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Twenty One Pilots Remember Their First Ever Gigs

Andy Biddulph
Andy Biddulph about 2 hours ago

This makes a lot of sense.

Twenty One Pilots grace the cover of Rock Sound magazine this month, and inside theyre's a HUGE feature on Tyler and Josh.

Here's a tiny taste, where the guys talk about the first ever shows they went to as fans. Long story short: they had a huge impact on the sort of band Twenty One Pilots became.

It wasn’t until the age of around 16 that the vocalist attended his first show. In front of only a few dozen people (“A friend of a friend was playing – his name was Dave,” Tyler remembers), what he saw that night would change his life.

"When you’re a young kid who has never been to a show before, the experience is unlike anything you’ve ever known,” he reminisces. “It’s otherworldly. I probably didn’t look like I was having a great time from the performers’ perspective, but my entire world changed.

"By then I’d started playing around with music and writing songs, but I didn’t know what they were for or where they were going to go. I didn’t know how to get them out into the world, but that show gave me the answer. Seeing the stage was like an epiphany, ‘That is where my music needs to go.’”

The venue that night was the Scarlet & Grey Cafe, a 300-capacity venue a stone’s throw from the student housing complex of Ohio State University in the band’s hometown of Columbus. For Josh, his first taste of live music was similarly humble, arriving in the form of a show at another Columbus venue, Skully’s Music-Diner.

"I went to see a rapper, because obviously I thought Eminem was like the greatest thing ever at the time!” smiles Josh. “This guy had a live band playing with him. That really grabbed me because a lot of rappers and hip-hop artists tend to use a DJ, so this gave his performance a different dimension, especially visually.

"In the eighties and nineties it was fine for people to just stand onstage and play. That was the age of the rock god, when the people onstage seemed as though they were from another planet and were completely encapsulating without moving a muscle, but nowadays it’s important to keep people engaged. That show played a huge part in shaping my opinion of what live music should be – an event.”

Get the band's full feature and a free Twenty One Pilots wristband in the new Rock Sound magazine.


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