Imagine Dragons Frontman Dan Reynolds Talks Depression Struggle

By David Konow 11/14/17

“When I’m happy, I’m very happy. When I’m low, I’m so low, and [the band] have had to deal with that for years and years."

Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds
Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds

A few weeks before performing a benefit show for victims of the Vegas Strip shooting, Dan Reynolds, frontman for the band Imagine Dragons, has come forward to talk about struggling with depression.

Imagine Dragons, who hail from Vegas, put out their first album in 2012. They have sold 9 million albums since. Billboard reports that the band's song "Thunder" is currently number one on the Hot Rock Songs Chart.

But Reynolds had struggled with depression for a great deal of his life, and kept his suffering to himself. As Reynolds told CBS This Morning, “When I’m happy, I’m very happy. When I’m low, I’m so low, and [the band] have had to deal with that for years and years.”

And indeed, once the band was up and running, the grind of being on the road started to wear everyone down. Wayne Sermon, the band’s guitar player, said, “We went pretty hard and it was years on the road, not seeing our families not seeing our friends, and just sort of disconnecting from reality.”

The band took a much needed year-long break and returned with their third album, Evolve, featuring the lead single, "Believer," which deals with Reynolds' depression. “It’s about finally finding gratitude in my flaws, and my weakness, it has finally given me freedom.”

Referring to the song’s title, Reynolds adds, “It’s made me a believer in myself.”

In the chorus of the song, Reynolds sings that pain made him a believer (“You break me down, you built me up...”). In the video, he’s fighting with Dolph Lundgren, who played Stallone’s boxing adversary in Rocky IV, which clearly symbolizes the singer battling with his demons.

As Reynolds told Billboard: “The video depicts a man facing his inner self, the toughest critic of all, while paying homage to some of the classic movies we grew up with.”

By his own count, Reynolds has written hundreds of songs, which has been his release. “It’s honestly the most cathartic experience... it was always my way of expressing myself and now to be able to be doing it in a way that’s very honest and raw and vulnerable, and even to share it sometimes with what could be millions of people, I’ve found comfort in that, rather than fear... You can still be poetic, but I think it's important to be vulnerable and to be raw.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.