With Blink-182 Finished, Tom DeLonge Follows his Calling

Tom DeLonge sounds like a man possessed by an angel.

He sounds more like the messiah than a rocker. I can picture him jumping on Oprah's couch to profess his love, not for Katie Holmes, but for the world he wants to change.

He sounds nothing like the singer/guitarist who was part of Blink-182. The pop-punk trio held a care-free attitude until it disbanded last year, arguably at the height of its popularity; at least, not far from it.

DeLonge has put his Blink-182 days behind him (he hasn't spoken to the other two members in over a year) and is now focused on his new project, Angels and Airwaves, which he says is "meant to be the biggest band in the world."

The band started when DeLonge had an epiphany while traveling on the political circuit with then-Presidential hopeful John Kerry.

"For a few weeks, my heart was beating very fast. It's something that happened where you know something really big is in store for your life," DeLonge tells andPOP. "It was the trippiest thing."

He thought at first, maybe it was a sign to get into politics. But he then realized it had to do with music. Blink was coming to an end and DeLonge was looking for his next musical calling, and he found it thanks to the manifestation.

"I created this Angels and Airwaves world and this idea that it's a soundtrack to my own personal life. If I can picture myself doing something, then it can happen. I pictured myself creating this heroic world and creating something special and living in the most positive way I could, and then everything started happening perfectly and magically around that."

To do that, he decided to be as autobiographical as possible. On "We Don't Need To Whisper," the debut CD from Angels and Airwaves, released last week, he used love and war as metaphors for the ups and downs in his life.

While passionate and honest, DeLonge didn't cite specific instances in his life in the lyrics. Instead, he relied on love and war to allow his fans the opportunity to interpret the lyrics for themselves.

Listening to the CD, the audience won't be able to learn much about the Blink-182 breakup, though DeLonge says he touches on his emotions of that difficult time for him through the analogy of war.

The split is still somewhat of a mystery to fans. Other than admitting that he wasn't enjoying his time in the band anymore, DeLonge says only he and his Blink bandmates – Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker – know the reason for the separation.

Recalling the happy times with Blink-182, DeLonge gushes over his ex-bandmates.

"Mark and Travis are amazing people. Travis is the most amazing musician I have ever met in my entire life. I would love to set aside an hour a day to watch him play drums. The guy is phenomenal. He's so charismatic. Mark is the funniest guy you've ever met, the most amazing songwriter. I've learned so much from him.

"I remember when we were working on 'Enema of the State' and he called me up at like one in the morning and he goes, 'check out this song,' and it was called 'Going Away to College,' and it was the perfect song to write about a girl when you're leaving and you're not going to see her."

After the split, the band released a statement saying they were going on an extended "hiatus." But barring some unforeseen turn of events, consider the band extinct.

"I'm at a time in my life where I needed to do something different for me and my family," DeLonge says. "I don’t know what the future holds. I just don't think now is the time. I would be honoured to play with those guys again but I just don't know when."

But Hoppus and Barker haven't been as complimentary towards DeLonge as he has been towards them.

On December 13 of last year, the day the first Angels and Airwaves material was released and DeLonge's birthday, a band called "+44," consisting of Hoppus and Barker, released their first song, "No It Wasn't" on their web site.

The song included the lyrics, "Please understand, this isn't just goodbye, this is I can't stand you," which many Blink fans interpreted as being about DeLonge.

DeLonge isn't so sure.

"I don’t know their intentions. They're probably hurt by the whole thing. It was probably tough on them like it was myself. I haven’t talked to them in over a year so I don’t know where they're coming from and I don’t know what they mean. They have their own choices of how they want to present their music and how they want to debut their band so I can't look into why they do what they do."

DeLonge has a hard time speaking about the breakup because he hasn't thought about Blink-182 in a while. He's been devoting all his time to Angels and Airwaves.

"The reason I'm stumbling right now is because I'm trying to collect my thoughts on it because I don’t really think about it because I'm so involved on what I'm doing now and it's so perfect for my life and it's so much bigger and powerful than I ever thought and I ever imagined. I don’t have time to look back. I can't. I went through that process. What's happening with Angels and Airwaves is so powerful and electric and people get it, and I finally found this thing that I'm meant to do. I'm tripping, to tell you the truth. I'm blown away by it. To stop and think about how they feel or what they are doing; it's like a breakup with a girl and you fall in love again; you don’t really think about that old girl really."

DeLonge says the main reason that he hasn't spoken to them in such a long time is because they were so close.

"I'm such a sensitive guy that if I would have seen myself falling into those conversations again, I probably would have surrendered what I knew was best for and what I needed to do. I needed to take time to go find an alternate road to happiness. There's only one person in the world who knew how I felt during all that stuff, so I had to do what was best for me."

And what is best for him, he believes, is, of course, Angels and Airwaves – also featuring guitarist David Kennedy (Box Car Racer), bassist Ryan Sinn (The Distillers) and drummer Atom Willard (Offspring).

"Every little thing we do, we make sure we do for the right reasons. I think people will be surprised about the feeling they get. Because we really look at this record not as a collection of good songs or a cool rock record; we look at this record almost as Pollock looked at his art, a recording of an event. We tried to make this album a recording of a feeling. It's a recording of an emotional event. Are you willing to surrender a little bit and try to do something deep inside yourself and change your life?

"It's about overcoming something that is a massive obstacle in your life and picturing yourself doing something amazing. You can do it. I figured it out myself."

- Adam Gonshor (andPOP.com)

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