When pop-rockers Neon Trees took the stage last week at the Russian Lady for our Acoustic Cafe, the first confession made by lead singer Tyler Glenn was his high school aversion to sports shoes. But nowadays, he’s on stage rocking some killer purple kicks that he describes as fitting “like a giant sock.”
It was immediately clear that this band loves to have a great time and enjoy entertaining their fans. A few audience members submitted questions, the first coming from Barbara who wanted to know what inspires them to create music.
Tyler answered, “This last album, [Pop Psychology] a lot of it was inspired by me and my friends being thirty and still single.” The audience laughed as Tyler expressed his apathy for dating apps, “It’s like a GPS and then they kinda stalk you, so that’s no fun.”
Likely an apropos album title, he shared that Pop Psychology is also about identity as being in therapy over the last couple of years has brought him into a “better, more well-adjusted place.” And the crowd roared when we asked who is loving the album!
The next question was asked by a guy named Scully, and naturally The X-Files references started flying. Percussionist Elaine Bradley pointed out that her sister looks just like Gillian Anderson, who played Dana Scully on the show. Scully wanted to know where they came up with their band’s name.
The revelation came many years ago while they were at west coast fast food chain, In & Out Burger. Tyler explained that the neon palm tree lights struck a chord with the addendum that they “may or may not have been on something” and that particular part of the story isn’t always included. He said, “We’ve told this story now for how many years, how we got the band name, so now we’re slowly revealing new facts.” But he quickly reminded everyone that they’re now drug-free and they don’t advocate substance abuse. He says it was more about “the silly nature of being a teenager.”
“Basically, we’re a fast food band,” he joked.
Wizza, a proud fan standing front and center, was curious about the band’s interest in video games. They immediately turned to the crew’s gaming guru, guitarist Chris Allen.
“My favorite serious game? Probably Skyrim. And then my favorite non-serious game is probably Planets vs. Zombies.”
Tyler jokingly declared his love for Super Mario 3, while Elaine said she favors Jewel Quest. Bassist Branden Campbell took it totally Throwback Thursday gaining the heartiest reaction for his favorite simple classic, Centipede. “Branden is from another time,” Tyler affectionately added.
The conversation then turned to Sue, who enjoys skiing at Powder Mountain in Utah and wants to know if the band skis or boards.
“We all live in Utah and no we don’t,” Tyler shyly admitted. Elaine said she used to but touring kinda puts a damper on it. And in the downtime between tours, she feels it’s not worth running the risk of injury and adds, “Don’t ever be in a professional band – it ruins your fun.”
But as the band then launched into another song, it was clear that the stage is their happy place. Who needs video games or skiing when you have Neon Trees to put on a show? We had as much fun as the band, even though we weren’t wearing purple sneakers that felt like socks!