I've recently re-discovered Angels and Airwaves' I-Empire. Three times a week as I drive to and from work, My Angel thrashes his Gibson, sings to inspire, leaving me with tingles down my spine and reminding me why an Indie girl like me was so dangerously easy in being lured across the dark barrier to Punk Rock; and so, unashamedly, this entry is about my unlikely relationship with Tom Delonge.
There's songs on I-Empire I wish everyone would listen to; Everything's Magic, Love Like Rockets, Sirens, Secret Crowds and Rite of Spring, being the tracks that leave me tingling the most, but it's not just the guitar, the lyrics are equally as inspiring, portraying me as some miming idiot as I drive through the countryside, but the music is so, I just can't stop.
I hesitate in using the word Genius, but I do sometimes wonder. Rite Of Spring, the 11th track on the album, blows my mind. An autobiographical track about how Delonge is the man he is today owing to his difficult family life as a kid but how he wouldn't change it,
"And if I could I would thank God, that I am here and that I am alive, and everyday I wake and tell myself a little harmless lie, the whole wide world is mine." (written by Angels and Airwaves)
When Blink 182 split I was gutted. I'd only just really started to appreciate their music, Blink 182 the album, being their best, but even back then I was a loyal follower of Tom, which I find really difficult to explain, because on the surface there is nothing obvious to link me with this man. With Liam Gallagher, Ian Brown and Mark Morriss, it's simple for people who know me to identify these artists with me, but Delonge?
We have a history that spans almost 8 years; the most intense being when Tom formed Angels and Airwaves. In Blink, he'd been the clown who's potential you knew was there, but never realised. At AVA's first UK gig at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, I noted a surprisingly unconfident, anxious and nervous Delonge as he opened his soul, and you just knew he was vulnerable. A family man now in his 30's was having to start again after a difficult "break up" with Blink, he had a lot to prove, and not just to himself.
At this time I was also starting again. I had a small baby, no career and trying to adapt to my "new" life as a mum. AVA was the soundtrack to that period in my life, one of which is very dear to me.
Delonge's "crappy punk rock" image had disappeared, replaced by a rather pensive and serious man, the crowd at the Ballroom, including me, didn't recognise. At times his "speeches" between songs were uncomfortable, the bearing of one's soul isn't always easy to hear, especially when you least expect it, but we listened because we knew standing infront of us was a man on the verge...we were right to trust our instincts.
By their 2nd album I-Empire, Delonge was back on form. He was happy and excited with glimpses of that funny man we loved so much. Finally he seemed comfortable in his skin, and he so knew he had us on side. At a gig at the Astoria in London a couple of years ago, this huge man stood with his back to the crowd whilst tuning his guitar and nonchalantly laughed as he said, "I know you're looking at me," and proceeded to hold his arms in the air and turn for us. Of course we were f***ing looking at him.
The thing with Tom these days is he doesn't feel the untouchable man he was in Blink 182; he's human again. I saw Blink play live at a UK Arena and AVA in several small venues and I know which I prefer.
I'm not going to use this as a forum for yes or no to Blink 182 reforming, but all I can say is, I'm just not sure. Those promotional pictures for Summer 2009 just look weird to me, I'm not sure you can go back to "crappy punk rock" when you've been "Anthem" - I hope I'm wrong, but so much more than that, I hope it isn't the end for AVA, a band who continue to inspire and assist me when creating. I doubt I would have written "A Love That Makes Life Drunk" had I not invited Delonge into my eclectic world, so why wouldn't he remain dear to me.
The legacy he has left on my work is quite remarkable, something I doubt I'll ever beable to explain. Whether it's through his music or his persona, he is probably in everything I have written in the last 5 years and as I begin on the next, I know he's there again. Unlikely as we may be, he remains the Angel as I write.
"Let's make this a new world, I swear you can go if you want to, and know that you have that within you " - Secret Crowds.
Indeed Mr Delonge.