Tom Delonge of Angels N Airwaves Soars Out of Blink-182's Punk Orbit

It's Been Such a Delonge Time
Angels N Airwaves soar out of Blink-182's punk orbit

Sideways-hat-wearing kids were bummed when San Diego pop-punks Blink-182 broke up. Then some of them got even more unstoked when Tom DeLonge unveiled his newest project, Angels N Airwaves. Those looking for Blink Version 2.0 will be disappointed to hear the singer/guitarist traded in ultra-fast songs and dick jokes for atmospheric pop reminiscent of the Police and U2. Angels N Airwaves released their debut, We Don't Need to Whisper, in 2006 and followed that with 2007's I-Empire. The ambitious quartet plan to issue two films—a documentary and a feature—in the near future.

OC Weekly: Did you ever expect to be playing or listening to anything that wasn't punk?

Tom DeLonge: Punk is good for teenagers to find themselves and identify with something; it's really stupid for adults to talk about it because it's just fashion. We're still listening to the same shit, but we don't go around like we're part of this little group of kids that are pissed and elitist because that's something you got to do to make yourself feel better.

Is starting over exciting?

I'm a guy who confidently says I have a vision. I knew Angels N Airwaves had limitless potential because I took everything I learned and did it better. We became a real band by playing clubs. There was a lot of shit we needed to fix. I wasn't mentally stable on that first record. I was spun out on painkillers and wasn't focused on health and the real me. The second record showed we were living what we were talking about.

So you're now a legit band?

This is absolutely real. It took a while, but it's more of a band than anything I've ever been a part of. We don't like to call ourselves a band; we like to call it a fine-arts project because we see ourselves doing a lot of different things.

You created a lot of hype before your first record.

I wasn't sober, that's why. I was fucking with people to a degree, but what I couldn't understand was for 10 years, I said I fucked dogs; now, I say this, and people really want to believe me. I did feel and believe those things, but I had no clue how to communicate because I was spun out on painkillers. It caused a lot of controversy, which I knew would happen. It was rad, but also a timebomb ready to explode. When you see the documentary, you'll see the band going, “Dude, will you shut up?”

You've said you wanted to show people that life could be how they wanted it to be. How do you explain that to those who don't have opportunity lying at their feet?

Everything starts at having the ability to see it happen. If you can't see anything getting better, then it never will. I didn't want to play music after the breakup of Blink, and then I saw it happening and decided to challenge myself to continue that thought, and it started working.

Why couldn't you do this with Blink?

The communication and love of being in a band wasn't there anymore. Everyone was fighting because no one wanted to give up territory in what they believe in or what they want, and it became really toxic.

Tell us about your two upcoming films.

The documentary is full of CGI and live footage. It's super-DIY. It's meant to be extremely ambitious to put ourselves out there.

Have you seen Metallica's Some Kind of Monster?

Yeah, I hated it. I couldn't believe they put that out there.

So there are no cringe moments in yours?

No. When there's music under you saying you're an idiot, it sounds epic. [Our film's] not cringe like that, even though it's the most cringing times in my life. Talking about drug abuse, quitting Blink, having my friends tell me I want so badly to be relevant again. . . . It shows the story of how I stopped preaching the message and started acting it. The other one's a circular narrative, to a degree. It's a collection of different actors and vignettes tied together under one commonality. We worked on all the story lines, made sure we got the right people to direct; we paid for it, and we're scoring it.

Angels N Airwaves perform at the House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583; Wed. N Fri., 7:30 p.m. $25. All ages.

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