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The Killers
The Killers
Photo by Erik Weiss

Killers Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. on 2017's Ups and Downs

By the time it ended, 2017 had earned the ire of plenty of Americans. But the year was so great for the Killers that they put the word "wonderful" in the title of their latest album — twice.

After a five-year stretch without a new record, the Killers ended their hiatus in September when they dropped their fifth LP, Wonderful, Wonderful. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts, a first for the band.

“This is our most personal, most introspective record yet,” drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. says. “As we dove in, the stories became more autobiographical... and we honed into something that’s closer to home. This is more meaningful to us... To step in and put that honesty on a record, it’s gratifying."

Now that new music is checked off the list, what’s in store for the Killers?

For starters, a massive global tour. In addition to jetting to gigs throughout Europe, South America, and Australia, the Killers will make a stop in Miami on Tuesday, January 23, at the American Airlines Arena.

“This is the biggest tour we’ve been on,” Vannucci says. “It’s probably the most production-forward-thinking tour we’ve ever been on too. We bring our own stage, meaning everything from what we’re standing on to the LEDs... we’re turning arenas into an alternate universe.”

Music-wise in Miami, fans can expect a healthy dose of jams from Wonderful, Wonderful, including the smash “The Man,” the wildly underappreciated and incredibly infectious “Run for Cover,” and the band's latest single, “Rut.” The video for “Rut,” which dropped earlier this week, is a touching and real look at depression and PTSD.

Also count on some classic Killers goodness: “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” “Smile Like You Mean It,” and “Human” are all still givens during the band's live sets.

Off the road, it’s been a wild few months for the guys. Lead singer Brandon Flowers once solely called Las Vegas home, but now, like Vannucci, he’s bouncing between Utah and Vegas.

The band was also heartbroken after the October 1 Vegas shootings. Just three months removed from the horrific massacre that left nearly 60 innocent concertgoers dead and more than 500 injured, the tragedy still strikes a major chord with Vannucci, a born-and-bred Las Vegan.

“Of course I’m sad, shocked, and incredibly sad for the families and people affected by all this,” he says. “I’m just tired of [hearing about news like this]. Everyone is so warped and so undernourished mentally... That’s what’s causing these things. Everyone is focused on our bodies... how round our asses are and how smooth our skin is. No one is paying attention to mental health as much as our own vanity. We need to pay attention to mental illness.”

Like so many in the Vegas community, the Killers responded to terror with strength. Among a number of incredible happenings and gatherings around town, the band teamed up with fellow Nevadans Imagine Dragons to headline a big-time benefit show on the Strip.

So, yeah, the end of 2017 was a bit of a circus. In 2018, the band is focused on bringing its own version of a circus to audiences around the globe.

“For the rest of this coming year, it’s all about being with this band, this crew, and bringing this amazing traveling circus to people,” Vannucci says. “I have my family out with me, which is great. Everything feels good.”

The Killers. 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 23, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000; aaarena.com. Tickets cost $21 to $91 via ticketmaster.com.

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