Imagine Dragons Discuss Their Success; Slay New York

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Imagine Dragon’s Dan Reynolds at the Feb. 23 sold-out show at Roseland in NYC. Photo/Jon Chattman

Lou Diamond Phillips is an icon in this business who unjustly hasn’t had a role he could sink his teeth into for years. That is, until now. In their music video for “Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons utilize the “La Bamba” and “Young Guns” star’s talents by casting him as the ruthless ring leader of an underground, illegal stuffed animal fight club. Don’t scroll back – you read that right and it may very well be Phillips’ finest hour. It’s like Pink Floyd used to say… “shine on you crazy Lou Diamond Phillips.” Well, they didn’t exactly say that, but we all know they should have. But, let’s refocus on the band whose talent extends far behind killer videos with a killer star.

Kicking the notion of “one-hit wonder” squaring in the cojones, the Las Vegas-based band, which consists of Dan Reynolds on vocals, guitarist D. Wayne Sermon, drummer Daniel “Z” Platzman and bassist Ben McKee, have followed up their hit “It’s Time” with the aforementioned “Radioactive,” which is tearing up alt-radio right about now and could match “It’s Time.” Speaking of which, that song is still in heavy rotation today and seemed to follow a similar path that fun’s “We Are Young” did last year. Like that feel-great song by the two-time Grammy winners, “It’s Time” first tore up alt-rock charts, then made an impression in Hollywood (it was played in the Perks of Being a Wallflowertrailer whereas “We Are Young” was performed on Glee, and gradually made its way to Top 40 charts. It’s all because pop isn’t a four-letter word anymore. We don’t live in a world where schmaltz and syrup drive that category. Sure, it still exists and sells but pop music is so wonderfully broad nowadays that there’s a place for folksy bands like The Lumineers, trainwrecks like Ke$ha, and everyone in-between.

Hours before the band took the stage for a sold-out show at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, I chatted with Imagine Dragons about non-stop touring, the success of their first singles (expect more – I’m banking on “Bleeding Out” and “Demons”) , and their full-length debut Night Visions. Watch. Listen. Love. Oh, and off camera, I made the guys promise to use Phillips in every one of their videos to come. That guy is a national treasure.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman’s “A-Sides Music” series features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I’m hoping this is refreshing.

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