Angels & Airwaves
- Los Angeles, California, United States
Tom DeLonge (Vocals/Guitar) [2005-Present]
David Kennedy (Guitar/Keyboard) [2005-Present]
Matt Wachter (Bass) [2007-Present]
Adam Atom Willard (Drums) [2005-Present]
Ryan Sinn (Bass) [2005-2007]
It takes a psychic warehouse of conviction—or a penchant for commercial suicide—to willingly walk away from one of the most successful rock bands in punk history. But that’s exactly what Tom DeLonge did when he extricated himself from Blink-182 in 2005. The guitarist hit the reset button on his career when he formed Angels And Airwaves, sporting a lineup featuring some well-respected players in the contemporary punk scene.
AVA (an abbreviation favored by DeLonge as a tribute to his daughter Ava) debuted in 2006 with a lineup featuring guitarist David Kennedy (who played in DeLonge’s post-punk side project, Box Car Racer, as well as Hazen Street), bassist Ryan Sinn (Distillers) and drummer Adam “Atom” Willard (Rocket From The Crypt). Their 2006 debut, We Don’t Need To Whisper, was marked by the decidedly atmospheric feel of many of the disc’s 10 songs, owing more to the halcyon days of U2 than anything DeLonge’s previous band had accomplished. When AVA went out on their first national touring campaign in support of the album (opening for Taking Back Sunday), critics frequently made the U2 comparison: The songs sounded even more majestic through a large PA system, as DeLonge would interact with audience members in spoken asides from the stage or directly, when he’d descend into the crowds armed only with a wireless microphone and a desire to connect. During interviews to promote the band, DeLonge would make such heady pronouncements that he was trying to “change the music industry forever.” Later, he’d admit that such highfalutin pronouncements were a by-product of the amount of painkillers he’d been taking for a chronic back injury.
In late 2007, the band’s second album, I-Empire was released, with an overarching theme influenced by DeLonge’s obsession with science fiction and space travel. (The album’s cover art was designed by the artist responsible for the Star Wars movie posters.) In the spring of the following year, Matt Wachter, formerly of 30 Seconds To Mars, replaced Sinn. In 2009, the band (along with former Jellyfish keyboardist Roger Manning) completed their third album, Love. The album was released free of charge exclusively via Modlife, the online social networking/band promotion portal created by DeLonge. (A physical edition with bonus material is slated for release later in 2010.) The band also created a feature-length film in conjunction with the record, slated for theatrical distribution for the late summer of 2010.
The trajectory of DeLonge’s career is a storied one, ranging from Blink-182’s rise, dissolution and re-birth, alongside his other roles as Modlife’s technological auteur and AVA CEO. When AP asked him in 2009 of how he balances things, DeLonge was as pragmatic as ever. “At any given moment, whatever I am doing is the top priority of that minute.”