Brandon Flowers was at New York’s JFK International Airport, getting ready to fly home to Utah, when he got a text message from a number he didn’t know.

The message praised Flowers’ band, The Killers, and complimented the singer’s style. And then there was a request: “We gotta do ‘Dustland’ one day.”

The note, which Flowers recently shared on his Twitter account, then ended with a simple “Bruce.”

In a recent Twitter post, Flowers recalled receiving that message over a year ago. He wrote how he didn’t want to jump to any conclusions, so he Googled the area code. It was from New Jersey. Could this message really be from the Bruce Springsteen, he thought?

In his detailed Twitter post, Flowers shared how he then texted a friend of his — who also happens to be Springsteen’s son — to get confirmation.

It was, in fact, The Boss.

That message came through in February 2020 — shortly before the C0VID-19 pandemic shutdown would abruptly end all concert tours and close all music venues. Now, the “Dustland” collaboration between The Killers and Springsteen — which was filmed in Utah — has come to life.

What is The Killers song ‘Dustland’ about?

On Wednesday, The Killers and Springsteen released “Dustland,” a remake of the band’s original song “A Dustland Fairytale” from 2008, according to Entertainment Weekly. It’s a fitting collaboration — Flowers has been vocal about Springsteen’s influence on his music, and has said the “Born in the U.S.A” singer inspired him to write “A Dustland Fairytale” in the first place.

In his recent Twitter post, Flowers detailed how he wrote “A Dustland Fairytale” while his mom was battling terminal brain cancer. At the time, his parents had been married for more than 40 years.

  • “It was an attempt to understand my dad, who is sometimes a mystery to me,” Flowers wrote on Twitter. “To grieve for my mother. To acknowledge their sacrifices and maybe even catch a glimpse of just how strong love needs to be to make it in this world. It was my therapy. It was cathartic.”
Concert review: Hometown favorite Brandon Flowers leads The Killers in hit-filled S.L. show
Utah native, musician and new dad Robbie Connolly on life as a Killer(s)

Flowers said Springsteen, who sings in great detail about the struggles and hopes of everyday people, opened the door for him to write “A Dustland Fairytale.”

  • ”It makes you happy to see where your music goes and who it inspires,” Springsteen told the “Today” show on Wednesday. “I find that to be very thrilling.”

How did Bruce Springsteen get involved with ‘Dustland’?

View Comments

Flowers recently told Rolling Stone that when he finished writing “A Dustland Fairytale” in 2008, he sent Springsteen a copy of the song and a note expressing gratitude for his influence.

  • “I attribute my discovery and absorption of his music with helping me become a more authentic writer,” Flowers told Rolling Stone. “He helped me to see the extraordinary in everyday people and their lives. And in this case, it was my parents who were under the microscope. Their faith and doubts, their search for salvation in the desert. It sounds Biblical. It also sounds Springsteenian.”

After that, the musicians crossed paths a few times over the years, but “Dustland” marks the pair’s first collaboration. When Springsteen reached out to Flowers via text, the initial idea was to perform the song live together. But, of course, the pandemic shifted plans. They decided to record it instead.

  • “It means a whole lot to get a text from Bruce,” Flowers told Rolling Stone. “Let alone an appearance on a song of ours. He’s living, breathing American royalty.”

Filming ‘Dustland’ in Utah

Music fans in Utah will likely recognize the setting of the “Dustland” music video — it was filmed at Provo’s Velour Live Music Gallery. Although Springsteen’s part was filmed remotely from New Jersey, Velour owner Corey Fox said the Boss’ presence was felt.

  • “During a very dark year that consistently had me questioning the unstable career path I chose, there were timely moments of clarity and illumination that reassured me of my choice. This performance was one of those moments,” Fox shared in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “It’s not every day that a band like The Killers handpicks your venue to do their dream collaboration with a musical legend like Bruce Springsteen!
  • “I don’t know Brandon Flowers well, but I knew what this meant to him,” Fox continued. “And I hope they know what this meant to me during a year like this.”

Live music will return to Velour next month, according to the venue’s Facebook page.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.