Imagine Dragons came together through grassroots efforts. The wildly popular pop-rock band went through a series of lineup changes before landing on the one that made them a superstar act, currently consisting of lead singer Dan Reynolds, guitarists Wayne Sermon and Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman. The band’s origins are planted in a pair of cities in the western part of the U.S. where they grew into one of the biggest bands in the world.
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The Origins of Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragon’s roots are straddled between two important places: Las Vegas, Nevada, and Provo, Utah. Frontman Reynolds met original drummer Andrew Tolman in the latter city when they were students at Brigham Young University. They soon recruited fellow students Andrew Beck, Dave Lemke and Aurora Florence.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the group won a Battle of the Bands contest at the university in 2008. After Beck and Florence left the band that same year, Tolman reached out to Wayne Sermon. The American Fork, Utah, native was a guitarist who’d just graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Tolman also brought his wife Brittany Tolman on board to sing background vocals and play keyboard. After Lemke departed, Tolman recruited Sermon’s friend and fellow Berklee graduate Ben McKee on bass guitar.
“Definitely, Utah is our starting point,” Reynolds said in a 2009 interview with the Tribune. “We love Utah, and we love our fans.”
“It will always be home for me,” added Sermon of his native state.
Not long after forming, the band migrated from Provo to Reynolds’ hometown of Las Vegas where they cut their teeth in local clubs like Beauty Bar and Bunkhouse, releasing their self-titled debut EP in 2009, followed by Hell and Silence in 2010. Both EPs were recorded at The Killers’ studio in Las Vegas known as Battle Born Studios where Elton John Motley Crue and B.B. King have also cut albums and songs.
“I remember sitting in the tiny home that we’d rented out together in Las Vegas,” Reynolds recalled to ABC News. “We had a whiteboard that we purchased, and we were writing down band goals, and this was over a decade ago. And one of the first goals was to be a global band.”
That dream became reality over the past 15 years, as Imagine Dragons has charted worldwide hits “Believer,” “Thunder,” “Whatever it Takes” and “Radioactive,” the latter of which won them a Grammy Award in 2014 for Best Rock Performance. With more than 75 million albums sold worldwide, Imagine Dragons is one of the best-selling music acts in history.
Photo Credit: Eric Ray Davidson/Courtesy of The Oriel