Most anyone familiar with Imagine Dragons knows that way back when, Dan Reynolds launched the folklore that the band name is an anagram of a favorite phrase which holds positive meaning for all of the members of the group. Search on “Imagine Dragons Anagram”, and you’ll find a plethora of sites claiming that they have identified the actual phrase – most all of which are laughable. So far, so good – probably the closest thing to reality transpires in their music video “On Top of the World”, which, at 34 seconds into the video, a dingy green VW beetle with the bumper sticker in the side window with the words “Ragged Insomnia” appears, which just so happens to be a complete anagram for Imagine Dragons. Whether or not it is the real deal, or the band just wants to fuck with its fans, is the stuff of legend.
Regardless, ID has come a long way in a short period of time. In interview after interview, Reynolds claims that they were one of the lucky ones who happened to be in the right place at the right time. But in reality – they made their own luck, just like any other grinder band. They paid their dues; they played those clubs where 10 people showed up – not to see them perform, but because there was a buy one / get one deal on mixed drinks. They hit the road – drove a lot further and a lot longer than was necessary; far away from their roots in Provo. That effort paid off after they moved to Vegas – they were called in as a replacement act for Train when lead singer Pat Monahan fell sick. ID performed in front of 26,000 at the Bite of Las Vegas festival in 2009; after that, rave local media reviews across town launched them to the next level. ID’s second released single, ‘Radioactive’, put them on the map worldwide – hitting #1 on the “Alternative” billboard chart, and the rest is history.
So how does one improve on perfection? The band is using their success and gifts to bring attention to those in need…. ID front man Dan Reynolds recently participated in Don Argott’s ‘Believer’, a 2018 documentary focusing on LGBT+ youth in the Mormon church; he meets with parents of those youth who took their own lives because of their rejection by the church; he also talks with LGBT+ youth who have been able to successfully steer their lives through the divergence and conflicts of their religion and sexuality – providing hope for other youth and their families to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
So what’s in a name? While the anagram mystery may never be revealed by the band, possibly there are some clues in some of the quotes that are attributed to the band via lyrics, tweets, and interviews….:
“Don’t get too close – it’s dark inside….. It’s where my demons hide….”
“….but innocence is gone…. ….and what was right is wrong….”
“If I told you what I was, would you turn your back on me? And if I seem dangerous, would you be scared….?”
“Oh, I shot, shot, shot – a hole through every single thing that I loved….”
“I’m taking a stand to escape what’s inside me….”
“This is my Kingdom Come”
“You’re woven in my soul; I need to let you go…..”
“I raise my flags, don my clothes – It’s a revolution, I suppose…..”
“Sometimes if you’re quiet about something, you’re an activist for something you aren’t…” – Dan Reynolds
“There was nothing more I wanted to do than to see my dad react well to my music. I still do. I send him my demos all the time.” – Dan Reynolds
“But I really believe you don’t do music because you want to. You do it because you have to.” – Wayne Sermon