Every human has their rituals and superstitions. The little daily quirks, ticks and tricks that have some type of magical voodoo over our lives. “If I only cross the street in this spot, I always have a good work day” or “Every time I wear these underwear, I get laid” are just some examples.
It shouldn’t be a shock that artists are incredibly ritualistic and superstitious. Especially successful artist. Brandon Flowers, frontman of The Killers, is especially the former, and slightly the latter, and one of his biggest ticks involves a bag of human hair. Thankfully it’s his own.
Rather, Flowers’ hair offering is a typically quirky suggestion from a frontman who, for all his stadium band-sized swagger, is both funny peculiar and weird peculiar, and is perfectly happy to admit to both.
“So I grew a beard for Sam’s Town…” begins The Killers singer. His band’s second album (2006) heralded the moment when the Las Vegas foursome ditched the British synth-pop colours of their acclaimed 2004 debut, Hot Fuss, and embraced Springsteen-style Americana. And they tried on the boots, waistcoats and facial hair to match.
Neil Tennant – then, as now, a keen and pithy dissector of music culture – observed Flowers’ growth and expressed concern. To the Pet Shop Boy, it suggested that the Anglophile Nevadan who grew up loving The Smiths, Oasis and Tennant’s band was suddenly forswearing pop music in favour of something rather more, well, beardy.
Flowers – then, as now, in awe of Tennant – decided to heed the Brit’s warning. When he removed the beard for The Killers’ third album, Day & Age (2008), he says, “I started keeping the shavings in a bag.
“And I still do it,” he grins. “I have a Ziploc bag full of hair. I’ll grow five or six days growth, make sure that the sink is dry, use an electric razor, catch it in the sink, and then I’m able to just scoop it into the bag!”
Flowers has only been doing this for SEVEN YEARS so the bag isn’t huge — yet. He doesn’t plan on stopping, but oddly enough, he also can’t really explain why the fuck he’s collecting his own beard trimmings.
“It’s a lot of hair!” he says. “But it’s compacted. And it doesn’t smell. It’s all black but about half way up you start to see some greys. I don’t know what to do with it yet. It means something.”
It means when you’re a rich rock star you can do whatever the fuck you want and it’s quirky. If I kept my hair in a bag I’d be called “crazy.”