ANGELS And AIRWAVES and Blackpool Lights at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Wednesday (May 24), 7 pm doors. All ages. $29.50, sold out. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
Screw all that noise about musicians who have some warped sense of entitlement because they used to play in a popular band - you know, the kind who assume they can coast on past achievements even though their new shit frankly ain't as good.
However. Sometimes people get it right. Enter Angels and Airwaves, the new project/supergroup spearheaded by Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge, who, with Rocket from the Crypt's Atom Willard, the Distillers' Ryan Sinn and Boxcar Racer's David Kennedy, according to drummer Willard, have done all they can to up the ante.
"Nobody wants to repeat what he's already done, so hopefully we'll still come out as a new band and be viewed as a new band," says Willard on the phone en route to their new video shoot in L.A.
I know what you're thinking: total clichéd bullshit. How many times have we heard how such and such band is totally gonna push itself to the limit? Or some douchy singer going, "Man, I was just getting started with my old band, but you ain't seen shit yet"?
But there's one tiny difference here: the dudes in Angels and Airwaves actually have the talent and scope to do a few things differently. After the demise of Blink in 05, DeLonge enlisted some players to help him realize his new vision.
"We're trying to make short films for all the songs on the record - not for TV, but for those fans who want to experience more. We're also making a full-length movie. [The trailer's already up on the band's website.] It's something - a big project and daunting at times."
Willard describes the film as one part love story, one part war story and one part band documentary.
"Basically, it's about human conflict - losing a friend or fighting with a partner, being separated or living without - while at the same time it's about the incredible feeling you get with true love. These are the things that make people who they are."
After a year of steady, almost daily work, according to Willard, the band felt like they'd explored all those elements and were finally ready to throw themselves back onto the stage. But even though A and A have been burdened with never-ending hype since the project first surfaced, Willard and his bandmates may not have been prepared for the amount of interest they've encountered, since the album hasn't even been officially released yet.
They've weathered a few setbacks, including DeLonge blowing out his voice from a constant stream of interviews, rehearsals, performances, video shoots and whatever else comes along with being in a popular band,
"It's tough and busy. Just like the concept of our new video, we're in two different worlds. We're trying to find the balance between what we want to do, what we feel we have to do and what we're able to do."
Even with the overwhelming interest in their new project, Willard, Delonge and company haven't been able to escape their country's real war.
"The war is such a fucked-up thing. Who could even begin to offer a reason to any sane human being? If you look at the second world war, it was so definitive - to fight against such a horrible force.
"Now nobody knows why we're there. Tom's brother was actually in Iraq as a Navy SEAL. He can't even talk about it. But we see it in his face."