Radio Feedback: Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn Says His Mom Made His First Time Even Better

By Shannon Carlin

One thing Tyler Glenn would like you to know about his mom is that she “makes everything better and bigger.” This includes, but not limited to, the first time he heard his band Neon Trees on the radio.

It was 2009, right around Christmas and Glenn was back home in California. The frontman was driving around with his mom and dad looking at the Christmas lights on the nearby houses when all of sudden his band’s song “Animal” off their 2010 debut, Habits, came on the radio. His mom got so excited, she started screaming.

Related: Interview: How Mental Illness & Sex Inspired Neon Trees’ New Album

“It was almost That Thing You Do! moment,” Glenn told, citing the 1996 film, directed by Tom Hanks about a little band from Erie, PA. “It was cool because I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be around anyone else when I’m like having proud life moments cause she definitely makes it all much more important.”

With radio hits like “Animal” and “Everybody Talks,” off 2012’s Picture Show, under his belt, you would think Glenn would be used to turning up the radio and hearing his voice. But he says even now he doesn’t consider Neon Trees a “radio band.”

“For me, I think radio bands just seemed like something that would happen down the line,” he explained. “Like you’d have to work towards it for a while.”

Neon Trees were one of those bands that earned a hit on its very first single, which has led some people to think Glenn and his three bandmates–guitarist Christopher Allen, bassist Branden Campbell and drummer Elaine Bradley–came out of nowhere. As Glenn makes clear though, they’ve been a band since 2005, booking their own shows and touring out of an old van.

But, even still he was surprised over how quickly the public took to the quartet’s first single. Especially after seeing how long it took some of his favorite indie bands to get their shot on the radio.

“Like I remember Death Cab for Cutie, like loving them forever. It took like three or four albums for them to really break,” Glenn said. “So we were like, ‘Oh we’ll write our best stuff and hope for the best.'”

“The fact that it happened,” he added in regards to their radio success. “It made us sort of realign our focus. But at the heart of it, it’s still the same band. We’re still the same dorks just writing what we like.”

Neon Trees’ upcoming record, Pop Psychology is out April 22.


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