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- Posted on Mar 1st 2010 5:10PM by Paula Whitworth
How did your band form?
Chris Allen and I moved to Utah together to play with some other guys. It didn't work out with those guys, and in 2007 Brandon and Elaine joined the band.
How did you come up with the band name?
When I was in high school, 10th grade, I think, I was sitting at a restaurant and it had these neon palm trees out front. I thought neon palm trees would be a great name for a band. I told Chris about it and he dropped the palm to make us Neon Trees. The weird thing is that years later when we met up with Brandon and I told him how I came up with the name, he told me his dad was the one that installed the neon palm trees. He lives in Vegas but worked as a contractor for a neon light company.
What are your musical influences?
Michael Jackson, Morrissey and Bruce Springsteen. What I've learned from Bruce Springsteen is the storytelling and the bravado he brings to the stage. Michael Jackson was a pop star; he was exciting to watch. He could come onstage and lift his hand and the crowd would go crazy, that's the kind of entertainer he was. Morrissey brings drama to his work and his show. People want to feel something, and that's what they get from listening to him.
Describe your sound in your own words.
If you want to put it in a genre, I guess you'd say punk rock. I've heard it called post-punk soul. It has the energy of a punk band and soul of R&B.
Who writes the songs?
Many of them start out as me on the piano, but it's a collaboration.
What emotion sparks your writing?
A lot is my obsession with wanting to stay young, not physically but the mindset. It's not about the drama, it's about staying true to the youth dreams and imagination.
What's up with your Web site? Who came up with the name, Fame is Dead?
It was the name of a blog I wrote. It was about creating your own fame; you don't have to be signed to a label. I think many have created their own fame without being on a label. I think friendships and your family circle are more important than fame. We want to rely more on creating what is in our hearts. I know as we grow we will be famous, but I don't rely on that. It comes from an organic place, honesty and truth, never about wanting to be famous.
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles for the songs, Stones for more exciting performances. I grew up at a time when the Beatles were, like, being pushed on youth. Their T-shirts were being sold at JC Penneys and I remember thinking, I don't want that. But now that I've listened to their music, I understand their staying power.
What is your biggest vice?
Well, a couple of years ago I kicked a lot of habits. I don't smoke or do drugs. I guess my vice is technology. I spend a lot of time searching on the Internet. I need to let go of my phone and computer. I like to watch movie trailers and follow their progress on the charts. I like watching Lady Gaga as an artist; she's very intriguing. I read music blogs and enjoy seeing new bands.
What's the craziest thing that's happened to you on tour?
I was groped once, pretty severe. I was wearing silver spandex pants and she grabbed me twice, right on my junk. I couldn't believe it had happened. My mother was at that show, in Vegas. It was crazy to be groped and not be able to do anything about it. I couldn't show I was angry or anything. It was a smallish venue and they didn't have enough security to do anything about it.
Paula Whitworth is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.