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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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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