Twenty One Pilots (stylized in all lower-case letters) has been getting a lot of buzz over the last few years for their genre-bending musical style and attention-grabbing live shows. Starting out in 2009 and signing to Fueled by Ramen in 2012, the band, made up of pianist/singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, has released two critically-acclaimed albums, 2013’s Vessel and 2015’s Blurryface, which has become their first number one album. Their poetic, uninhibited, stream-of-consciousness lyrics have resonated with fans around the world. Read on to find out more about twenty one pilots.
Number Fifteen: Twenty One Pilots Came from an Arthur Miller Play
While Tyler Joseph was enrolled in college, he was studying Miller’s play All My Sons, about a man who must make an ethical decision after knowingly selling defective airplane parts to the Air Force, which killed 21 pilots during World War II. Inspired by this moral dilemma, Joseph named the band “twenty one pilots.” It would be these kinds of moral dilemmas and life occurrences that would inspire many of the band’s songs as well.
Number Fourteen: They Put Their Grandfathers on the Cover of their Major Label Debut
The two elderly men on the cover of the band’s Fueled by Ramen debut are Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun’s paternal grandfathers. Joseph and Dun thought it would be cool to do it since no one has done it before.
Number Thirteen: Their Ski Masks Represent Facelessness
Particularly following the release of Vessel, twenty one pilots wore balaclavas during their performances, and even had their audience wear them during their performance at the MTV Movie Awards in 2013. The band has said in interviews that the ski masks were not only a way to catch people off guard at shows but also to make their music more faceless and relatable as well; to take their faces and names away from the music so people can make it their own.
Number Twelve: ‘Blurryface’ Is a Character, as well as an Album Title
Tyler Joseph has said that Blurryface is a character that he made up to represent his and other people’s insecurities. To get into the character when he performs, he has been wearing black paint on his neck and hands, which he says represents his own insecurities, namely feeling suffocated (the paint on his neck) and the things he creates with his hands (the paint on his hands). He also wears red armbands because red is the character’s color.
Number Eleven: They Used to Try to Get Venue Workers to Pay Attention at Shows
When twenty one pilots was still a local band in Columbus, Ohio, they used to try to get the attention of anyone in the venue they were playing to take notice. This included the bartenders working there. Tyler Joseph said in an interview that it was always the band’s goal to get the people who work at the venue to stop what they are doing and look up at the stage, even for just a moment.
Number Ten: They Are Christian, But Not Christian Artists
Both Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have stated that they are Christians, but have made it a point not to tell people what to believe with their music. However, because their beliefs are important to them, there are a number of instances where their religion comes through in their lyrics and imagery.
Number Nine: Tyler Joseph Once Kicked Someone Out of a Show
Tyler Joseph stopped a show one time because he saw a guy punch a girl in the audience. Once he stopped the set, he and a number of other people kicked the guy out of the venue.
Number Eight: Twenty One Pilots Won’t Tell You What Their Logo Means
Tyler Joseph created the twenty one pilots logo himself, which he calls “the kitchen sink.” He has stated that the logo means something to him and that since he is the only person who knows what it means, it has purpose for him. If he tells, it will lose purpose.
Number Seven: Neither Member Plays the Guitar
Twenty one pilots usually get by on piano, synths, ukulele and drums, which makes their music quite unique in that they don’t use any guitar. That is because neither Joseph nor Dun play the instrument. They have said that if they did use guitar, then they would have to get someone to play it and the music will be filtered through someone that wasn’t the band.
Number Six: Josh Dun Used to Drum for House of Heroes
Before joining Tyler Joseph in twenty one pilots, Josh Dun was the touring drummer for rock band House of Heroes. After original members Nick Thomas and Chris Salih left the band, Dun, who worked at Guitar Center with Salih, was introduced to Joseph and they began playing together.
Number Five: Tyler Joseph Released a Solo Album
While still in high school, Tyler Joseph released an EP of Christmas songs. Titled No Phun Intended, the EP can still be heard on PureVolume. Other solo appearances include a live performance of “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” for Five14 Church’s Christmas with the Stars, and providing backup vocals on Dallon Weekes’ (Panic! at the Disco) “Sickly Sweet Holidays” single.
Number Four: He Also Acted in a Video Series for His Church
Before twenty one pilots became big, Tyler Joseph showed off his acting chops in a video he made with a couple of people from his church in Ohio. Titled The (moderately inspiring tale of the) Longboard Rodeo Tango, he plays an intern who finds his constituents have a skateboard gang. The mockumentary (all three parts) can still be found on YouTube.
Number Three: ‘Vessel’ Was Written Not Knowing if Someone Would Hear It
When Vessel came out, the band was still relatively unknown, so when they went into the studio to record it, there were no real expectations from anyone. However, the band has said that when they recorded Blurryface, it was hard not to think about the fact that there was going to be an audience waiting to devour it.
Number Two: They Shot a Music Video at Will Smith’s Ranch
One of the band’s most interesting videos, “House of Gold” features the band in the middle of nowhere, with their legs severed from their bodies. The location is pretty interesting as well. It was filmed at a ranch just north of Los Angeles, which is owned by Will Smith.
Number One: They Were Once Tattooed on Stage
Both Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have “X” tattoos that they received onstage in Columbus, Ohio. Meant to symbolize the dedication of their hometown fans, Joseph got his on his forearm and Dun got his behind his right ear. Thank you for reading our list of 15 interesting facts about twenty one pilots. We hope you enjoyed it!