Fans of Imagine Dragons and passionate frontman Dan Reynolds expect to be moved to the core by the band’s string of one-word super hits. Songs like “Thunder,” “Radioactive” and “Believer” all beckon to this generation to do more than being aware of the causes and need surround them, and embrace action for positive change. One of those positive changes Imagine Dragons is passionate about is being among the headliners for a concert to benefit shooting victims and their hometown healing, Vegas Strong, on December 1. The band will be joined by The Killers, another Vegas-based ensemble, Boyz II Men, and magical bad boys, Penn & Teller, in lending their talents to act those in the aftermath of the October 1 nightmare.

There are times when healing takes everything one can muster, and other times, when restoration requires interrupting life at a peak of action to provide pause and reflection. Dan Reynolds went through the peaks and valleys that depression brings through years of touring and the endless stress to stay on top.

The cycle took a toll on him, his family, and bandmates until a decision to take a year-long pause put the Music and life itself in better perspective. Dan Reynolds is still a man with deep core values, and a belief in humankind and that commitment came through in a musical appeal to welcome gay, transgender, the LGBTQ community, and others feeling on the fringe of society and faith, into his church. Like the title of their latest album, Dan Reynolds sees no better time than now to “Evolve” in love.

No bets on name change

For whatever reason or impulse in the moment, Imagine Dragons once considered changing the band’s name, until their manager wisely nixed that option under the “You don't fix what ain't broken” mantra. Songs like “I Bet My Life” from the “Smoke + Mirrors” album soared into millions of hearts and soared into the millions of copies and downloads. Dan Reynolds was living all the dream any rock band could imagine, except that his personal vision deleted “drugs” from the “sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll” trio. He jokes that added sex could be substituted.

The surge of success that swallowed Imagine Dragons began to be “disconnecting from reality” for all the band, according to the guitarist, Wayne Sermon. The members of this rock band of the decade had begun as quiet jazz players from Boston's Berklee College of Music. Dan Reynolds suffered most deeply from the transition from being “very happy” to “so low” again and again, all while trying to create music and keep up the demanding pace of the “record machine” in rock.

Getting off the bus and giving the world a hug

As Reynolds related to Lee Cowan on “CBS This Morning” on November 8, there were “years and years” of him during these constant ups and downs, usually in silence. The songwriter also deals with the debilitating physical condition, ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that can exhibit extreme flares in its most inflammatory stages. Just as he has been open in sharing this condition, and helping to raise funds for research and support, Dan Reynolds decided to “get honest” and be open about his struggle with depression.

Creativity was revitalized in every sense after the respite taken by Imagine Dragons, and Reynolds describes “Believer” as “an attack on depression.” The process of writing the song brought him to “gratitude for my weakness,” and that openness only endeared him more deeply to fans and his own family. In 2011, Reynolds married Aja Volkman, also a musician, and the following year, the couple became parents to a daughter, Arrow, and last year, to twins, Gia and Coco. Arrow gives all the affirmation any father needs in a precious video, declaring “I'm happy with the daddy. I got!”

In with love

Dan Reynolds was renewed in his spirit after coming to peace with his personal struggle, but he was at odds with some in the Mormon church. Raised a devout Mormon, and a student of Brigham Young University, Reynolds began to deeply feel the needs of gay and transgender youth. He highlights that LGBTQ youth who feel no connection to community are exponentially more prone to suicide, crime, drugs, and disastrous outcomes. The artist was determined to help his church see that they could be a place of “home” and acceptance.

He planted himself on their doorstep, free of all secrecy, and staged the “Love Live” festival. The church took notice, commending the concert. Dan Reynolds realizes that Imagine Dragons is only a band, and is intent was to “start the dialogue” about making love and acceptance accessible to all. The ban on gay marriage will likely take years to amend, but doors can open now.

Dan Reynolds fondest dream is not that his daughters remember Imagine Dragons’ stunning artistic success, or even any of his songs, and certainly not the trophy he took home as a songwriter, the Hal David Starlight Award. He yearns for his girls to know that he “stood in his truth” most of all.