Not all bands that form at a young age stick together, although this is not the case for Queen, The Doors and Greenday. Some bands took a little longer to find their feet and also to find the right combination of band members.
When your bassist only wants to play grooving bass lines, and the rest of the band wants to break into the pop/rock scene, you may find yourself swopping and changing band members for a few years before you find the perfect match.
This was exactly the case for Imagine Dragons which broke into the music world back in 2008. If you look at the founding members, there will only be one name that matches the list of current members.
Indi-Rock college band
Dan Reynolds and Andrew Tolman started the band Imagine Dragons back in 2008 while attending Bringham University. At the time they were classified as an Indi-Rock band and they were appearing at small gigs around Las Vegas.
The band hit its big break when the lead singer of Train was unable to perform in Las Vegas due to illness. Talk about being thrown into the deep end. They went from being the opening act at small events to headlining for more than 26,000 people!
Unfortunately, the original group of five did not stay together for very long. But by 2012 Imagine Dragons officially became the band that we know and love today. Dan Reynolds is the only one of the original five to continue with the band and bring it to its chart-topping status.
How do they all know each other?
The initial band members all knew each other from university. Once the original members started dropping off, Reynolds needed to find ways to keep the music alive. Luckily, he had an old high school friend, Wayne Sermon, who could play an epic riff on a guitar.
Sermon later invited fellow Berklee Alumni, Daniel Platzman and Ben Mckee, who became the drummer and bassist of Imagine Dragons respectively.
The best part of this was that they all knew each other before having to work with each other. Not only that but they all had similar interests and were willing to relocate to Las Vegas permanently to pursue their collective dream for the band.
Imagine Dragons flew relatively under the radar for quite a few years, only really making international waves in 2012 with the release of their single “Its Time.” This opened the gates for their next chart-topping songs “Radioactive” and “Demons”
The success of the song ‘Radioactive’ was unprecedented for a band that was labeled best up-and-coming band. Not only did it gain them that title but it was also titled the biggest rock hit of the year by Billboard.
The band has released three albums and from that, they have won awards from every angle, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, Grammy Awards, and they have been nominated for more on countless occasions in a variety of different genres.
They never gave up
The band is a shining example of persistence. Reynolds was not willing to give up on music. Once he found the right combination of band members, their success was unstoppable and still is today.
They have chart-topping music in almost every country with songs like “Thunder” and “Believer” blaring out of speakers at every party or sporting event. Thanks to their international success they have managed to go on world tours as well.
The latest of their tours was the ‘Evolve’ world tour, which is particularly significant considering how many times the band had to evolve to get to where it is today.
Imagine Dragons has even managed to break into the movie business. Their song “Sucker for Pain”, which was released as part of a soundtrack, is now the song most associated with blockbuster film Suicide Squad. The band also appears on the soundtracks for Me Before You and Passengers.
A lesson in persistence and growth can be learned from this ever-changing, ever-growing band. It grew from humble college roots and now has sold over 12 million albums worldwide.
Finding the right match, the right sound, and the right message is all it takes to go from Zero to Hero. For all the startup bands out there, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Find your people and make it happen, no matter the time or cost or effort.
Make sure to stop back next month and check out the final article in this five-part series: Coldplay: Inspiring Stories About Famous Musicians and Bands Who Started to Perform in College