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DID YOU READ

Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge talks Angels & Airwaves movies, his new video and being inspired by youth

Blink-182's Tom DeLonge

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By Chris Harris

Not that you probably couldn’t have figured this one out on your own, but Tom DeLonge is one busy lad.

In between running Macbeth Footwear and practicing with his Blink-182 compadres for the United Kingdom leg of the reunited band’s 20th Anniversary tour, Tom is also working on new tunes with his avant rock act Angels & Airwaves.

On top of that, Tom runs a technology design firm you may have heard of called Modlife; the company handles the official Web sites and fan clubs for a number of bands, including the White Stripes and Pearl Jam.

“I’ve always got 50,000 things going on,” DeLonge — also a devoted family man — tells IFC, just days before hopping a plane to London for a spate of Blink shows.

DeLonge — with Angeles & Airwaves — has also been branching out artistically, into film.

“We have three movies in the works,” Tom says. “One, I have not talked about at all. Another, people know about — it’s called ‘Poet Anderson,’ which is basically an epic about dreams. There is one that will come before that that I haven’t talked about yet because we are still deep in the discussions of who we are going to make that with and how. Those are coming, and we have a huge announcement about Strange Times,” a recently-launched site devoted to extraterrestrial life, paranormal activity, cryptozoology, and conspiracy theories.

“Strange Times is an Angels & Airwaves initiative as well, so this fall, when I get back from tour, we are launching a lot of stuff and there will be some large announcements for the rest of the year,” DeLonge says.

Tom insists he never had the desire to do anything with film until he “convinced” his pals in Taking Back Sunday to let him direct the video for their track “This Photograph is Proof (I Know You Know).”

“I did it [in 2004] and it was so artistically satisfying,” DeLonge recalls. “I just loved it, everything about it. I think I have an understanding of that medium. When we created Angels & Airwaves, we knew that we weren’t really going to be able to compete in a normal, orthodox way because we didn’t have a label, so we kind of felt like the only way we could get people interested in our art was by doing ambitious things. And we decided one of those things would be film.”

Last year, the band’s first film, “Love” — the story of an astronaut, cut off from Earth, waiting to die as he orbits through space — was hailed by critics for its beauty and imagination.

“We took five years to make ‘Love,’ and I think we did a really great job,” DeLonge says, before taking a second to reflect. “You know, people say, ‘I think we did a great job.’ I think we did a fucking awesome job.” He laughs. “That got us excited about going into more ambitious territory.”

In addition to feature length films, Angels & Airwaves continue to push the proverbial envelope with their videos — like latest one for the track “Surrender.”

The video was inspired by the political unrest and social media-fueled uprisings that have rattled the Middle East within the last year plus.

“We had the idea of doing kind of a protest video, and we had a tiny budget — $60,000,” Tom says. “A week later, Kanye and Jay Z released a video that’s very similar; a bunch of kids in the street with riot police, and I guarantee you they spent a half a million bucks on that. There’s no difference in the production value whatsoever, and that just shows what we can do and how talented the individuals are we get to work with.”

DeLonge says he was inspired by the youth of the globe, “so it made sense to really celebrate the free speech and that protest element,” he says. “That, to us, is an important message. They would not let people keep them down and oppress them. The idea of freedom, free speech, and free will will triumphing over the long term — we are seeing that. I think we are seeing a reshuffling of the geo-political order right before our eyes. The new world order everyone has been talking about is starting to take shape, but not in such a malevolent way, hopefully.”

While universally recognized for his contributions to rock, Tom comes across as humble when asked whether he’s considered how he’ll handle being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I couldn’t imagine that we would ever be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he laughs. “I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know how the process works. If we ever did, I would laugh, and say, ‘It all started with a few dick jokes. Who woulda thought?’”

Indeed.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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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