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News » 5 Spot

Losing His Religion

Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn talks about controversial new video and what it means to be proud


  • Enrique Limón

In the video for Tyler Glenn's solo debut "Trash," it's clear the Neon Trees frontman is out for provocation (think: booze-slingin', secret-handshaking and altered portraits of Mormon church founders Glenn defaced himself). He's also out for answers from his former faith, and more importantly, closure given the church's stance on LGBTQ members. In a candid chat with City Weekly, the singer talked about the controversial vid, escapism in music and what it means to be proud.

It's been a few weeks since the release of the video for "Trash," the calm after the storm. What is your perception of it now?
I've heard so many positive remarks about the video and things I didn't consider, like, that it would help people or make people feel emotional. For me, it was literally an expression of one weekend of losing my faith completely, and then feeling completely high from the idea that maybe I can do something that I want to do and live my life. I was trying to encapsulate this really angry, confused moment in the video, and now I'm seeing that that's how other people felt and feel, and it's really, really inspiring to see it resonate in that way.

Did you have anything like that when you were a kid? Anything like the watershed moment this video can represent to youth now?
For me, it was always in music for sure, but I don't know if it was a watershed moment. I just always felt safe in music, so I guess that would be my response.

How involved were you in the iconography and the look of the video itself?
I was heavily involved. I sat with the director—and he's not LDS at all—and I was just trying to explain [that] this is something that went on and is still going on, I'm in it, and this is the expression I wanna make and this is what the record's about. I was very descriptive; I wanted to have it in a disciplinary council, a high council even, and have the real authentic, visceral experience. He took all that detail and turned it into a really cool art piece. I was stoked at what he turned it into.

What does the word Pride mean to you?
Pride is something I'm just now learning about. I've always had a problem with ... I always thought I was being authentic—and I think I was being authentic at the time—but this is the first time that I feel proud, loud and excited to rally for people that need to be rallied for. So, Pride to me is emotion, it's joy, it's passion, it's anger.