Openly Gay Neon Trees Lead Singer Tyler Glenn Trashes His Mormon Upbringing In New Single [VIDEO]

Rolling Stone reports:

For Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn, his solo debut is as political as it is personal. Two years after the singer came out to Rolling Stone and declared himself equally proud of being both gay and a practicing Mormon, his song “Trash” and its accompanying video clearly denounce the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ restrictive, conservative view of same-sex relationships.

In the clip for the biting electro-pop track, Glenn is first seen drinking straight from a liquor bottle, though alcohol is forbidden by Mormonism. As he sings the song, the musician is surrounded by Mormon imagery, including altered portraits of the church’s founder, Joseph Smith. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” he sings during the song’s chorus, which he tells Rolling Stone is meant to be a reflection of a “violent relationship.”

There’s much more at the link. In the second clip below, Glenn talks about growing up Mormon for the web series Mormon Stories.

(Tipped by JMG reader Jasun)

  • JoeMyGod

    It looks like Rolling Stone is blocking the clip from being viewed except on their site. Hit the link at the top.

  • Soren456

    Awww . . .now, Tyler. Why hold on to a grudge? They named a street after Harvey Milk. That fixes everything.

    Doesn’t it?

  • Sk3ptic

    There’s seriously very little I miss about growing up Mormon. Stifling, repressive…and just plain BORING.
    It IS fun hearing about all the scandals that the formerly faithful I grew up with got tangled up in, though. Decidedly NOT boring!

    • Nic Peterson

      Living well is the best revenge.

    • Harley

      Yea. I could never give up coffee. It’s second to oxygen in my book.

      • Sk3ptic

        Coffee, tea, my husband, independent thought…the list goes on, doesn’t it?

        • Octavio

          And a cheeky little Pinot Noir. Can’t forget that. πŸ™‚

          • Sk3ptic

            How could I have??

  • Capritaur

    Not sure if anyone knows or remembers this guy, he was raised Mormon, too.

    • Hank

      It is a shame, that the video gets hung up @ 30 sec. However, those 30 sex are VERY HOT!!! Mormon or not, I want him!!!

    • Joseph Miceli

      That’s messed up! It was just getting good.

      • Capritaur

        There’s a whole documentary about his old band (Nick Name and the Normals), though videos are hard to find (at least when I’m at work).

      • Octavio

        Yeah. The video has been tampered with. Yet, there is such a warm and serene Nine Inch Nails vibe to it, only nastier. πŸ™‚

  • Michael Rush

    (Sing If You’re) Glad To Be Gay
    The song was originally written by Tom Robinson for a London gay pride parade in 1976
    He married a woman and has two kids but describes himself as “a gay man who happens to be in love with a woman”

    • TuuxKabin

      Had a couple of Tom Robinson Band albums. Listen to the Radio was a long time favorite. It WAS Tom Robinson, I hope.

  • Gyeo

    I certainly feel for Tyler Glenn because he made a very concrete effort to bridge his sexuality and his Mormon community. And the Church spat at it. It’s like so many LGBT narrative involving wanting acceptance only to be rejected. Power to you, Tyler.

    • friedpikmin

      This comment should be at the top. When Tyler first came out, he was working really hard towards bridging the gap, which is something many gay Mormons do when first coming to terms of his sexuality. The gay community was very critical of his efforts.

      I can see Mormons being offended by this music video, but Mormons who are offended ought to open their eyes to the context surrounding it.

  • nope.

    sorry, gay religious types. you don’t get my sympathy anymore. back in the day, before the interwebs and a lot of other stuff? maybe. but today? if you call yourself “gay and proud Mormon” i can’t help you, or care. your mythology is some of the most laughable i’ve ever come across. /MDiv graduate

    religion kills. it’s hard to say it any more plainly. people who associate with, give money to, or identify with murderous religious organizations, the same ones who also despoil children and the earth and all sorts of other things in the name of mythology? wow, i just can’t get down with that.

    get out. leave it all behind. the whole universe awaits you, and it does not judge. when you realize that, you’ll be so much more happy. there is no “balance” b/w religion and homosexuality. ever.

    • Judas Peckerwood


    • MBear


    • TimCA

      Oh I don’t know. I’m an atheist. For me all religion is just mumbo jumbo nonsense. But if you really need make-believe to bring order, sense and purpose to your life, at least go find some neo-pagan outfit to join. I’ve never had a bunch of Wiccans, Druids or Athena followers band together to form a political movement devoted to stripping me of my civil rights.

      The Abrahamic cults on the other hand are toxic.

      • oikos

        They are on their way to your house with pamphlets as we speak. πŸ˜‰

        • TimCA

          Oh joy! I have a friend of mine who is constantly joking that if I don’t pick up the tab for dinner he’ll request a free Book of Mormon giving my name and address. lol

          • Octavio

            LOL! Never realized you could do this online. But now you point it out it’s obvious. When I lived in SLC we’d walk into Temple Square and write down names/addresses of our “enemies” in their visitor registry, requesting missionaries to pay a visit. Pissed off a lot of people. πŸ™‚

          • Jerry

            My one visit to SLC on family vacation in 1970s, my grandparents had already warned against signing, as they do make missionary house calls if you sign the guest book.

