The Neon Trees, an alternative/pop band, have a few Top 20 hits, been featured in a Buick Verano commercial and have a song on the soundtrack for Iron Man 3.
Normally, when the band performs, it’s in a major arena, but earlier this month, it put on a concert at Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.) to help out the school’s football team and other extracurricular activities.
Though none of the band’s members (Tyler Glenn, Elaine Bradley, Chris Allen and Branden Campbell) went to Vista Murrieta, there are connections. Allen played football and baseball at Murrieta Valley in Murrieta and Glenn attended Chaparral High in nearby Temecula. Allen’s younger brother Jordan is a receivers coach for the school and a former tight end for the Vista Murrieta Broncos.
“I graduated from Vista in 2010,” Jordan Allen said. “We tried to do something the fall of 2009, my senior year. They had just had a big hit with Animal and over time, they had three more hits in the Top 20. I started thinking they may be too big for us to get them at the school. For the school to be able to pull it off was difficult.”
The last time the band played in Murrieta was long before their break, when they played a talent show at the local Mormon ward house the band’s members attended at the time. Since, then, guitarist Chris Allen said his father, Brian Allen, had pushed to get the band to play again in Murrieta, to no avail.
“I talked everybody into doing the talent show,” said Allen. “I don’t think there was a prize. They felt very weird about playing the talent show, so I really worried about bringing this idea to them. I talked Tyler into it first and convinced him that Vista Murrieta really takes things seriously and I felt like they could pull it off.”
Though the band took a substantial pay cut to perform, they still had to pay the travel costs for their 10-member crew. All told, the expenses for the school’s preparation was $50,000, but it made roughly $100,000, or $50,000 profit on the show, Jordan Allen said.
Much of the money will help pay for new helmets for the football team. The school is 10 years old and the Broncos have to replace 80 helmets, at a cost of roughly $400 per helmet. Other school groups were able to use the event to raise money with the cross country team manning a water table at the concert and the cheerleaders operating a merchants table. Some of the promotional materials for the concert were done by student graphic designers.
“A lot of different groups helped at the school,” said Broncos football coach Coley Candaele. “When this was first brought up, I wasn’t sure who the band was, but my daughters knew who they were and played their songs for me. They know all the lyrics.”
In hindsight, Jordan Allen said the idea made a lot of sense.
“Our principal, Darren Daniel, is leaving, so he went out with a bang,” Allen said. “It was a risk because the school had to put up $50,000 before it saw any money back, but a lot of people believed in that risk. Schools go to a lot of work just to raise $500, but because of our resources here, we were able to raise $50,000.”
For the band, there was one complication it might not have faced elsewhere.
“The meet and greet took forever,” Chris Allen said. “I think it was because my mom (Sylvia) was manning the door and she’s too nice. She let everybody in.”
Here’s a video from the concert: