By June 4, 2015 Read More →

Neon Trees – Speaking Personally Interview

Neon Trees Speaking Personally
By Efren Martinez

I haven’t had this much fun with a band since Fitz and The Tantrums. Their 80’s boudoir flair got my attention. Their music makes me dance, and their courage is well, encouraging. Just recently, I spoke with a member of the band Neon Trees, Chris Allen, by phone to bring this interview to The ModestoView. The interview took 15 minutes and Chris gave me what I most appreciated for any interview: more than one-line answers.

MV: (Efren) What inspired the band to name their new LP Pop Psychology?

NT: (Chris) Just before going into the studio, the band had taken a break because the lead singer, Tyler Glenn, was having a personal issue and decided to see a psychologist. This is what inspired the “Psychology” part. As far as the “Pop” in the title, many of us grew up with our parents listening to 80’s music. We’ve always rode the line between alternative and pop and we kind of wanted to make a nod to the pop acts that Tyler and the rest of us are a big fans of from the 80’s. Sometimes you hear the word “pop” and you cringe, but the pop that we’re referring to is some of the stuff like Michael Jackson, Geneses.

MV: Since much of the band’s style has an 80’s flair to it, what furthermore attracted the band to grasp that angle?

NT: The music primarily played a big part of what we grasp the most. Some of the fashion did have a bit to do with it, but mostly it was the music. I can remember my parents buying me my first CD at the store; it was The Pet Shop Boys. Another band that I enjoyed from when I was a kid was REM. The whole experience of the music back then including the stereo sound was exciting and it really impacted me.

MV: What kind of experiences have the band encountered from city to city since Tyler Glenn decided to come out and is still known to lovingly practice his Mormon faith?

NT: Over all very positive. All lot of fans come up to us during the meet & greet and thank Tyler for coming out. I guess being more of a social figure, it was a bit risky. To come out and not be afraid of who you are takes a great deal of courage because you run the risk of people attacking you because of your sexual preference. It’s really been positive, even from the Mormon faith.

MV: With that said, does the band have any plans on playing a huge show in Utah or maybe Idaho? The reason I ask, is because I understand the band Neon Trees originated from Utah and these two states are also known to have some of the largest population of those who practice the Mormon faith.

NT: Yes, we are actually playing a huge community show here in Utah at a baseball stadium later this month. Even though our band originated in Utah, we are actually from all over the place. Tyler and I are from southern California, Brandon’s from Vegas and Elaine’s from Chicago. We all met up here and it was Tyler who hooked up with me while I was in school here. He liked the way I played and asked me to join in.

MV: I’ve been doing some research and I guess the band’s encountered some uncomprehending stares because of their style or possibly because Tyler decided to come out publicly. What would you like to say, if anything, to those people who may not understand what many of us so much enjoy from your music/band?

NT: Even though the Mormon church has fought gay marriage, I don’t understand it. This was kind of the thing that actually made me leave the Mormon church. It was like the final straw, their stance about gay marriage. Ya know, I don’t think anyone can judge anyone and say that they know what God thinks. I think if there is a God, we can let him be the judge. Until then I think we should just love each other and treat each other equally.

MV : The song “Sleeping With a Friend” has been one of your biggest hits. What’s your take on why that is and would that maybe co-insight with you, or any other member of the band from a personal experience?

NT: Tyler has talked a little bit about it at live shows, that it was about someone that he used to be friends with, and he’s not anymore, and I think that’s the risk we run. I guess you’re flirting with danger when you try to have a sexual relationship with a friend because one of you is going to feel stronger than the other and it can work out and when it works out, it’s great. But it is dangerous, and it is from a personal experience; but he will always say that it’s a cautionary tale.

MV: Is there any particular song that Neon Trees enjoys playing more than any other songs and if so, why?

NT: There is a song that we are actually going to be pulling out on the next tour, it’s a really fun song that we haven’t played in a while. It’s from our last album “Picture Show” and it’s called “Teenage Sound.” It’s a lot more punk rock than any of our other stuff. It’s just high energy all the way through and I love it when Tyler gets, uh.. ornery. This song talks about all the instant celebrity and the lower standards that we have for fame and that fame is an imaginary thing which touches on art and hustling. It’s a bit aggressive, we don’t always get to play it, but we’re going to be able to play it on our next tour.

MV : Tell me what your fans can expect on June 9th at your show in San Francisco at The Fillmore.
NT: Well, we are going be digging up some old songs. We’ll be playing some new ones. But this isn’t the Pop Psychology tour, this is a Neon Trees tour that will have a nice variety of songs from all 3 of all our albums. We’re really excited to be playing some of these songs that we haven’t played live in a long time. We’re looking forward to having a really good time with all our fans in San Francisco.

MV: What is next for the band?

NT: We have been in the studio a little bit lately. We just released our “Songs I Can’t Listen To” video. We’re actually working on some other stuff too, but we don’t have any plans to release anything else right now. We’re looking at finishing out this tour and then go from there.
Neon Trees gives to me a great deal of what I’d like the world to be: fun, exciting, courageous, acceptance, love for one another and a danceable boudoir flair. The fact that Tyler Glenn came out really makes me love this band even more. I also appreciated that Chris was able to share with me some of the most personnel details about the band during this interview. As an entertainer myself of some sorts, I can relate to the ups and downs that many of us in the industry may have to go through. A professional recording star is no different from many of us; we love and mess up just like the rest of us, and at times some of us may need to seek advice from Pop Psychology.

On June 9th Neon Trees will be staging at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Look for their latest LP release “Pop Psychology” that’s out now. It features 10 amazing tracks and can be purchased anywhere good music is sold.
Efren Martinez
Band Members
Tyler Glenn // Vocal/Synth
Branden Campbell // Bass
Elaine Bradley // Drums
Chris Allen // Guitars
Prove Utah

Record Label
Neon Trees “Songs I Can’t Listen To”

Purchase Neon Trees latest release “Pop Psychology” here
Live 105 Presents
Neon Tress
Fillmore San Francisco June 9th 2015



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About the Author:

I answered the call back in 1983; mixing Music and Entertainment with an eccentric European style has always come easy for me. In the early 80's I was the Disc Jockey for most of the high school dances in Modesto. In the late 80's I found myself in Hollywood working as a dancer and sound engineer for various professional recording industries. In 1990 my wife of 25 years and I started (The Quake Mobile DJ ®) which was seeded from San Francisco's 1985, The Quake, radio station that only lasted a short while on the air. 26 years later The Quake Mobile DJ is bigger & better than ever in the Entertainment industry. Real-Estate, photojournalism, event promoter, saving animals, travel and fitness are a few other of my interests. I also enjoy motivational speaking to children and to those who are struggling with addiction. In my life, I have always been a very direct person and once I see a goal I won't quit till I've achieved it. But out of all of the above I feel in my heart that the best inspiration in my life is my wife and my love for the faith that I practice. Phil 4:20