Imagine Dragons Singer Defends Performing in Azerbaijan and Israel: "I'm Never Going to Deprive Our Fans"

"I think the second you start to do that, there’s corrupt leaders and warmongers all over the world, and where do you draw the line?"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jul 2, 2024

System of a Down's Serj Tankian recently re-expressed his distaste for Imagine Dragons — the truck commercial-soundtracking band to whom he penned an open letter last year, asking them not to go through with a scheduled concert in Azerbaijan that he thought "would help whitewash a dictatorial regime's image" amid the country's campaign of ethnic cleansing against Armenian people.

Imagine Dragons had ignored Tankian's request, likewise performing in Israel last August. Singer Dan Reynolds has now defended his band's choices to perform in both of those countries.

In an interview with Rolling Stone about new album Loom, journalist Andy Greene directly asked the frontman if he had any regrets about playing those shows last year. "No," Reynolds answered. "I don't believe in depriving our fans who want to see us play because of the acts of their leaders and their governments. I think that's a really slippery slope. I think the second you start to do that, there's corrupt leaders and warmongers all over the world, and where do you draw the line?"

Greene then brought up Tankian doubling down on the fact that he didn't have any respect for Imagine Dragons after they ignored his plea about the Azerbaijan gig and asked if Reynolds had any response. 

"I think I just said it," Reynolds said, repeating, "It's a slippery slope, and I'm never going to deprive our fans of playing for them."

Elsewhere in the interview, Reynolds opened up about his Mormon upbringing and his divorce from Nico Vega's Aja Volkman after 13 years of marriage — but he didn't say much about longtime Imagine Dragons drummer Daniel Platzman taking an indefinite hiatus from the outfit a year ago. "He doesn't play on the record, and I can't talk about that," the singer told Greene. The band's original drummer, Andrew Tolman, played on Loom and will be in the live lineup for touring behind the record.

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