Column: Dave Keuning’s best guitar solos

Ryan Meyer, Opinions Writer

The Killers guitarist and solo artist Dave Keuning announced that he is releasing his second album titled, “Mild Case of Everything,” on Friday. This is very exciting news, given the strength of the singles he’s released, most particularly “The Fountain.”

The song features great guitar work by way of melancholy chords and some great vocals from Keuning. I don’t know much about the technicalities of singing, but Keuning’s emphasis on certain words and his variation between pitches works very well with the song. The bridge features a searing guitar solo that is one of the better solos I’ve heard from him, up there with Killers classics like “When You Were Young” and “Battleborn.”

I’m looking forward to this record because I imagine it’ll be more cohesive as an album than his first album, “Prismism,” was. He’s mentioned in interviews that “Prismism” was a collection of recordings and ideas from over the years, and it contains great songs but shifts often over its 14 songs. I’m sure he’s more comfortable as a solo artist, which is sure to show in the music.

In honor of the release of “Mild Case of Everything,” I’ve decided to revisit some of my favorite Dave Keuning riffs. He’s one of the guitarists that really got me into music and he has countless riffs and solos worth noting:

  • “Where The White Boys Dance”- The Killers: The last minute of this song is all Keuning, where it builds to a swell that resolves itself in a euphoric, cathartic couple of notes. It’s a simple refrain, but Keuning’s tone and the way the song melts into the riff is what make it so perfect. Even though my taste has evolved and developed since discovering the Killers, this is a riff I still love to this day.
  • “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas”- Brandon Flowers: This is the opening track of Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers’ solo record, but by the indulgent, almost minute-long solo, you’d think it was the Keuning show. Much of the themes on the record and spiritual, and this solo fits the bill. It’s another larger-than-life riff that shows Keuning’s ability to create these massive landscapes with his playing. The other instruments can just sit back and relax when he plays a solo like this one. There are multiple guitarists listed on this track, but for the sake of this column I’m going to assume it was Keuning.
  • “A Great Big Sled”- The Killers: Even though I’ve been listening to the Killers for years, I haven’t given their Christmas songs much of a chance. And the second I did, I was rewarded with a fantastic introduction by Keuning of another revolving riff with note changes at the perfect time. His guitar playing also works well emphasizing chord changes behind leading synths. This song features some of Flowers’ best vocal work.
  • “Uncle Jonny”- The Killers: This is just a gritty, perfect guitar riff. It’s not a solo but it is by far the greatest part of the song and one of the best parts on the band’s strong second record, “Sam’s Town.” The riff doesn’t change for a while, but when it does it’s too a higher pitched part that fits just as well in the context of the song. Keuning isn’t going out of his way to be flashy here, and it pays off in the form of one the Killers’ strongest back catalogue tracks.

I’m eager to hear more great guitar work from Keuning on his new record and in the Killers’ upcoming releases. It’ll be interesting to hear how his sound has developed, and quite honestly, after revisiting these riffs, I’m just in the mood to listen to some guitar heroics.

Ryan Meyer is a sophomore  journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]