Ronnie Vannucci Jr. discusses the band's songwriting process, their inability to escape Las Vegas, and the new album
Back in September, The Killers released Wonderful Wonderful, their first album in five years. Filled with empathy, compassion, and some tongue-and-cheek nods to their early days, the LP became the band's first to top the Billboard 200 album chart.On the record, the band digs into their Las Vegas roots, while trying to figure out what it means to be a man in the modern world. Their willingness not to take themselves too seriously and to deliver an honest depiction of their own youthful swagger is what makes Wonderful Wonderful stand out amongst an already impressive catalog filled with hits.ARTISTdirect's Christopher Friedmann caught up with drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. to discuss the band's songwriting process, their inability to escape Las Vegas, and the new album.Christopher Friedmann: We're talking because you just released your new album, Wonderful Wonderful. Now that the dust has had some time to settle and you've already seen where it has charted, how is the mood in camp? Are you guys excited still?Ronnie Vannucci Jr.: Yeah, we're really excited. We start the actual tour next week and we are excited for this' we've been playing a lot of festivals and not really our own shows and so we've just had to be crowd pleasing and now Brandon and I are looking forward to donning the emotional arc of the record.CF: For sure. Festival shows are somewhat like, 'Play the hitsâ€�...RV: Yeah, you have to sort of consider that not everybody is there to see you, and you've got to sort of play the hits.CF: This was your first record in five years. What made you decide this was the time to come back?RV: I think it's a combination of' it took so long because some of our guys needed a bit of a break, well Mark and Brandon needed a break [laughs], and it just took a long time. Brandon and I and Mark all did records ourselves. Before that happened we did a best of record and then we compiled another Christmas record and did touring for both, and not to mention touring nearly two years just for Battle Born, so it didn't feel like we were sort of staying as still as the paper reads. I think we were pretty busy.Another reason is that it just takes time. How do you figure out how you're going to' what are you going to do that's different that's still you and still has some kind of value? Where do you go? Thinking about that and writing songs and kind of figuring that all out, it is a bit more of, there is a bit more fishing involved than just going into the garage. Sometimes when we do that it sounds like, you know, a 70's band. So we needed time to experiment and flex different muscles. We needed to figure out where we were going and where it felt right to end up.CF: Well it turned out very successfully. You guys had your first ever number one album'RV: Yeah, that's crazy.CF: What were your expectations when you came into the studio? Anything like this?RV: No. We just wanted to do something that was good, that we knew was good. I think there was a certain time where we were just like' there was a bit of a leap of faith involved where we just knew it was more important for us to do something that was good and honest and that we were satisfied with, rather than hook up with the most popular producer at the time to make it sound like a radio hit. It's so funny though, a lot of the songs, some of our biggest songs have been so'