          • Patriciaaceballos

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          • Traxley Launderette

            We all know about Mary. She’s a mean drunk and has terrible taste in shoes.

            She’s pretty much dead to us.

          • Judas Peckerwood

            Die, spam scum, die.

          • TimCA

            Ha! Trolling enemies before the age of the internet! Isn’t it so much nicer now being able to exact revenge from the comfort of one’s own living room? lol!!

          • greenmanTN

            It’s a pretty good threat! I may have to use that one! πŸ˜‰

      • again, that would’ve been me a while ago. but i’ve come across some Pagan/Wiccan/Starhawk types who are just as adamant as xtians, “we didn’t make this all up! it’s real! if you can’t feel the Tides/Goddess/whatever, you’re not really alive!”

        ironically, this comes from some feminists supporting a different candidate for president than i do. Wiccans and suchlike who think “Now is the Time” because of the order of the moon or some shit like that.

        today, i am a Militant Atheist(tm) for real. and it wasn’t even xtians all by themselves, who made me so. no one gets to call my partner (proven progressive, proven by money and checks as well as activism) a sexist, for saying “a dark moon ceremony is no reason to vote for a political candidate.” but that really happened. fuck all mythology, unless it’s for reading bedtime stories for children.

        • Nic Peterson

          The super devout are most susceptible to a spell of self-doubt. Try that, it works. Start by crafting a more perfect circular argument than theirs, and then cast your spell.

          Sometimes the universe demands such things. Don’t forget to pour a tasty Chardonnay when done. Gotta keep your energy up.

    • SpiderPIG

      I’m a huge gymnastics fan and I follow a lot of gymnasts on social media.
      I’ve learned to overlook their constant babble about religion, but it’s a struggle.
      It’s really hard to admire your idols when they are in such deep level of personal disconnection.

      • Merv99

        Just think of it as them engaging in mental gymnastics.

        • SpiderPIG

          Well, touchΓ©! πŸ™‚

          • Strepsi

            You two are adorable. Get a room!

        • Librarykid

          Except that these are lethal and hate-filled gymnastics instead of the pure sport.

    • m_lp_ql_m

      “But what about all the good religions? My [insert particular brand of church] accepts all people!” /s

      • rabbit_ears

        The church of the Invisible Pink Unicorn!

        • m_lp_ql_m

          When Cthulu awakens, you’ll pray to be the first eaten!

          • rabbit_ears

            I’m already insane, I doubt I will notice πŸ™‚

        • William

          The one true Unicorn is purple, with yellow spots.

    • Capritaur

      I generally agree but wouldn’t be as harsh. The brainwashing and psychological hijacking aside, sometimes renouncing one’s religion can mean disowning, or at least significantly distancing oneself from, one’s family and community. Some people can do it and are glad that they did, but many find it excessive or unnecessary, even destructive if those are you lifeline (think Amish). It’s easy to internalize the high social, if not financial cost of apostasy as an affirmation of faith. It’s an institutional problem, to say you can just leave it all behind is as simplifying the problem as saying that the cycle of poverty can be broken just by working hard, or racism can be overcome by being successful.

      • m_lp_ql_m

        Most of the Militant Atheist types I know, including myself, have internalized and experienced first-hand the high social and financial costs of apostasy, yet have successfully committed it. Because of this, we realize militancy requires militancy, harshness requires harshness.

        • Capritaur

          That sounds incredibly doctrinaire and dogmatic for being non-religious. Not everyone is willing to pay this price, nor is everyone able to afford it.

          • m_lp_ql_m

            Nor should everyone be expected to. We’re not saying “you have to leave your church or else,” we’re saying “I will go out of my way to help you leave your church.”

    • as a happy atheist/agonstic, i think it’s at least worth injecting some nuance into this… this is the church i was raised in:

    • Joseph Miceli

      Religion is a shared delusion. Isn’t it about time people learned to face the world without playing “let’s pretend?”

    • Nic Peterson

      His art and the expression of it reminds me of my own long journey. I think he will break through one day but that needs to be his decision. The young and idealistic often tilt at windmills, this activity is best viewed from a safe distance.

    • As a recovering Lutheran (Missouri synod) I agree with you whole heartedly.

    • Oscarlating Wildely

      On the whole CD, I totally agree. I have no idea why anyone– and I do mean anyone– requires the platitudes of religion to do anything. A belief in that hocus pocus, mumbo jumbo strikes me as utterly ridiculous. When anyone mentions God, I kind of have this reaction of suppressing laughter at the sheer banality of it all.
      Having noted, even as I mention that religion is bogus bullshit, I also think that religion has a whacked view of sexuality– in all aspects of the spectrum– and much of life BUT I also think that some faiths are indeed more phobic (homo, bi, trans, women) than others. Personally, I don’t see many Quakers striking out against me, or Druids, or UCCs, or Buddhists (maybe I’m unique).
      In terms of overall psychology, I totally agree. I think it’s all horseshit. As in big, steaming piles of maggot infested horseshit, not just the regular kind. But I am quicker to scream “get the fuck out” to some more than others.

