Brandon Flowers on Inducting the Cars and Honoring Tom Petty
Killers frontman Brandon Flowers got to induct the Cars into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14 — after opening the ceremony with a performance of "American Girl" in honor of the late Tom Petty.
It isn't often that an artist has the opportunity to pay tribute to a couple of heroes on a stage that size; unsurprisingly, Flowers was left a little blown away by the whole experience.
"We had two great moments, obviously," Flowers told Rolling Stone after the ceremony. "To pay tribute to Tom Petty, who has just done nothing but enrich our lives, and then for me to get to induct the Cars into the Hall of Fame, I mean, this is a hell of a night for me."
Those familiar with Flowers' work, both as a solo artist and in the context of the Killers, have likely heard the Cars' clear influence on his sound. But Flowers was quick to point out that Petty's earlier work was also steeped in new wave even though many people "don't associate him with that movement at all." Long after Petty's sound evolved, Flowers argued that he remained "an endless well of great songs," up to and including the albums he released toward the end of his carer.
"The songs are eternal," Flowers added. "I'm grateful for what he did."
The Cars were also a formative influence on Flowers, something he acknowledged by looking back on his youth. "I feel like it was yesterday that my mom was complaining about the sound that was coming out of the speakers when I had the Cars in," he mused. "They were the first band I fell in love with, and they set me on the right track."
That isn't just idle praise, either. As Flowers sees it, the band's music offered a sort of beacon to a kid who didn't respond as deeply to the prevalent musical trends of his youth. "Gangsta rap was massive and kids were starting to listen to that and to grunge," he added. "So I feel like the Cars ... because I just didn't fit in with either of those scenes, they just really gave me a home and set me on a path which led to the woman that I married and the life that I'm living, and I'm really grateful for that."