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Originally published Sunday, April 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Let's-start-a-band ad in newspaper created Killers

The Killers were formed in late 2002 in Henderson, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas, by guitarist David Keuning, a bellboy at the Aladdin Resort...

The Killers were formed in late 2002 in Henderson, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas, by guitarist David Keuning, a bellboy at the Aladdin Resort and Casino. His let's-start-a-band ad in a music paper was answered by singer-keyboardist Brandon Flowers, who worked as a bellboy at the Gold Coast Hotel; drummer Ronnie Vannucci, a photographer at a wedding chapel; and bassist Mark Stoermer, a courier for a medical-supply company.

Taking their name from a fictitious band in a New Order video for the song "Crystal," they practiced in Vannucci's garage, writing original material from the beginning. Their first gigs were in local clubs, where they attracted a following.

In 2003, they played in a Las Vegas showcase for Warner Bros. Records but were turned down. However, a WB employee from England who was at the showcase recommended them to Lizard King Records, a small, independent U.K. label that signed the group. In September 2003, the band went to England to record its debut album, "Hot Fuss." (Parts of it were finished in Los Angeles.) Even before the album was released in June 2004, New Musical Express, the British music weekly, heralded the Killers as the Next Big Thing. That caught the interest of Island Records, a major label, which struck a deal with Lizard King and snatched up the Killers.

The band was an immediate hit in dance clubs, especially in Europe, but had to do a lot of touring before the album began to attract attention and get radio airplay. The catchy "Somebody Told Me" and the dance-rhythmed "Mr. Brightside" eventually became hits. Both are current radio staples, virtually guaranteeing that the Killers will be one of the big rock bands of summer 2005.

— Patrick MacDonald

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