      • several wiccans have attacked my partner recently on the basis of their religion. it really, really pissed me off. if you look at my comment history? i have done nothing but say stuff like you have. “Wicca: it’s nicer, they don’t hate gays,” etc.

        but these people attacked my partner on the basis of gender and religion and moon crap, and wow. we basically lost all respect for them. i mean, defend and support your candidate, right? disagree, even, about who is best.

        but don’t try to blow moonshine up my ass and tell me that’s why we should vote for someone. good lords i don’t believe in, is that the best you can do to support your candidate?

        i’m just saying this b/c i hate all religions now, and want them utterly out of every public place including primaries and elections. i did not used to feel this way, but if you could see some of the stuff they said to us, accused us of, just b/c we didn’t think religion is the reason to pick a candidate? just like the fucking xtians.

    • JCF

      You do you, cd. If believing “[all] religion kills” gives your life meaning, more power to you. [God only knows (ahem), hateful religions like Mormonism DO kill.]

      But it just doesn’t work for me, “gay and proud Episcopalian.” And the broad-brush characterization re “mythology”, or universal command “get out. leave it all behind.” just doesn’t touch me. I’ve got the whole universe, thank you. Better yet, the whole universe has got me!

      Pax et bonum to all—

  • ryan charisma

    Brandon Flowers – did you see this?

  • TimCA

    I wonder if he’s been excommunicated yet?

    • friedpikmin

      I don’t think so, but he certainly will be targeted now.

    • James

      would be best if he just had his name “removed from the records” to avoid the trama(drama) of the excommunication trial… and that way it would be his decision to leave and not their decision to ex him

  • Randolph Finder

    I do have to say that the LDS are likely to be the *last* Christian group to fully accept Marriage Equality. The degree to which Heterosexual Marriage is in the *core* of the religion is Higher than (for example, the Methodists).

    Does anyone know of any Religion not tied to Joseph Smith where a man who never marries is denied the highest of “rank” both in this world and the next?

  • Lazycrockett

    This video is currently not viewable. Waaaaaaaaaaa

    • Rebecca Gardner

      Go to the Rolling Stone page at the link. It plays there.

      • Lazycrockett

        yep should have scrolled all the way down. The track is okay I do like the lil funky riffs when hes in the elevator.

  • Treant

    He looks like he could come over here and be openly gay by me. I wouldn’t mind.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    I’ve never hear of Neon Trees or Tyler Glenn but I enjoyed the song.

    My favorite anti religion song is Church of Madness by Inkubus Sukkubus.
    “Here comes a plague of idiots blinded by their faith.”

  • TampaZeke

    May all beings trapped in religious delusion quickly follow his example.


  • oikos
    • Octavio


  • MB

    Those sweet smiling Mormons in their clean white shirts, underneath, are a bunch of evil, selfish and VIOLENT BIGOTS. Don”t EVER trust a Mormon !!!!

  • KnownDonorDad

    The thing about Mormons, from those I’ve known (I’m in a band with one, but that’s a whole other story) is that they embrace this appearance of leading perfect lives: they’re well-mannered, they have a bunch of well-behaved kids, they’re successful and talented. The trouble starts when they come down hard on those who fall out of a very traditional line, and even worse, when their prophets decide that there’s a social issue they need to get behind that directly affects non-Mormons (see Prop 8 – I have a feeling they’re not going to do anything that audacious again).

  • Corsair Tact

    Some below have said things like, “He doesn’t get any sympathy from me because he’s still a flying spaghetti monster person.”

    See, here’s the thing. I don’t think he wants your sympathy. This is his
    story. Like the LDS, you can like it or not. I get a very clear sense
    from this guy that he doesn’t give a fuck about what any of us think about him, which is just about the smartest thing anyone can do. To stay in the LDS in the
    face of apostasy is a pretty big deal and takes a lot of courage. I wouldn’t do it myself, but, hey, I’m fascinated that he is doing it. But your sympathy or agreement… not that relevant or even interesting.

  • Octavio

    This guy is so compartmentalized that if he were a shoe store it would take a year to find a pair of 10 1/2 EEs.

  • Merv99

    He definitely needs some lessons in applying lipstick.

    • Octavio


  • Not a fan of pop, but its clear he is in pain over the betrayal the mor(m)on church dealt their LGBTA members.

  • JCF

    Powerful song/video. Welcome all the way OUT, Tyler!

  • OT: A friend of mine was married to a Mormon who had the job of disarming the polygamist sect back in the early 70s. He would kick in doors in the evening and disarm the households – but he was a Mormon so he ignored the women – he was shot in the back by a woman while he was disarming the men.

    Most people, when they heard he was killed by a woman, assumed his widow did it. He was an asshole to everybody, Most people do not know about the conflict between the polygamists and the ‘true’ Mormons because it took place in the wilds of Idaho and Utah amongst really clanny folk.

  • WIGuy

    I was a fan of neon trees, but this video and song are a bit creepy.

  • Glen

    I can’t really respect someone who believes in unsubstantiated unevidenced irrational and unreasoned bullshit. Period.