Wayne "Wing" Sermon of Imagine Dragons on Being a Mormon Rock Star

Categories: Interviews

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Imagine Dragons

Even though Imagine Dragons have been playing music for a little over four years, the band's meteoric rise to the top of the charts seems to have occurred over a much shorter time. Hailing from Las Vegas, the band plays unapologetically play infectious, radio-friendly alternative rock.

From a tour stop in Sante Fe and in anticipation of shows Friday and Saturday night at the South Side Ballroom, guitarist Wayne "Wing" Sermon was kind enough to talk to DC9 about how his Mormon faith jibes with the rock and roll lifestyle, and the reasons behind his band's relatively quick path to success.

How did you get your nickname?

I got that at one of our first shows. It was kind of funny. Our manager was introducing us and he called out Wayne. It was a really loud room. Everyone thought he called me wing. And it just stuck.

You guys have been together less than five years and success has come relatively quickly. Has success come too quick?

Honestly, for us, it has been kind of perfect. If we would have any success any earlier, I think it would have been detrimental. We have played our share of small clubs and half empty rooms. Being in the grind really makes you appreciate everything. Three years of that was good for us. Now, these past few months have been kind of crazy. Things have just sort of snowballed.

What do you think started the snowball?

I think for us, it was a combination of things. It wasn't just one thing. It has been a positive thing, a matter of many things being in the right place. I certainly think that there were breaks we had as a band. We were at this festival in Las Vegas the lead singer of Train was supposed to headline and he got sick. It was Pat Monahan and he never cancels shows. I think it was swine flu. He had to cancel that one and the promoters were on the hook for somebody. The promoter called us and we filled in for Train at this festival and got to play in front of thousands of people. It was a big break for us early on. There have been a lot of little things along the way that have helped us.

Even though you live in Vegas, are all of the band members from Utah?

Yes, I was born and raised there. I really love Salt Lake. I was raised about thirty minutes south of there.

Did all of you guys attend BYU?

Everyone but me went there. I went to the Berklee School of Music. I was from that same area in Utah, but I never went to school there.

Editor: The band's management informs us that only lead singer Dan Reynolds attended BYU, and he didn't graduate from the school. The rest of the band went to Berklee. There seems to have been some confusion in the conversation.

Are you LDS?

Yes I am.

Are LDS and rock and roll music contradictory ideas?

You kind of think so in your mind. For a lot of people, it might have been more difficult, but for us, it has been easy to do both. Everyone in the band is open-minded. For us, it hasn't been an issue. I think you surround yourself with the things you want to be surrounded with. For us, it's always about the music. That's always been primary for us. Some things have been challenging, but I think, for the most part, things have been basically easy.

But aren't some Mormons against drinking coffee and eating chocolate?

There are a lot of different kinds of Mormons. There are people who are very orthodox and there are people who aren't. It's different for everybody. It's always a personal decision. It's always what you are willing to do at the level you're willing to do it. It is a personal choice.



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15 comments
2013602
2013602

Whatever. Their music is, like, AMAZING so who cares? 

2013602
2013602

I'M a mormon, and I have NEVER heard of the "Don't eat chocolate" thing. Maybe that's just in Salt Lake or something, I don't know. I just think that that is kind of weird. Course, it might just be that we're just not as rightous where I live as they are in Salt Lake. ;) 

williamthorup
williamthorup

great article! Practicing Mormon here and I thought the questions were respectful and encouraged thoughtful responses.  Well done! LOVE IMAGINE DRAGONS!

monzter477x
monzter477x

People worry a lot about LDS. I'm not LDS. The Words of Wisdom, when written said  "Hot Drink" meaning coffee or tea (stimulant) in the day. People don't ask other rockers. oh what's it like to be  Baptist, Catholic or Jewish.  I don't care if they wear holy undergarments, drink coffee, tea and smoke cigs or weed. It's about the music! 

DrDaveyJones
DrDaveyJones

Good interview.  They make great music, and they seem like good guys.  The interview wasn't about coffee, chocolate or magic underwear (FYI:  a description that is a bit offensive to Mormons) or the nature of God.  It was about the band.  

