

Keuning shapes sounds and looks sharp
Keuning shapes sounds and looks sharp

"Any band that calls themselves The Killers is gonna be dangerous," says guitarist Dave Keuning. "We're subversive. The best bands have always been that way."

Keuning chuckles and runs a hand through his unruly mane of rock star hair. It's mid-afternoon and the bar inside New York's Gramercy Park Hotel is closed. The guitarist looks around quizzically and says, "You can't get a drink in New York City? That's strange."

Despite the absence of alcohol, Keuning is feeling on top of the world - and with good reason: his band The Killers are about to release Day & Age, a grand and shiny mindfuck of an album that is bound to turn the Las Vegas-based quartet into global superstars. (Want to know just how good it is? Check out MusicRadar's exclusive track-by-track review.)

"We don't write the same songs over and over. If you want that, go for some other band."

Since their 2004 debut Hot Fuss, an intoxicating new wave and post-punk concoction that featured such smashes as Mr. Brightside and Somebody Told Me, The Killers (which also includes Brandon Flowers on vocals and keyboards, Mark Stoermer on bass and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. on drums) made it clear they weren't going to play nice.

You have to care enough to make music that bleeds. And you might make mistakes, which is how some fans viewed the group's grandiose follow-up Sam's Town. "An album we'll never apologize for," says Keuning. "We don't write the same songs over and over. If you want that, go for some other band."

Once people get a listen to Day & Age, there'll be no need for apologies. This is the kind of record that feels like a gift. Keuning, a bold and inventive guitarist, sprinkles sonic fairy dust on each of the album's 10 astonishing songs. An unabashed admirer of The Edge, he says his role in The Killers is to "channel emotion with the guitar, not simply churn out solos."

In the podcast below, Dave Keuning expands on these thoughts, and talks about the making of what is sure to be The Killers' biggest record yet. To read the entire interview, pick up the March 2009 issue of Guitar World.

Part one - guitar influences, moving to Vegas and forming The Killers, the reaction to Sam's Town
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Part two - Keuning discusses Day & Age, his guitars and gear
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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.