Neon Trees returns to Murrieta, Calif., for benefit concert, hasn't forgotten roots

By Kathryn Skaggs

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, July 12 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

While Neon Trees would never call itself a Mormon band, all are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served full-time missions for the LDS Church.

That shared history has helped the band remain grounded in what can be a crazy industry.

“Everyone in the band was either raised Mormon or converted," Allen said. "Since we all have that common background, it was easy to decide that drugs and alcohol wouldn't be a part of Neon Trees' routine.

"Being as busy as we are, if substance abuse became part of the picture, it would be impossible to keep up the work ethic we've established. And we like setting a good example as well.”

"I consider myself extremely blessed to have been brought up the way I was, considering the type of person I am," Glenn said via email. "I guess I'm a questioner, and have a rebel spirit in my blood — but I also have a fantastic set of parents and a great family, and ever since I was young I have always appreciated different walks of life, cultures, paths and choices. But I also have a very spiritual reverence that is ingrained in me. It's helped me stay afloat in a sometimes chaotic industry."

Allen also expressed his appreciation for those closest to him.

"Family has always been important," he said. "They have always supported me in whatever interests I've pursued. They have always offered advice. Sometimes the advice was to maybe think about college and a traditional career path, but they always have the best intentions."

Once the band started having success, Allen said it was a real relief for his parents. "They were already happy that I was doing what I loved, but they worried I'd never be able to support my own family; or myself for that matter."

This sense of family and familial relationships has also carried over to the way band members look out for each other.

"None of us meddle in each other’s lives and choices," Glenn said via email. "But we also have a family sense and will definitely call one another out if their choice is hurting them. I think all in all, there is a respect that I don't know if you always find in a successful rock band."

It has been a long journey for Neon Trees, full of hard work, highs and lows, but the band members were finally able to give back to the town where it all began.

"I loved the whole night," Glenn said via email. "I loved seeing faces from the valley — that I've seen from either school, church or the town in general — come out as real fans of the band.

"It makes me feel like I've done something really impressive, maybe even more so now because of the support on such a local level. I don't even know most of them that showed, on a personal level, but it felt like the band and the audience were very in key with one another that night."

"The cool thing about Neon Trees playing in Murrieta," Robbie Parks, concertgoer and friend of Allen, observed, "is that they have not forgotten their roots."

For more about Neon Trees' Vista Murrieta Benefit Concert, see the Press-Enterprise, the local newpaper, at PE.com.

Kathryn Skaggs is passionate about writing. Her personal blog is at wellbehavedmormonwoman.blogspot.com and she regularly shares her thoughts about Mormonism, traditional marriage and some current events related to her faith.

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