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Twenty One Pilots still flying high
Twenty One Pilots spent most of this year headlining some of the largest venues -- including outdoor amphitheaters -- of its career to date, thanks to the chart-topping success of its sophomore album, "Blurryface."
But this month's return to smaller clubs and theaters this month, mostly for radio station-sponsored holiday concerts, is anything but a comedown for the Columbus duo.
"As we start to play bigger shows, I really miss the bar and club shows," drummer Josh Dun -- who joined up with frontman Tyler Joseph in 2009 -- says by phone from Sioux Falls, S.D. "There's that feeling of togetherness -- the word people use a lot is the intimacy factor, which I love. I love that whole thing and how close we are to people, that feeling of togetherness.
"Whenever we play an arena or a festival or one of the big places we try to make them feel like a club, too. So it's great to have a chance to do those (smaller) gigs again. It feels like coming home in a way, y'know?"
That the clubs have become a luxury for Dun and Joseph is a mark of Twenty One Pilots' success during the past seven years. The group's 2013 national debut "Vessel" -- which followed a pair of independent releases -- was a buzz-maker thanks to singles such as "Holding On To You" and "House of Gold." And that, of course, set up "Blurryface's" run to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in May, with the single "Tear In My Heart" hitting No. 2 and "Stressed Out" topping both the Rock Songs and Alternative Songs charts.
"I don't want to sound full of ourselves in any way, but Tyler and I always thought we could do really big things and not put a ceiling on it," says Dun, 27, who played in the band House of Heroes before forming Twenty One Pilots. "But at the same time, when ('Blurryface') came out we didn't really know what any kind of numbers were or charts, and we didn't really keep up with that stuff a lot.
"So when people were telling us it was No. 1 or it was going to be No. 1, I didn't know what that means, really. Obviously NO. 1 is a good think, but we just didn't understand the scale of it or anything like that. But the more we heard about it we realized the weight and significance of it, which is really cool."
Now Twenty One Pilots is just trying to maintain that rarefied altitude -- and climb, if possible. The group will head to Europe early in the year before touring Canada in the spring and playing another round of major outdoor venues -- including a June 3 stop at the DTE Energy Music Theatre -- during the summer. A next single from "Blurryface" is still being determined, but Dun says he and Joseph are still enjoying "Stressed Out's" ride, which has become very personal thanks to the song's video.
"We were able to get both of our entire families in the video, which was so cool," Dun says. "We shot half of it at the house I grew up in and the other half in Tyler's old bedroom in the house he grew up in. One of the most fun moments of our career was shooting that music video.
"And they deserve it, man. I want to repay my parents in whatever way I can for all they've done for me, and especially for letting me bang on drums in their basement for so many years."
89X Nutcracker featuring Twenty One Pilots and Smashing Satellites
Thursday, Dec. 17. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.
Tickets are sold out.
Call 313-961-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.
Note: Twenty One Pilots also perform June 3 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. For details call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.
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