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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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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