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Interview: Imagine Dragons singer savors flight on the wings of success

Midway through my conversation with Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds and his wife, Aja Volkman, in Nellcote's private dining area last week, Volkman — whose band, Nico Vega, opened for Imagine Dragons earlier that night at the House of Blues — lifted up a blanket to reveal the couple's 7-month-old daughter, Arrow Eve. She had been sleeping next to Volkman in the booth the entire time.

"She sleeps through the craziness," Reynolds said of his daughter, who slept as Hey Champ singer Saam Hagshenas DJed less than 50 feet away and guests, including opening act Atlas Genius, mingled. "She thrives in this."

Imagine Dragons has been touring almost nonstop since forming in 2008, but the "craziness" seems to have just begun for the Las Vegas quartet. Its songs are everywhere these days: "Radioactive" is featured in the movie trailer for "The Host," "It's Time" was featured in an episode of Fox's "Glee" and the movie trailer for "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and "On Top of the World" was sung by a children's choir at President Barack Obama's inauguration in January and is featured in the movie trailer for "The Croods."

Surprisingly, the 25-year-old Reynolds said he got the biggest kick out of hearing one of his songs in a video game.

"It sounds nerdy, but I grew up playing the FIFA (soccer) games my whole life and always loved the soundtracks," said Reynolds, who seemed most excited talking about his team of choice in the game, Brazil. "Having my song come on (in 'FIFA 13') was better than any movie or commercial we've been in."

As is often the case with bands on the rise, Reynolds hasn't had much time to enjoy Imagine Dragons' recent success due to the constant touring and TV and radio appearances — not that he's complaining. Reynolds has become used to waking up in a new city almost every day and said he didn't know what to do with himself when the band had two days off around Christmas.

He does, however, make it a point to rest whenever he can on the road. That's what the 6-foot-4 rocker claimed he normally does after shows. He said he made an exception for Nellcote because they were celebrating Aja's and his keyboardist's birthdays (Nellcote brought out a two-tiered chocolate cake for the festivities and serenaded the guests with "Happy Birthday").

The show that night was the first of two concerts at the House of Blues. It's hard to believe it was just last April that Imagine Dragons was opening for The Jezabels at Lincoln Hall.

"A year ago we were playing for, like, 40 people," Reynolds said of their headlining shows. "Before every gig we were peaking behind the curtain like, 'Oh man, it's only half-full tonight.' We'd been living on people's couches and just scraping by. Now we're at the point where everything is sold-out beforehand. We can actually breath and enjoy the music. It's the best feeling ever."

Daddy's girls: Lifetime's "Preachers' Daughters" premieres Tuesday and revolves around three families, including Ken Coleman — a Joliet resident and pastor at City of Refuge Pentecostal Church in Lockport — and his teenage daughter Taylor. Pro Wrestler-turned-Evangelist Nikita Koloff (aka "The Russian Nightmare") and his teenage daughter Kolby are also featured on the reality show.

Casting news: Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell ("Babe") and Charlize Theron's ex-boyfriend Stuart Townsend ("Queen of the Damned") have been cast in the ABC pilot, "Betrayal," which is filming in Chicago this month. Townsend plays a defense attorney who has an affair with the wife of the prosecutor he is facing off against in a murder trial. Cromwell plays his father.

About this week: "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer will sign copies of her book "The Host" Monday at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville and will be joined by actors Jake Abel and Max Irons, who star in the film adaptation in theaters March 29. … Pro wrestler Lisa Marie Varon — currently known as Tara in TNA Wrestling and previously known as Victoria during her WWE days — will open her Lincoln Park restaurant, The Squared Circle, Thursday. … Scheana Marie (Bravo's "Vanderpump Rules") will perform Saturday at Hydrate in Boystown.

Sightings: Nick Offerman (NBC's "Parks & Recreation") visited A.J. Hudson's Public House in the Lakeview neighborhood Friday before screening his film "Somebody Up There Likes Me" at the Music Box Theatre. … Members of the band Muse had dinner Wednesday at Sunda. Former Bears coach Mike Ditka had dinner March 3 at Sunda. … Singer Ben Harper dined March 4 at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse in the Gold Coast. … Chef Emeril Lagasse dined March 3 at Spiaggia and March 4 at The Purple Pig. … Warren Sapp, who will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in August, dined Thursday at Chicago Cut Steakhouse. … "Right Here Waiting" singer Richard Marx dined Thursday at Prasino in Wicker Park. … Cubs legend Ernie Banks dined Wednesday at the newly opened Siena Tavern.

lgomez@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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