Neon Trees: Pop Psychology Tour with Smallpools
20 Market Pl., Baltimore
Friday, 8 p.m.
815 V St., N.W.
Sunday at 7 p.m.
Tyler Glenn, lead singer of indie-rock band Neon Trees, revealed to the world he was gay and Mormon via an article in Rolling Stone in March. His decision to be open about who he was came after a string of therapy sessions that led to the creation of Neon Trees’ third album “Pop Psychology.”
Now on the “Pop Psychology” tour, which runs through September and plays our region twice this weekend, Glenn took some time from his busy tour schedule in Los Angeles to talk to us about their new album and how it feels to be out.
WASHINGTON BLADE: You publicly came out in an article in Rolling Stone. But in Time magazine, you wrote in your own words about coming out to your dad. Why did you decide to not publicly come out in your own words?
TYLER GLENN: I guess I wanted to make it music sensitive. It’s about the record, my identity, finding myself in the last years and being comfortable with who I am. I thought it would be better than just Tweeting something. I felt like press would get more reach. I guess there are still people who don’t know I came out which is interesting. I felt like I got to put a lot of my own perspective in the story. I was really pleased with the way it was written.
BLADE: You were pleased with the way it was handled?
GLENN: I guess I was nervous about how the writer was gonna take my words and put them into a story. But I was really pleased. I loved that she came out for a few days and spent real time with me. I wanted to show her I have a real reverence and respect for my life. But at the same time I wasn’t going to live a double life anymore.
BLADE: Has the industry or your fans treated you any differently since coming out?
GLENN: No, maybe in a positive way I’ve noticed those kinds of things. More people have told me their connection to the music and I do sense a more tangible connection at the shows, in the crowd. I feel there’s more of a connection that way.
BLADE: How do you personally feel since coming out?
GLENN: It wasn’t something that I just found out recently. It was a matter of me getting comfortable, figuring out it was something that I needed to do. There were a lot of rough spots and I think being raised religiously that struggle was trying to understand my place in how I feel toward faith and also how I feel sexually. It’s been a fantastical weight that’s been lifted, which is great. I feel so comfortable just existing now. It was never like I was shy about dressing a certain way or dancing a certain way or being myself. But there was always that fear of explaining to people. I think once I got over that hump it’s been a nice comfortable situation. It helped me realize who the people are that are important in my life and the connection to friends and family has grown stronger as well.
BLADE: What does your Mormon family think about you coming out? And your career?
GLENN: They’ve always been positive and interested in my life. Very supportive of my decisions, not that they’ve always completely understood my choice of being in music and how I was going to get to a successful point but they were always along for the ride. I always felt that was an important part of success because I had a great support system. There hasn’t been anything negative from them. I had mixed thoughts because I know their faith was strong and I didn’t want to create that wedge. I was definitely mistaken in feeling that way.
BLADE: How does your Mormon faith affect the way that you view fame?
GLENN: I feel like I have a pretty healthy outlook on fame. I don’t think that has anything to do with my faith.
BLADE: A few songs on “Pop Psychology” are about your struggles with your sexual identity. When you wrote them how did you feel getting so personal when you weren’t publicly out yet?
GLENN: There was something in me that wanted to just be honest. I think I used the music first as a buffer zone. It was kind of like a safe way of coming out. I was never shy about things in songs in the past. I finally reached a point in therapy where I was really happy and confident and that was the last thing that I had left in my life that I had to quote unquote come to terms with. It was just something that I decided to write about openly and honestly at that moment and that’s what came out. I ended up telling my producer what some of the songs were about and he was so supportive and his reaction was very loving and one of excitement for me. I think that caused a reaction in me wanting to come out to more people and eventually come out publicly. So I really consider music that thing that sort of helps me and protected me in a way.
BLADE: What is the significance behind the title “Pop Psychology?”
GLENN: I love the ring it has to it. I think that because I started writing a lot of the songs while I was seeing my therapist I felt like that was an interesting concept for a record. I felt like a lot of songs being about finding love in the modern age and my own identity and what was going on in my mind at the time and trying to fix it, I just felt like visually it came to me as colorful, sleek modern images. Like pop art. I think it all just fits to me.
BLADE: Have you noticed a change in the type of audience you’ve been getting on this tour compared to previous tours?
GLENN: A lot of different age groups and families show up. Different types of people that you wouldn’t expect to like our music. There are really young kids and passionate fan girls who show up super early to the venue. I feel like we’ve always had a passionate fan base but we have seen the result of our hard work over the years. They’re no longer showing up out of curiosity but they’re showing up with T-shirts and signs made and that’s a really fun moment to look out and see that.