Today something special happened - the fantastically brilliant Angels and Airwaves released their 3rd album - "LOVE" - and what a day to do it.
The cool thing about "LOVE" is it's completely FREE to download - apparently it's do to with corporate underwriting, but I have been impatiently waiting for this album since "I-Empire", so for me it really is a special day. So, I download it to my PC, to my iPod and burn to disc and it's playing just about anywhere I can get it. As you can imagine, it's driving Big Fella to distraction, but he remains calm, after all, it is Valentine's Day, but it bothers him because it's that MAN again. So, we're driving into town this afternoon and the album is playing, knowing he will get the desired bite he wants he insinuates the songs sound the same. I scowl at him without saying a word, to which he laughs and says "he is the man whom shit wouldn't melt in his mouth" I laugh because I see the funny side, I have to say, if Big Fella was as "obsessed" with say, Cheryl Cole as I am with Tom Delonge, yeah, I might come out with a few quips too.
And OK, maybe I did push it a little too far earlier this week when changing my Facebook profile picture and my mobile screensaver to a rather delightful but risque photo of Tom revealing a little underwear and ass. I thought I'd get away with it until Little Fella picks up my mobile and says "mummy, the man's trousers are falling down and I can see his pants", I snatch the phone back and attempt to laugh it off as Big Fella shakes his head at me in despair.
I am a perpetual teenager.
I know I am bias but I love the album already. Yes it's not dissimilar to 'We Don't Need to Whisper' and 'I-Empire', but I love Angels and Airwaves for the sound they give me. Tom Delonge's voice is distinct, angst and honest - there is no mistaking him whether it's AVA, Blink 182 or Box Car Racer - he does what he does and damn I love it! Maybe I don't always have a clear head about these things, maybe I'm too involved to turn back, but it's FREE and all you have to do is download at the link below, so if you want to experience rebellion and listen to something sexy, passionate, raw and rocking, go on, do it!
You may see a little of why Tom Delonge remains this girl's unlikely hero
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.
See, me and big fella have had tickets for this show since May, and since it's been over a year since I've seen the lovely Tom D and the boys, I was dead excited. Anyway, come Wednesday, and me and little man have picked up some sort of stomach bug and by Friday I don't think I'm going to make it to London - I'm gutted.
So, a few tears later, and a "talk" by big fella, I decide I can't miss out on this, so, I slip a few carrier bags in my bag (incase of accident!) and we board the train to the big smoke. OK, so London's only fifty odd minutes away from me so I thought it wouldn't be too bad, except I forgot it was Bank Holiday weekend and the train was heaving, we couldn't get a seat and had to stand all the way, and to top it off, there were a bunch of drunken blokes travelling down from Wigan doing the Arctic Monkeys version of (get this) Girl's Aloud's Love Machine! Totally shocking!
Anyway, that aside, it was really great to be back in London, because I do love it there, it's like lots of little cities in one (Covent Garden and Camden being my personal favourites), and no matter how often I go there, I never tire of it, well, OK, my feet get tired, but that's all.
We get off the tube at Tottenham Court Road and round the corner we're confronted with a long line of EMO's hanging about outside the Astoria, and since neither me or big fella fit this "label", we head towards Leicester Square for some grub. Yeah, OK, so Pizza Hut isn't the most innovative ofplaces to go since we've got hundredes of gorgeous cafe bars and restaurants in front of us, but honest, this dodgy belly is leading my life at the moment (it really was a stunning pizza though - veggie supreme on an Italian base - yum).
After food, we drifted around Covent Garden - Momouth Street (drooling over the sexy Coco de Mer and uber cool designer Orla Kiely), nudging Big Fella's arm as we pass the Covent Garden Hotel hoping he might treat us one day(!). We then stroll through part of China Town, touching the outskirts of Soho before we think we should head back for the concert. London is amazing like this, it's dusk, people are bustling on their way to a night out, and I'm so happy I decided to take a chance and come along (and so far, no probs with the belly!)
Fair play to Tom Delonge, he is not a man to be rushed, to our detriment, because there is sweat dripping off the ceiling of the Astoria. It's sold out and it's bloody heaving. There's a few unsavoury smells floating about and alot of over zealous TD fans, not to mention some out right odd looking folk who don't really seem to know why they're here or who AVA are. Big Fella is gagging for a beer but can't face chopping through the hideous fragrances to get to the bar.
My personal favourite was a brill version of "Good Day". I love the album version anyway, and I hold it dear to my heart because it was the song that helped inspire me to write "A Love that Makes Life Drunk" - if you're interested, listen to the lyrics, they're amazing.
So without boring you anymore, because I really am a big fan, the show was an Athem as always wherever Tom Delonge is concerened, he's a master front man with a hell of a lot of charisma, which is I guess why he is, where he is - but him aside for a mo, cus I hate it when the front person steals the entire light, so hands together for the rest of the band, because I honestly believe if it wasn't for them, Tom D would not have got over alot of his Blink 182 "issues" - right, so there we go - but rest assured, I am tuning in to BBC Three tonight for the Reading and Leeds Festival highlights, just to catch a sneaky glimpse of that 6ft 4 inch frame again!
On a quick note, me and Big Fella upgraded to First Class on the train home - such luxury, especially as I got to tuck into a stunning (OK it was late by now) cheese Ploughman's sandwich and Diet Coke, and thumbs up to the lovely lady who spared us a thought when it came to paying for our tickets. Cheers. K.