During their years as a club band on the Las Vegas strip, Imagine Dragons covered more than 100 songs, by everyone from U2 to the Cure. For their upcoming arena tour, which kicks off on February 8th in Boise, Idaho, the band wants to step up its game, but also pay homage to their early days. The group ultimately chose to learn Rush's "Tom Sawyer."
"It's just an intimidating song," says frontman Dan Reynolds of the 1981 prog-rock classic. "It's so cool, because I found this whole new register. I've been taking additional voice lessons and figuring out how to tune into my upper range more. The band loves prog, so it's kind of their dream."
Imagine Dragons are currently riding high off their Saturday Night Live performance and a huge Grammy week; the band played "Radioactive" with Kendrick Lamar on both broadcasts and "Revolution" for the upcoming Beatles tribute show that airs this Sunday. "It was the most nervous I've ever been," says Reynolds of playing the song with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in the audience looking on. But apparently, Ringo loved it. "He said he was a fan and had our album, and gave me a kiss on my cheek," he says. "I will never wash my cheek again, probably."
The band are trying to keep the momentum going outside the live setting too, as they've slowly started working on the follow-up to Night Visions. They bought a house in Las Vegas which they're turning into a studio and Reynolds is currently making demos with music production program Ableton. "It's too early to say what the album is sounding like, but it's sounding different," he says. "One of my favorite singers is Harry Nilsson, who created beautiful pop melodies. But he did it in a different way, and that's what's been on my mind. I feel like we have a lot of maturing to do, as a band."
Watch Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar perform "Radioactive" on Saturday Night Live: