The Killers’ Brandon Flowers on (RED) and 6 Years of Christmas Songs

Posted December 5

On December 1, (RED) launched a special online quilt in honor of World AIDS Day. Those who contribute a panel to the quilt — and vow to spread the message — will receive a free track from The Killers. Curious about the project and the band’s involvement, we caught up with frontman Brandon Flowers to get the scoop.

To refresh your memory, the quilt lives on a special site titled (2015) Quilt. The 2015 in the title refers to the fact that by 2015, we should hopefully be able to end the transmission of HIV from mother to child. The quilt theme? Well, according to the (RED) site, in 1987 The Names Project Foundation shrouded the National Mall in D.C. with a massive quilt in honor of all those lost to AIDS. Now, RED is asking users around the world to take the web and show their support.

Upon designing your panel, you’ll be able to add it to the Quilt and share it to your social networks, as well as choose one of six Killers Christmas tracks (all recorded over the years for RED) for download. You can also buy the whole EP on iTunes.

This year’s track is a semi-bizarre country tune called “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball,” in the tradition of past off-kilter Killers Christmas jams.

Check out out interview with Flowers below:

How did you get involved in this project? You’ve been making songs for (RED) for so long — six years now.
I was at the Bellagio sometime in 2006 when I got a call from Bono. I was a nervous wreck. It was tough to hear him through all the commotion that a casino can create. And when you get these calls you really want be present. Anyway, he was calling to ask if I’d do a picture for this (RED) campaign. It was basically gonna be a Gap ad with some really high profile people. I instantly thought, ‘How about we do a song?’

Which track of the 6 is your favorite? Why?
I’m proud of all six offerings so far. But I’d say ‘Joseph, Better You Than Me’ is my favorite. Getting to sit down at a piano with Elton John and write a song! It’s insane that it’s gone this far. The song has a tenderness to it. It’s very Christmas. Also we got Neil Tennant to lend a hand. Somehow with all three of us singing on there it doesn’t feel confusing.

What does this cause mean to you?
It is a worthy cause. When I learned some of the statistics about AIDS in Africa I was floored. To help out in the smallest way felt mandatory.

This is the sixth year running that you’ve worked with RED, how has the process changed and grown?
The process is always the same. The year flies by and we realize we haven’t written the song yet. But somehow we get it together and make a video just in time for a December 1 drop. All of the video directors have been under the gun and have made miracles happen. Favors galore! The best thing about doing these songs is the lightness it brings into The Killers’ world. There seems to be a lot more smiling and dancing going on when there isn’t too much riding on the recording. Maybe we should pretend every song is a Christmas song.

Tell us about this year’s song.
This year’s song is called ‘The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball.’ It’s a poem from 1890 by William Lawrence Chittenden. I was reading a cowboy poetry book and found it. It was fun to put a melody to the dusty old lingo. I also took it from its original setting in Western Texas and brought it to Old Nevada by changing some towns and rivers and animals around to fit our great state.

By Brenna Ehrlich