A worthwhile experience overall, though. Today's artist is one who achieved Top 20 status with the debut single of his group. This young man is called Tyler Glenn. After high school, he served a Mormon mission in Nebraska.
Tyler had known he was gay since he was six years old and had been living a closeted life for decades that choked his spirit and threatened his sanity. Like Glenn, the other three members of Neon Trees were raised Mormon. And while the band has no overt religious affiliation, it credits the Church of Latter-day Saints' strict ordinances against drinking and drugs — which the members have adopted as band rules — with helping its rise.
Glenn and Neon Trees guitarist Chris Allen were childhood neighbors in Murrieta, a San Diego suburb known for its large Mormon population and scenic vineyards — to this day, Glenn has a surfer-dude stare and proclivity for the word "stoked" that is straight-up Southern California. The second of four children born to a stay-at-home mom and a dad who sold medical devices, Glenn grew up loving Pop stars like Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul and taking ballet classes.
In seventh grade, he became curious about the Morrissey pictures on his Latino pals' folders, discovered the Smiths and transformed himself from choirboy to New Wave brat. He started listening to the New York Dolls and frequenting thrift stores, where he put together wild outfits that got him called "fag. Most other year-olds at Glenn's church, the Alta Murrieta Ward, would stand in front of the congregation and say a prayer over the sacrament on Sundays, but Glenn got stonewalled. Glenn papered his bedroom walls with images of Bruce Springsteen and sneaked out of the house to try the usual teenage temptations.
He had a girlfriend and says he was "in love with her, as far as I knew.
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When he left high school, Glenn did something that surprised even his parents: He announced he was doubling down on Mormonism and going on a two-year mission to convert people to the faith. Overnight, he went from a punk whose hair was slathered and spiked with Murray's pomade to a clean-cut proselytizer in a standard-issue suit. For two years, he lived as a hungry vegan in Hastings, Nebraska.
He rose at 6 a. He held on to his music dreams, though: Before he left for Nebraska, Glenn had gotten amped about continuing to write songs with Allen, who he says was "my other half," musically. It was , and the whole post-punk New Wave thing hadn't really come back yet. Devoting himself to God hadn't erased Glenn's attraction to men. A month after he moved back home, he finally gave in to his urges and went on his first gay date, nervously meeting the online hookup at a casino, where they had sushi.
Tyler Glenn - Wikipedia
In his early twenties, meeting men online was his only option. In , like many young Mormons seeking like-minded friends, Allen moved to Provo his day job: Telling a pool-hall owner they were the band scheduled to play that night, Glenn landed the group its first show, and Neon Trees became part of the small but active Provo music scene; bassist Branden Campbell and drummer Elaine Bradley joined soon after. Campbell knew drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. More breaks followed, including a major-label deal, which brought about their debut, Habits. Their first single, Animal, climbed to 13 on the Billboard Hot and 1 on the Alternative Songs chart.
All of its tracks were either written or co-written by Glenn. The album's opener was Sins of My Youth; Glenn managed to sneak his personal fears over coming out in it: Would you love me still if I were to confess.
That I had a little too much fun. Back when I was young.
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It was a hit on the US Alternative and Rock charts. The album's third single was Your Surrender. This was also a US chart hit, though not on the Hot In The Next Room also received a lot of airplay and was given a proper video.
Finally from the first album, here's Girls and Boys in School, a song that's great to dance to. Everybody Talks, released on December 20, , was the lead single to the band's second studio album, Picture Show It was their biggest hit, peaking at 6 in the US Hot It also peaked at 10 in Australia.
As his band grew, Glenn's torment about his sexuality — whether he'd make it public, or bottle it up for eternity — started to take its toll. His secret was compounded by an affection he'd developed for a man working closely with the band. After an especially rough night in Vegas, Campbell chewed out Glenn for his antics and Glenn fell apart. He didn't stop crying all the way to Utah, and when he got home, he decided everything simply needed to stop. Speaking with his new confidante, a Mormon woman, immediately gave him relief. As the record progressed, Glenn felt an overpowering itch to tell Pagnotta what he was really writing about.
The producer's response to his coming out still makes Glenn tear up. And of course then I wanted to tell the person next to me on the plane. Emboldened by the strides he'd made in therapy, as well as by his friend's reaction, Glenn started to test the waters. The first single from Pop Psychology the band's last album, released on April 22, , the chiming Sleeping With a Friend, is indeed about getting with a straight man.
It's one of their best songs, actually. I love the 80s vibe. But there's something sweet about kids from more or less the middle of nowhere getting their little piece of modern rock. The success and attention the band has achieved have been considerable.
But Bradley, who attended BYU, served as a full-time Mormon missionary in Germany and married her husband in an LDS temple, knows the importance of staying grounded, especially when it comes to faith and family. Bradley's beliefs and conversion story were recently featured in a video, released April 2, that was produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the "I'm a Mormon" campaign.
In the video, Bradley explains how she came to have a testimony and form her own relationship with God. I thought they did a really good job. Bradley's faith also received public attention earlier this year when bandmate Glenn announced he is gay in Rolling Stone magazine. The article identified Bradley as "the band's most devout Mormon" all four of the band members are members of the LDS Church.
Bradley told Rolling Stone, "I think the only anxiety for me comes from people assuming things because I'm religious or assuming things because he's gay. I worry about people not understanding that he's neither angry at the church nor distanced himself. Glenn has spoken positively about his Mormon upbringing and family, and Bradley appreciates that he hasn't chosen "one extreme or the other.
In addition to her "band family," Bradley and her husband, Sebastian, have one son, Bryce, who will be 2 in July. She calls family "extremely important. While Sebastian and Bryce often accompany Bradley on tour, it's not something that the family's busy schedule always permits.
With Bradley's commitment to the band, Sebastian takes on the responsibility of staying home with Bryce. Still, it's never easy spending extended time away from her family.