Just imagine it: A guy vaults onto a First Friday stage. The voice is familiar; the song is pulse-pounding.
“I love First Friday,” said Imagine Dragons’ lead singer Dan Reynolds, calling from his Vegas home on a blazing summer afternoon. “A few weeks ago, my wife and three daughters decided to just do it. We stuck the twins in the double stroller and went downtown.”
He heard music in the distance — and Reynolds just couldn’t resist. “I jumped on stage and even did a little karaoke. I was totally undercover with my hoodie, and sang ‘Radioactive.’ People were like, ‘Gosh, that guy is good. He even sounds just like the real guy,’ ” he said, laughing.
“I love seeing culture in Vegas come together. Even better is the people coming together with the Knights and the Arts District. Vegas is my hometown … a really beautiful place,” he said.
Making it even better is “The Rise Up Gala” for the Tyler Robinson Foundation on Sept. 6 at Wynn Las Vegas. By the way, it will be the real guy performing with his band, Imagine Dragons, for an organization dedicated to strengthening families financially and emotionally as they cope with pediatric cancer.
Review-Journal: What is your idea of a beautiful Sunday?
Dan Reynolds: Sundays are just an ideal day for my family in Vegas (wife Aja Volkman, daughters Arrow, 7 and twins, Gia and Coco, 2). It’s mostly my three girls, my wife and I going to the park. We’ll shoot some hoops or just spend the day hanging out with friends. Vacation is home in Vegas for me. I have no desire to travel for quite a while, so we’re not going away on Sundays, but staying close to home.
You do lead vocals for Imagine Dragons, plus play guitar, piano and keyboards. But can you cook a good Sunday breakfast?
I can only make one thing, but I love making what I call my Dipping Eggs. It’s this simple thing. You basically cut out the middle of the bread, put it in a pan with some eggs and fry it up. I’m the dipping egg expert in my family. Otherwise, all I can say is my wife is an incredible cook, but I do make breakfast.
How has having three little girls changed your life?
People tell you that your heart changes when you have a child. It’s so true. My girls are so precious to me. They make my heart want to explode.
You’re about to be a new Dad again.
We have a boy on the way. My wife is due in early October and we’re pretty excited. I am excited to have a boy in the house although the girls are a little bummed. My 6-year-old cried when she found out it was a boy. She said, “A brother? Can’t you make it a girl!” I had to tell her that it was still going to be a boy.
The Tyler Robinson Foundation was created by Imagine Dragons and the Robinson family in 2013.
We met Tyler back in early 2010 when the band was playing small clubs. His brother reached out to me on Facebook, saying that they were coming to one of our shows. He said that Tyler was battling a rare form of cancer and that our song, “Demons,” meant a lot to him. I dedicated the song to him that night. We formed a beautiful relationship with Tyler and his family, and it was devastating to all of us when he passed in 2013. We just wanted to keep his legacy alive. We created this foundation to support families dealing with childhood cancer emotionally, but also financially, to offset out-of-pocket costs — and there are so many expenses. We’ve raised over $7 million. It warms my heart to see people in Vegas come out each year for our gala.
You also go out and visit the kids with cancer.
Oh man, nothing puts your life into perspective like meeting a child with cancer. There have been times that I’ve been road weary from work and I make those visits. Nothing makes me feel more alive and purposeful than those visits. You see their courage in each face. These kids won’t quit and they’re in the midst of the hardest trial of their lives.
You have the greatest hashtag — #slaycancerwithdragons.
I wish I could remember who came up with it. We were sitting in a board meeting one day trying to come up with a catchy hashtag. That one really worked out.
Has cancer touched your family?
Just last year, I lost my sister-in-law to a battle with cancer. It was devastating. They have seven kids. I was with her in the hospital when she passed. It was absolutely heartbreaking. And it makes me that much more dedicated to bring relief to families. … If we can give them even a small bit of emotional support or financial relief, well, that’s everything.
You’ve also been incredibly supportive of the LGBTQ community in Vegas and beyond with your documentary, “Believer.”
The goal is to destigmatize, give support, love and a safe space through music and raising money through all these incredible foundations that do life-saving work. I get countless emails and letters now saying how much it has meant to that person. I’m just grateful to be a part of it.
When can we expect a new Imagine Dragons album?
We’re all taking a little time to reset. There is something good that happens when we take time off. We get to new places in life and it creates new music.
Any advice for Las Vegas bands looking to break out?
It’s totally possible. It’s been interesting to see the arts scene in Vegas really flourish over the last decade with incredible artists. And you can break out. Panic! at the Disco did it. The Killers did it. We did it.
When did you first know that you had made it.
One of the most emotional moments for me was playing to 200,000 people in Brazil at Rock in Rio. Having 200,000 people sing along to every song was pretty powerful.
What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever been recognized?
The urinal. Typically, I’ll be like, “Yeah, it’s me. Can we just wait until after the urinal visit to take that selfie or sign something?”
Why live in Vegas? You could be in a mansion in California.
I was born and raised here … and I love Vegas. I just enrolled my daughter in school. We’re staying put. We were in L.A. for a while and made the move back. Vegas is home. Grasshoppers and all.
(To donate, go to trf.org.)