The Band that Changed my Life

TheKillers

I remember more music than I have memories. It has become so engrained into my life that I have tattoos dedicated to it and spend a good chunk of my paycheck to go to concerts.  I listened to music to fall asleep, to soothe a broken heart, and to celebrate life. Sometimes my taste could be questionable, but when I discovered my band my life changed forever.

Growing up, I listened to a lot of my parent’s music: Irish Folk music, female singers and more folk music. Before we had our Walkmans, my sister and I would have to endure hours in a car of songs like “The Fields of Athenry” and endless jig music. When my dad finally got “Hot Licks” by the Rolling Stones we had him play it constantly as it was the only music we could ever agree on. Then finally: we got our own Walkmans and stereos, which we used to play our radio mix tapes and CDs my mom got from Columbia House. She was pretty hip with the times: she bought me Fugees, TLC, Jennifer Lopez and Fast and Furious soundtracks. My first favourite tape that I listened to repeatedly as a kid was the Dirty Dancing soundtrack (years before it became one of my favorite movies).  I also distinctly remember blasting Celine Dion and Whitney Houston while playing solitaire on my little computer in my room, and having my headphones on listening to the Backstreet Boys.  Then there was Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child air bands, lip syncs with my bestie to “The Boy Is Mine,” and dance routines to ABBA. Very eclectic taste.

Then as I got older, I picked up artists that my parent’s hadn’t heard of:  Blink 182, Sum 41 and my favourite band for years and years, Lifehouse. I discovered them on a That’s What I Call Music CD and played their first album so often I’ve had to replace it three times (its still one of my favourite albums of all time). While I still like Lifehouse, my heart grew to love a different band.

In my “victory lap” year of high school, I was set on becoming a writer. I was the editor and pretty much sole writer of the school paper; I worked on yearbook and wrote stories for local magazines.  Then I took a co-op at the University of Guelph Radio station, CFRU 93.3 FM.  I was working with this very hip woman who wore hand woven tops and went to yoga (before it was the “thing” to do). As part of my co-op I got some airtime, two hours of “spoken word,” which meant that I could play music but I had to talk or have stories for 50 per cent or more of it. I only remember one story talking about education, where I had my only call in (which incidentally turned out to be a boy I hated), but I do remember the music. I would scour their little CD room filled top to bottom with CDs of all kinds of music, any genre you could think of. Then there was the “new release’s” room, with a little boom box to test out the CDs. I carefully cultivated my musical taste in that room.  Weakerthans, Constantines, Gossip and one song that I still listen to but have no idea who the band is. I remember filling out sheets and sheets on the songs I played, I wish I kept copies of those sheets.

Then I found that little single.

I remember being intrigued by its pink and gold cover, it was a promo single sent by the record label (we got lots of those). I put it in the little stereo and I was instantly hooked, it sounded quite a lot like 80’s new wave I was really into at the time (huge John Hughes Fan) but yet different. I had never heard the song before.

It was The Killers “Somebody Told Me.”

I played it literally every single show until I heard it on public radio then had to retire it. Soon after I first heard it, I bought their debut album Hot Fuss and played it to death at home.

Lifehouse and the Backstreet boys was one thing, but this evolved into something else entirely. WhiIe I’ve outgrown the other bands, I’ve become a bigger fan of The Killers. I have all of their CDs, some B-Side songs, follow a YouTube Channel with live shows and was gratefully gifted their vinyl collection which could be my most precious thing besides my autographed Chris Hemsworth magazine.

The truth is I listen to the Killers every single day, even if it’s just one song or their entire discography.  From “Mr. Brightside,” and “All these Things I’ve Done” to “Read my Mind,” “Runaways,” “Human” or “Here with Me,” and list goes on and on.  At some point in the day, guaranteed you will hear me listening to them.

While I don’t always like the music that The Killers put out, I am still a faithful follower, a Victim as they call their fans.  I’ve seen them twice in concert, and soon will go to see them a third time (floor spots- as close to the stage as we can get).

The first show was special because I dragged my cousin to it and I was very high. Sitting in the grass at the Molson Amphitheatre, it sounded so amazing that it was like I was in a tiny room and I was the only person there. I felt the music float over me and out into the night sky (I romantically think it was because of how much I love the band but it was probably the really strong weed). The next time I went was with my best friend, and we sang and danced our hearts out. It was a dream come true.

While they may not be the first band I discovered on my own, they are the first band that no matter what is happening around me, when I listen to them I feel like “me.”  They give me the words that I can’t find and tell me stories that I can relate to. On sunny days I walk around the city with my headphones repeating the words “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” in my head. On dreary days I hum “Mr. Brightside” and I wish I could have written, “It’s funny how you just break down/Waitin’ on some sign/I pull up to the front of your driveway/With magic soakin’ my spine/ Can you read my mind?”

They remind me of my good times, bad days, my past, and they get me through my present. The Killers are also part of the reason why I am so close with my best friend, because she understands and shares the same love for them as I do.

I know I will be a Victim for life: I dream of naming my hypothetical daughter after a cover they have done, plan on following in their footsteps while in Vegas and I’m deciding on what ink I should get to commemorate them.  How was I to know one little pink and gold CD would change my life?  Music will always be my religion, and the Killers are my saints.

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3 thoughts on “The Band that Changed my Life

  1. This is probably one of my favourite Blonde pieces. Erin, you put into words so many of the things I feel for my favourite artists, and music as a whole.

  2. Great little post. Whilst The Killers are a long way from being one of my favourite bands, Hot Fuss is a great album and I have fond memories of hearing Mr Brightside on many a night out at the time of its release.

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