Imagine being on top of the world


The Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons has been touring like crazy since blowing up last year with the acclaimed album “Night Visions” and the hit song “It’s Time.”

But this Friday, lead singer-songwriter Dan Reynolds will return to Vegas on his only day off to DJ at Body English in the Hard Rock Hotel.

“I haven’t been home for basically about a year,” Reynolds says by phone. “It’ll be good to come home and to get family and friends to come out and dance the night away.”

Reynolds, a fourth-generation Las Vegan, says the band is incredibly grateful to have become so popular.

“It’s crazy, man,” he says, sounding kind of giddy. “To go from living on couches and eating burritos from Taco Bell — now to be at this point is very cool for us.”

Reynolds, 25, is touring by bus with his wife, Aja Volkman (of the band Nico Vega), and their 6-month-old daughter, Arrow (“the love of my life”).

“As she gets older, I’m sure we’ll show her some interesting videos and pictures,” Reynolds says.

National success “really is an adventure,” he says.

“It’s like living that movie, ‘Almost Famous.’ It’s surreal. You wake up every day in a new city. The whole tour is sold out. We couldn’t feel more blessed right now. It’s an artist’s dream.”

The band’s 2012 hit, “It’s Time,” has had a great run. It played during President Barack Obama’s inauguration. It was in the movie trailer for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and in TV ads and shows such as “Glee” and “Parenthood.”

But Reynolds was more excited that the band’s song “On Top of the World” was part of “FIFA 13,” the soccer video game, because he’s a longtime FIFA fan.

“ ‘FIFA 98’ was my jam, man. I would play that every single day,” Reynolds says.

“Everybody’s, like, ‘Oh what do you think about “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and blah blah blah?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, “FIFA!”  ’ Are you kidding me? ‘FIFA’ man!”

Reynolds says Imagine Dragons has worked very hard, but they also got lucky. “A ton of bands from Vegas deserve to have the success we’re having right now.”

But that Imagine Dragons album is great. He says the band’s rule is: Imagine Dragons produces songs only if they sound good as acoustic tunes sung to guitar or piano.

“If it’s not good with just chord progression and melody, it doesn’t deserve to be dressed up,” Reynolds says.

He finds inspiration in his favorite band, The Beatles.

“ ‘Hey Jude,’ one of my favorite songs of all time, and ‘Let It Be’ — those are just simple songs with perfect melody and message.

“So we’re always just trying to focus on our melody and chord progression.”

Reynolds plans to buy a house here to settle his family. He has high hopes for Vegas.

“Vegas has this new burgeoning art scene, which started with the First Friday event that I would go to and look forward to,” he says.

He’s extremely excited about downtown development of mom-and-pop shops and a planned dog park.

“I love the Beauty Bar. That was the first place we played. It’s places like that that keep Vegas alive, that keep the culture alive.

“To have more stuff like that, to have Vegas remodeled with forward thinking, is a huge step forward.”

Likewise, Imagine Dragons is “working hard to represent the city we love,” he says.

“Vegas is everything to me. All my family lives there,” he says. “We’ll do all we can to make Vegas proud.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.