Josh Dun, born on June 18, 1988, is one-half of the multi-genre band Twenty One Pilots. Dun has made his mark in the music industry with his drumming skills and the band’s unique sound. Twenty One Pilots’ songs are frequently themed upon feelings stemming from social anxieties and moral dilemmas. They are the recipient of several nominations and have amassed a loyal fanbase known as the ‘Skeleton Clique.’ We take a look at his musical journey and subsequent success.
Joshua William Dun
Josh, D.J. Spooky Jim, Jishwa, Dog Breath
June 18, 1988
Joshua William Dun was born on June 18, 1988, in Columbus, Ohio. His parents are Laura Dee Dun, a hospice social worker, and William Earl Dun, a physical therapy assistant. He has two sisters and a brother. As a kid, Dun mainly listened to punk rock, often hiding albums he bought from his parents who were very strict about the kind of music they approved. Dun initially started trumpet lessons at school, eventually teaching himself how to play the drums by imitating the beats on records on an electronic drum kit.
In 2010, Dun joined the alternative rock band House of Heroes as a substitute for the band’s drummer, Colin Rigsby who took a break to spend time with family. Dun played on many tracks of the band’s album “Suburba” (2010). He made an appearance in the music video and provided a vocal cameo for the song ‘God Save the Foolish Kings.’ He also toured with the band until Rigsby returned in October.
After working for three years at the local guitar center, he planned to move to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue his career as a drummer. However, he fortuitously met Twenty One Pilots’ former drummer, Chris Salih, who then introduced him to Tyler Joseph, his future bandmate. With the exit of Salih and former-bassist Nick Thomas, Dun became the band’s full-time drummer, making Twenty One Pilots a duo. They released a studio album, “Regional at Best,” in 2011 and signed with Fueled by Ramen, a subsidiary record label of Atlantic Records in 2012.
Twenty One Pilots released the albums “Vessel” (2013) and “Blurryface” (2015), by which time the band was enjoying massive success. The video for their hit ‘Stressed Out’ was shot at Dun’s childhood home and has received over 2.4 billion views on YouTube. They released “Trench” in 2018 under Elektra Music Group. In 2020, the duo released two singles.
In April, they released “Level of Concern” inspired by how COVID-19 was mentally and emotionally affecting the world. The video was shot at Dun and Joseph’s homes while they were in lockdown. In December of that year, they released a Christmas single titled ‘Christmas Saves the Year.’ Twenty One Pilots’ most recent album, “Scaled and Icy,” was released in May 2021. The lead single of the album is titled ‘Shy Away’ and was released a month earlier in April along with the music video. From 2016 to 2022, Dun collaborated with several artists — he played drums for George Watsky, Lights, Goldfinger, and The Hunna, and partnered with Hayley Williams of Paramore to promote her range of hair dye products.
Twenty-One Pilots have been nominated by the American Music Awards, AP Music Awards, ARIA Awards, Billboard Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, MuchMusic Video Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and more. Both band members are fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes. From mid-2013 to 2014, Dun dated actress Debby Ryan. They eventually resumed their relationship and on December 23, 2018, Dun announced their engagement. A year later, in 2019, they were married.
He temporarily replaces the band’s drummer.
Dun and Joseph release “Subsidiary at Best” — the band’s first album as a duo.
Twenty One Pilots releases two more albums under Fueled by Ramen.
The band releases ‘Stressed Out,’ which is their most popular song to date.
‘Heathens’ releases to commercial success as part of the soundtrack album for “The Suicide Squad” (2016).
Twenty One Pilots releases another album titled “Trench.”
The album “Scaled and Icy” is released on May 21.
Why We Love Josh Dun
His dedication to his hometown
Dun and Joseph both got the letter ‘X’ tattooed on their body on stage during their hometown show at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion on April 26, 2013. It symbolizes their love for their hometown fans in Columbus, Ohio.
His relationship with Debby Ryan
Fans love the coming together of celebrities from vastly different backgrounds. Ryan is a widely loved Disney star while Dun has been associated with rock percussion since 2010. After dating on and off for a couple of years, he conducted a wildly romantic proposal and the couple planned their wedding in only 28 days.
The band’s unique sound and themes
All four of the band’s members, past and present, are from the same city and have blended musical styles and meaningful content to create the unique sound that has drawn their fans to them. Twenty One Pilots is currently listed in four categories: rock, alternative hip-hop, indie-pop, and electro-pop. They wear red armbands that symbolize Blurryface, a made-up character that is a representation of all of the things that people are insecure about.
5 Surprising Facts
His love for his bandmate
Dun has a tattoo of the name ‘Tyler’ above his left knee.
Dun has a famous ancestor
His great-great-great-grandfather was Edwin Dun, the American diplomat, and rancher.
The origin of the band’s name
Twenty One Pilots comes from the play “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller, which focuses on a man who is responsible for the deaths of 21 pilots to whom he had sold faulty parts.
Two simultaneous top five singles
Dun’s band is one of only three musical acts to simultaneously have two singles in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100.
He became too famous!
After their phone number was listed in the music video for ‘Stressed Out,’ Dun’s parents had to cancel their landline telephone connection to avoid calls coming in at all hours.
Josh Dun FAQs
What was Twenty One Pilots’ first hit?
The band’s single, ‘Holding on to You’ reached No. 11 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.
What is the Twenty One Pilots symbol?
The ‘Ø’ glyph is used in the name of the band, where it replaces the ‘o’s’ in the words ‘one’ and ‘pilots’ (Twenty Øne PilØts).
How did Debby Ryan meet Josh Dun?
According to Ryan’s Instagram caption, their first date was at a restaurant where Dun learned how to tie a bow tie for the first time.
Josh Dun’s birthday dates