Backflips & Gorilla Suits: Twenty One Pilots On Their Live Approach

Fans should expect two things when they see Twenty One Pilots play live. One, they’re going to give it everything they’ve got. Two, drummer Josh Dun is going to do a backflip.

Dun is definitely not a trained gymnast and told the first time he tried to do a back flip at a show in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, he needed a spotter. He wanted to impress his friends, but Dun joked that having to ask for their help kind of made it a lot less impressive.

The first time Dun did it, with help from bandmate Tyler Joseph, he landed on his knees. The second time, though, he stuck the landing, but it wasn’t until the band played their biggest hometown show that the flip became a live performance staple.

“Like a week leading up to that show, most of the time of rehearsal was trying to nail this back flip,” Dun said.

Joseph interjected, “We didn’t really rehearse our songs.”

Twenty One Pilots says fans will definitely see the backflip at this weekend’s Weenie Roast, where they’ll play songs off their latest album, Vessel, and share the stage with Thirty Seconds To Mars, Vampire Weekend, Of Monsters And Men and the Black Keys. The guys also warn that they’re going to come out on stage in masks, which has been known to scare more than a few unsuspected concertgoers.

Right before their very first concert, the two visited a costume shop and picked up a gorilla suit and a skeleton mask, which the two still wear today. Twenty One Pilots’ music is hard to define, which meant they could play shows with hip-hop artists, indie acts and hardcore bands. The masks were a way to hide, but also stand out in the sea of Columbus bands. It’s never their intention to scare, but it is their goal to get people talking.

“Sometimes after shows people come up to us, “Oh, it’s the first time ever seeing you and at first I was scared by the skeleton thing… but I was hooked after that,” Dun said.

As for the gorilla suit, it’s been retired after Dun nearly passed out while playing an outdoor show in the sweltering summer heat. But the drummer said he wouldn’t mind losing consciousness on stage. In fact, it’s on his bucket list.

Joseph agreed that would be pretty cool to see: “It’s just super punk rock.”

Catch the band headlining KROQ’s Weenie Roast Saturday May 18 at noon PT. If you can’t make it to L.A. you can watch the webcast from your couch.



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