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Tom DeLonge Talks About “Love,” blink-182’s Reunion And The Biggest Moment of His Life

Tom DeLonge Talks About “Love,” blink-182’s Reunion And The Biggest Moment of His Life (photo)

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There’s something charmingly old fashioned about the way Tom DeLonge calls his first venture into the film world “a motion picture,” which may be a more accurate description of “Love” than he may know. A film that’s so beautifully captured in every individual frame that it easily lends itself to adjectives such as striking and haunting, its very plot is unstuck in time, caught between the future where an astronaut is grappling with his sanity as the end of his space mission draws near and the past where a lieutenant in the Civil War makes a discovery that could send ripples through chronology as we’ve come to accept it.

Appropriately enough, DeLonge and his band Angels & Airwaves have similarly closed the gap between one era and another with the science-fiction flick that they’ve not only scored, but will release later this year as part of a double album that its lead singer is keen to stress will be distributed independently. In this day and age, that means going back to basics, attending “Love”‘s premieres at the Santa Barbara and Seattle Film Festivals with a fleet of orange-jumpsuit-dressed astronauts and employing a showman’s zeal to turn something small but imaginative into something as epic and reverberating as the aural landscapes they’ve been known to create musically.

Love5_06092011.jpgMost of the heavy lifting has already been done, both literally and figuratively, by the film’s first-time director Will Eubank, whose reel caught the attention of Angels drummer Atom Willard and led to a four-year production in his parents’ backyard (of which he recounted every grueling detail in our interview with him back in February). Considering the space shuttle set Ron Howard used for “Apollo 13” not good enough despite limited means, Eubank made countless trips to Home Depot and pounded infinite furniture staples into a self-created spacecraft cabin to realize his vision, one that exemplifies Angels & Airwaves’ belief that anything is possible and simultaneously announces the arrival of a dynamic new filmmaker.

While in Seattle (where the film will show one last time on June 11th), DeLonge’s only singing was confined to the praises of Eubank, but the frontman also spoke of how “Love” was an ambitious next step for Angels and Airwaves, how he’s preparing for his biggest year ever with a reunion of blink-182, and the way the distribution of “Love” could set an example for independent artists everywhere.

How did this film evolve from the initial idea to shoot a series of music videos?

When we started Angels & Airwaves, we wanted to produce our art on different mediums, but the film was an ambitious one because we actually didn’t go into it thinking we could make a big feature film. We went into saying, hey, let’s make some really amazing imagery that can not only further the ambition of the band, but further the message of what the central theme is. The imagery came back a lot better than we expected, so we [thought] we should not just have vignettes, we should really try and have a cohesive story. That’s where we really had to double down and bet the whole house and farm. And this whole story really is Will, the director, the prodigy, the superhero — he’s Thor. [laughs] He built the space station by hand in his parents’ driveway. The Civil War battle he built in his parents’ backyard. It’s incredible what one guy did.

Love2_06092011.jpgWhile it’s his story, did you set any parameters for Will in terms of what you wanted to convey onscreen?

The way we operate is I’d like to pick somebody that I think I can communicate with, someone that I believe in, someone that aspirationally and ambitiously thinks the way I do. So we found Will. Then the second rule would be it has to be about human life and consciousness, something that is deeply spiritual and goes along with the ethos of Angels & Airwaves. It [also] had to be relative to space because the central theme of Angels & Airwaves is that space, if it is truly infinite, then there’s an infinite amount of possibility of what’s happening out there. So he came up with the idea of presenting a story about human consciousness revolving around space and telling a story of human connectedness, which is all about love.

Was it a different experience building music around imagery someone else has created whereas you’ve often had the imagery serving the music in your music videos?

When [Will] was filming this thing, because it took so many years, I was constantly thinking about how am I going to fit my music to his movie? How is this guy going to be running with a Civil War flag or laying down on a spaceship and am I just going to start singing? How would that not be distracting with my high-pitched, weird punk voice? [laughs] When the movie was finished, I was so much more inspired just to score the film and not have me sing at all in it to support the fact that not only is the band making motion pictures, but the motion picture is the central theme, not me. Not Angels & Airwaves. It’s the story. And that made me excited.

That’s cool that it’s such a pretentious, ambitious project, but we’re not putting ourselves out in the front at all. I’m not acting in it. I’m not singing at all in the film. That’s what’s catching people most off-guard. They’re like, “Wait, so you’re not even promoting yourself in this?” Because I want to be famous. No. I want to be famous for my art if I was lucky enough to have people like it. That to me would be really fulfilling, but I don’t want to be on camera and all that shit.

Love_06092011.jpgAngels and Airwaves’ sonic sound really seems complimentary to a film score. Has the band ever been asked to contribute a score to a film?

When we were trying to find out how to be us, we would surround ourselves with cinematic imagery, starting with Stephen Ambrose World War II books, just epic pictures of battles that I was just obsessed with the idea that all these 19 and 20-year-old kids were fighting Nazis and Russians in the last great war, where it was like good versus evil. [laughs] Not like the ones that are plagued in controversy like all the way up to now. The old Ambrose World War II books really helped capture our imagination of sad, cinematic music underscoring momentous events of human life. That’s how we found ourselves.

Later on, people really started coming out of the woodwork and we got so many comparisons to…this is the funniest thing: Bill & Ted’s Wild Stallions. They created the band to save the world. We got that a lot. But no one has approached us to make films. What’s weird is if [an actor] plays music, they’re judged quickly and if a musician goes and acts and makes a film, they’re judged quickly. Hopping that fence and doing art on both sides, you’re very quickly judged and it’s not an easy thing to do.

When you say the band was “finding out how to be us,” it’s interesting because the film spanned a very specific time for Angels & Airwaves where you really start coming into your own after releasing your first album “We Don’t Need to Whisper” and now when you’re leaving the group for a bit to reunite with blink-182. Does it feel like it captures a particular moment for the band?

It does because I think when blink got back together, the first thing everyone thought was okay, his little side project’s going away. And I was very quick to say, “No, this band is never going away.” People will go, well, why do you care so much about this thing? Because you’re the little rebellious punk guy that we grew up with and who are you acting like in this band? What people don’t understand is that’s who I am.

I’m also that guy from blink — [I like] potty humor, I got kicked out of high school. But every day, I read books on philosophy and science fiction and human consciousness. I’m passionate about those things, so the great timing of this right now is that Blink will release its new record this summer and all those fans will get what they’ve been waiting for, I think, and they’ll be really stoked because it’s a great record. It’s going to be really exciting.

Then right after that, we’re going to release the biggest art project in my entire life. This is like the pinnacle of anything I’ve ever released in my life. A double album with a feature film with a record label that I started. We’re 100% independent. The album will be released and the movie will be released and it’ll be marketed and distributed 100% independent from any publisher, any distributor, anything. It’s just so cool. We’re going to be free of the big machine, but doing the biggest release of my life.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.