Big Star, Small Town Roots

Authors: Ariel Kelsey, Sidney Hancock, Seini Tuiasoa

Did you know our small town of Nephi was once home to a celebrity of its own – specifically, the lead singer of an American rock band with a deadly-sounding name and killer lyrics? Can’t think of who this famous person is? Here’s a hint:

“Jealousy, turning saints into the sea

Swimming through sick lullabies, choking on your alibis

But it’s just the price I pay, destiny is calling me

Open up my eager eyes, ‘cause I’m Mr. Brightside

     If you haven’t caught on, the person to whom we are referencing is none other than The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. According to Todd Van Luling’s article on the musician, the band’s first song, which was “inspired by a real-life girlfriend of Brandon Flowers’ who cheated on him”, is the song mentioned in the previous paragraph: “Mr. Brightside”.

       Brandon Flowers was born in Henderson, Nevada. However, Brandon lived in Utah from the ages 8-16. First, he lived in Payson for two years, before moving to Nephi. Flowers attended Juab, until he was a Junior.

This past summer, he wrote and released an album called “Pressure Machine”. He wrote this whole album about his experiences in Nephi. In his song “Quiet Town”, he expands more on what he thought about the community itself. In each chorus, he says something he likes about Nephi, painting a positive picture of our town. 

“In this quiet town, they know how to live

Good people who lean on Jesus, they’re quick to forgive

In this quiet town

In this quiet town, salt of the land

Hard-working people, if you’re in trouble, they’ll lend you a hand

Here in this quiet town”

     Now that you are caught up on Brandon Flowers and his experiences in Nephi, it is time to hear from two sources who have had much experience with our city as well as the students of Juab High School – Mrs. Kristy Carter and Mrs. Andrea Settle. Seeing that our school’s art teacher had Flowers in one of her classes, we decided to ask for Mrs. Carter’s thoughts on her former student and his band’s new album.

     When recalling Brandon, Carter relays “There wasn’t a whole lot about him, at that point, that stood out. He was pretty quiet.” To drive this point home, Mrs. Carter remembers his low-profile presence in school – especially in the school yearbook. “He was on the golf team… I was doing the yearbook, at that time, and the only picture of him in the yearbook [was] just his… [class] picture. He didn’t show up for the golf [team] picture.”

     Mrs. Carter explains her thoughts on Brandon’s new album, bringing an interesting perspective to the table. She believes that, at times, his portrayal of Nephi was too negative or “rustic” for her liking. Mrs. Carter refers to the film setting of one’s Brandon’s music videos. “They used the grungiest parts of Eureka, and said it was Nephi,” Carter laughs.

     On the other hand, Mrs. Settle offers a beautiful thought on Flowers’s portrayal of Nephi. She explains, “Although the album does show a grittier side to Nephi and small-town life, it also shows the beauties and sometimes unique qualities that we have in Nephi. It talks about, you know, the mouth of the canyon, track street, and Old Mill Park. And he also mentions, specifically in ‘Quiet Town’, some really beautiful things about [our town]; it’s a community of people that will lend you a hand – who believe in forgiveness. Although there is a darker side, I see that it’s not all dark.”

     If the idea of a famous band creating a whole album dedicated to Nephi interests you, please give Pressure Machine a listen! The songs mention so many elements of life in Nephi. So sit down, plug your earbuds in, and have a little taste of our quiet town.