Neon Trees drummer, BYU religion professor form band

(Robbie Petersen)
Elaine Bradley, Bryce Taylor and Chris Bennett perform at Velour in Provo with their band, Noble Bodies. (Robbie Peterson)

A BYU religion professor, a famous drummer, and a high school buddy don’t normally belong together in a rock band. However, Noble Bodies has been together since 2004, long before their drummer made it big in the band Neon Trees.

BYU religion professor Bryce Taylor said he met Neon Trees drummer Elaine Bradley while they served LDS missions in Germany.

“She was talking to a group of teenagers and she took one boy’s skateboard and did a kick-flip,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he knew then he wanted to get to know her and play music together.

Taylor encouraged Bradley to come to Utah to play music with him when she returned home from her church service. Bradley applied to BYU and decided to attend after receiving an academic scholarship.

Bradley said they spent time together her first day in Utah and every day since. Bradley said the first time they played guitars together it didn’t work, and Taylor said they couldn’t write something they both liked.

After a lull in their enthusiasm to play together, Bradley said she told Taylor, “I have a drum set in my house; why don’t you come over and play guitar and I’ll play the drums?”

Dani Jardine
Noble Bodies band member Bryce Taylor teaches a class on Joseph Smith at BYU. (Dani Jardine)

Both Taylor and Bradley weren’t sure Bradley could play the drums well enough to play with Taylor, but Bradley said after they played together, she realized she was better than she remembered.

However, Taylor and Bradley still felt like something was missing. Bradley said Taylor told her he had a friend, Chris Bennett, from high school who played the bass guitar and if he wasn’t good they didn’t have to bring him back. Taylor and Bradley decided Bennett was the most technically sound person in the group after hearing him play the first time.

Noble Bodies practices their music to prepare for a show. (Chris Bennett)

The group formed the band Another Statistic in 2004 and played in downtown Provo in the Battle of the Bands at Velour against the now-famous Neon Trees.

“Tyler Glenn (lead singer of Neon Trees) and I started off as enemies,” Bradley said. “We beat them in Battle of the Bands.”

Taylor said the three-person band split up shortly after their triumph over Neon Trees in the Battle of the Bands because life got in the way. Taylor went back to Germany to get his PhD and Bennett did real estate. Bradley said when Neon Trees needed a drummer, she was ready for it.

“Glenn didn’t want a ‘token girl’ in the band because they aren’t good enough,” Bradley said. “I had to prove my worth and I did. After the first practice they knew I was good.”

About a year ago, when Taylor returned from Germany, Bradley had some time off and needed to practice the drums. She said she hates practicing the drums by herself and begged Taylor to practice with her.

“He came over one afternoon and we wrote two songs in an hour,” Bradley said.

Dani Jardine
From left: Bryce Taylor, Elaine Bradley and Chris Bennett discuss how they formed Noble Bodies. (Dani Jardine)

Bradley and Taylor decided together they wanted to get Bennett on board. The band came back together, but Bradley said they needed a new name for their band. They now call themselves “Noble Bodies,” a name all three felt strongly about.

“We do believe we have these bodies that are of a noble birthright. They are going to be something more than they are now,” Bradley said. “It’s keeping in mind what you can become, rather than the stupid state we are in.”

Bradley is still very much a part of Neon Trees. She was excited about Neon Trees’s recently released single “Feel Good.” Bradley said she has always had a passion for the Noble Bodies band because of her friendship with Taylor and Bennett.

All three band members are Mormon, but Bradley said she didn’t want to be a Christian rock band.

“I want to be a rock band that is peculiarly Christian,” Bradley said.

Taylor said he has strong feelings for teaching the gospel in the classroom and living the gospel out of the classroom, making the point that the gospel can be shared through our God-given talents.

“We want to bring back the meaningful rock again,” Bradley said.

The band members said they love rock music, but there is too much bad rock and not enough good. Bradley said they sing from their hearts since a lot of other rock music doesn’t lyrically have anything of worth or to be excited about.

The band features lyrics they are passionate about — anything from Jesus to life to philosophy.

They said this is something worth enjoying together, even though their lives remain busy.

“If we’re gonna fail at this, at least we’ll overtly fail miserably and gloriously fail,” Bradley said. “If it’s not gonna work, let it be because it doesn’t work and not because we didn’t try.”

Noble Bodies will perform Sept. 30 at Velour in downtown Provo. Doors open at 8 p.m.  

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