Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn: 'I'm Realizing I'm a Role Model'

Checking in with the Mormon singer who recently came out of the closet in Rolling Stone

Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees performs at Stubb's Bar-B-Q in Austin, Texas.
Merrick Ales/FilmMagic
June 7, 2014 10:35 AM ET

On a clear, crisp and hot night in Las Vegas, Neon Trees singer Tyler Glenn stood loud and proud before 1,200 fans and told them he is gay — not so much news anymore, since he publicly came out nearly two months ago in Rolling Stone, but an affirmation of who he is, live and in person. Several months after the Mormon singer's big announcement, Glenn says the response has been "interesting." 

Gay, Mormon and Finally Out: read our fully Tyler Glenn profile

"There was a real outpouring [of support] the day and the week it became public," he says. "And it was really kind and nice that a lot of Mormon people and leaders and friends of the family were really cool and chill and didn't give a second thought about it, which was surprising because I expected maybe they would be the people who works have a problem with it. And I actually got more guff from atheists saying that 'It's OK that you're gay, but you're still Mormon?  You still believe in that?' That was funny. That was unexpected."

The Mormon church has not formally said anything to Glenn, nor does he really expect it to. Still, Glenn, who on this Las Vegas night says he was having a "pity party" about his life before coming out of the closet, insists he didn't announce he was gay for anyone other than himself. It wasn't about his successful band. It wasn't about proving something to the Mormon church. It was all about him. But his place in pantheon of gay musicians isn't lost on him either.

"I don't think of myself as a role model but I'm realizing in many ways I am," he says after telling a story about a gay fan who recently told him that his music and his strength to announce his sexual orientation opened up dialogue with a sister she hadn't spoken to in years. 

All in all, Glenn has no regrets about his decision to come out. Currently touring in support of the group's album Pop Psychology, he said he still feels like he he's coming out every night during a moment in the show where he speaks from the heart about his struggles with his career and sexuality. 

"I think it's really cool and I don't mind talking about it," he said.  "It's something I'm not afraid of anymore."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »