A couple of weeks ago I saw this fun essay about how the local roots of Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers are reflected in their music. It reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about for a while: I went to high school with their drummer.
I didn’t actually know Ronnie Vannucci; he was two years older than me. However, like everybody at Western High School, I knew his dad. His dad was famous.
Mr. V. was a substitute teacher, and he was the sub that everybody wanted. When you came into class and saw that the teacher was gone, you were happy. When you saw Mr. V. sitting at the desk instead, you were elated. First of all, Mr. V. cussed like a sailor…a drunk sailor. With Tourette’s. Not surprisingly, we teenagers loved it; the novelty never wore off.
Not to say that he was a bad sub, he was just very…relaxed. He certainly never followed any lesson plan, assuming one had been left for him. He usually just let the class have a free day. Teachers would return the next day, ask how we liked the sub, and everybody would give a glowing review. The teacher would then smile and nod, satisfied that education had proceeded unimpeded in her absence. And we all snickered into our flannel jackets.
In fact, I remember going back to Western for some student teaching observations when I was in college, but he was subbing for the class I was supposed to take notes on; he asked for the sports page from the newspaper I had with me, I gave it to him and left. Remember the traffic cop who gives Bruce Willis a ticket at the beginning of Die Hard? Mr. V. looked exactly like that guy.
That’s about all I can add to public knowledge about The Killers, other than this, Vannucci’s picture from his senior yearbook in 1994 (he’s in the middle of the bottom row):