But since it was brought up...  Practicing Mormons don't drink coffee.  In general, Mormons are asked to follow what is commonly called the "Word of Wisdom," which is basically just things to do (like eat good food) and to not do (like drink coffee) to take better care of yourself.  You would think that what to do and to not do would be obvious to everyone, but judging by the way people look and feel these days, I'm not so sure.  Everyone knows that you're better off without the sugar (dark chocolate seems to have some good qualities), but chocolate isn't actually part of the Word of Wisdom.  In the end, everyone--Mormon or not--has to decide whether or not to take care of his/her own body, mind, soul, etc.

Peace.

jppopo
jppopo

did you really state that Mormons aren't allowed to eat chocolate? That is absolutely not true. Terrible journalism do your homework before you say stupid things like that.

2013602
2013602

@DrDaveyJones Thanks for giving the ground rules of mormon religion. It seems like the majority of people here aren't mormon.

darrylrs
darrylrs

As someone who lived in Salt Lake City for 5 years, I can tell you that I knew many Mormons who did not eat chocolate due to caffeine issues. Wayne acknowledge as much in this interview when he stated he was orthodox. At least I failed to ask he if he wore the magical underwear or believed that God is an actual person residing on another planet.

LDSRevelations
LDSRevelations

@jppopo So he makes one error and this is terrible journalism? Turns out not every non-Mormom knows the ins and outs of the Word of Wisdom. Or is this more of a reflection of your own defensiveness. 

jppopo
jppopo

@darrylrs

What is with the "at least" at the beginning of your last sentence? Those are things that mainstream LDS members actually believe in and are a part of LDS doctrine. Abstaining from coffee is another. Consuming chocolate is not a Part of LDS doctrine and is not part of mainstream LDS practice. You just threw that in there to try to get some interesting reaction out of Wayne but he answered calmly.

What are you implying with that statement? It sounds like you are making fun of others beliefs.

You also started that question in the interview with the word “but” which implies that not drinking coffee or eating chocolate are contradictory with rock and roll. Is that in the rock and roll rule book? 

beeftastic
beeftastic

@darrylrs I have lived among mormons my entire life and have yet to know someone that abstains from chocolate due to caffeine content. The majority of people that don't eat chocolate probably do so to avoid fat and sugar, not caffeine. I'm not telling you what you did or didn't experience but you probably misunderstand peoples motives. The LDS church has no stance on caffeine. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-news--getting-it-right-august-29

If you actually want to make this journalism thing work out for you, you'll be better served by attempting to be accurate as opposed to attacking the responses of readers, that is just juvenile.

robin.b.westover
robin.b.westover

@Kiernan_Maletsky @jppopo Just so you all know, I and many of my friends, Mom, mother in law, Grandma and great grandma (all devout Mormons) would die with out our chocolate.  LOL That actually was a funny comment.  "Don't drink coffee or eat chocolate".  @Andypudding don't lump us Mormons all together, I for one am not hypersensitive and hopefully not insulting. 


I thought the whole thing behind Rock and Roll was there was no rules so how could there be a rule book?



Kiernan_Maletsky
Kiernan_Maletsky moderator

@jppopo Darryl wasn't trying to be flippant about Mormonism -- he was making a broad point about all faith. Though perhaps the tone didn't quite come across. That is certainly a downfall of online discourse, and on behalf of the section here I really do apologize if you were offended. That wasn't the intent. 

AndyPudding
AndyPudding

@jppopo I've learned a couple things about Mormons from your comments: They don't drink coffee, they do eat chocolate, and they are hyper defensive and insulting.

raynesrhyse
raynesrhyse

umm... I'm just going to put in my two cents here... I'm an atheist now - but I served an lds mission... on which, my mission president handed out a bunch of papers which had quotes from prophets and apostles about how you shouldn't have caffeine... ( missionaries were drinking Pepsi, and it apparently had become a big enough deal for the president to approach the topic)

So while it might not be Mormon doctrine, there is a reason why people would believe that Mormons don't drink OR EAT caffeine...

I thought this was a great interview by both parties

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