Tom DeLonge says he’s driving the car that will change the world – The Cincinnati Enquirer

When Tom DeLonge could no longer play live shows last year due to the pandemic, he pivoted to those pursuits common among so many musicians: filmmaking … and studying UFOs.

DeLonge’s company, To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science, has the mission of explaining the previously unexplained when it comes to unidentified aerial phenomena, an updated phrase meaning unidentified flying objects.

For DeLonge, it’s serious business, and it connects to the art he makes, as the bandleader of Angels & Airwaves, the rock group he founded after leaving Blink-182, and as a filmmaker. DeLonge makes his directorial debut in the forthcoming sci-fi film “Monsters of California.”

DeLonge discussed these projects and “Lifeforms,” the new Angels & Airwaves album, before the band’s Oct. 12 show in Newport.

Question: How was Lollapalooza? That must have been quite the first show in over a year. You’re not easing back into it with that gig.

Answer: That was mind-bending. We haven’t played for a year-and-a-half, so we walk out in front of 110,000 people. I was tripping at the enormity of it. Usually, you do those things when you’re touring actively and it’s along the cycle of numerous tours. You start throwing in festivals. To have a one-off that way is always a bit stressful. But the show went really well. It was a lot of fun. People had a really great time. There wasn’t some crazy COVID outbreak, at least none that I heard about. It was cool to see music up and happening again.

Q: What were you doing during the pandemic?

A: Working on my album and then went and made a movie. I wrote and directed a film that’s a companion piece to the album, called “Monsters of California.” That was a large part of my focus. The amount of effort that goes into making a movie – that’s the most focused and the most mentally exhausted I’ve ever been in my life. I remember finishing principal of photography. It took me like three weeks to feel normal again. I was so drained. It was just a wild, wild experience but totally fulfilling.

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Q: So the movie is a companion piece to “Lifeforms?”

A: Yes, absolutely. Angels & Airwaves has always been doing this from day one. We’ve done a movie before with a double album, but it was more of an arthouse movie concept. But this is a very mainstream film. This is like a Spielberg-Amblin version of an R-rated comedy-adventure. Paranormal and skateboarding and everything. Coming of age. I basically was just like, how do I merge John Hughes, Spielberg and a bit of Seth Rogan’s humor all into one thing, which is essentially what I have always been or Blink-182 have always been in my mind. It’s exciting. But the “Lifeforms” album and the movie do two different things. It’s the study of our interactions with each other and believing that our belief systems and the way we grow and experience each other, that’s what it’s all about. The movie takes it further, conceptualizing and discussing really what happens once you realize all these weird paranormal situations that happen to so many people … what happens when you start to realize, no, it’s a fundamental physics of the universe and how it works, and that life and the universe are not what you think they are. UFOs are not what you think they are. That’s part of my life’s purpose these days, is to get people the foundation to be able to absorb that information that’s now gonna start coming out from the U.S. government and other governments over the years.

Q: Is it necessary for people to be familiar with the album in order to enjoy the movie and vice versa?

A: No, it’s not necessary. I figured this out 15 years ago when I started, that the music has to live on its own. The film projects have to live on their own, but if one interests you enough, you can jump into the other and have a deeper understanding of the themes and the consequences of those themes at any given time. If this sparks them on the inside, then they can take a deeper dive and go down the rabbit hole, and that’s always been the methodology that I wanted to use to get people to think a little bit more differently about the potential of their lives versus thinking that they’re supposed to just work (freaking) nine hours a day, be stuck in traffic and only go to the mall on the weekends. And then they take a two-week vacation every year. And that’s it. That’s not life. That’s like a construct that we built over a few hundred years. That’s really not what it’s supposed to be or all it can be.

Q: Do you get a fair shake in the press? Is your voice being heard?

A: It is now. It took a while. A lot of people thought I was crazy. They were like, “He quit his band to chase aliens.” And then I came out and said I was working with some people that have high-ranking positions in the U.S. government, and they’re like, “OK, he’s lying.” And then all of the sudden, everything else comes out, and all of the people that joined my company from the CIA and the Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin, and they go, “Holy (crap). He wasn’t lying.” And then we got the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy to come out and admit that these objects were real. That they were working on them, and they do know things about them. We set up all the briefings in the Senate. The White House helped initiate the task-force document. So then everyone’s starting now coming around going, “Oh my god, let’s go back and revisit some of the things that he said and give him a bit more time to explain what’s going on.” I’m having a lot of that happen now, but for a long time, people thought I was nuts. I signed up for that, so it doesn’t bother me. I knew what I was doing. I know what I’m doing, and I’m one thousand percent confident in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, because there’s a lot more coming. I’m kind of in the front seat of a very fast-moving car that will change the world. 

If you go

What: Angels & Airwaves with Bad Suns and 1990nowhere.

When: 6:30 p.m. (doors) Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Where: PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation, 101 W. Fourth St., Newport; 859-900-2294.

Tickets: $85-$34.50.



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