Tom DeLonge’s 11 Best Moments
He’s just returned with a brand new Angels & Airwaves epic, Rebel Girl, announcing a bunch of tour dates in the process, and it sure feels good to have Tom DeLonge back. For over 20 years the blink-182 founder and outer-space obsessive has wowed us with whatever he’s turned his hand to, be it pop-punk, post-rock or the production of movies. In celebration of his return to action, here are Tom’s 11 defining moments: from scrappy beginnings to the heights of stardom…
That Time He Started blink-182
In the summer of 1992, Tom DeLonge, determined to break-out of the San Diego suburbs where he spent his teenage years, formed a band then known as simply ‘blink’. Founded with drummer Scott Raynor before the two were introduced to bassist/co-vocalist Mark Hoppus, they’d jam for hours in Tom’s garage and Scott’s bedroom, penning early cuts like Carousel and recording the demo tape Buddha. A year after Buddha’s release, the re-christened ‘blink-182’ would release debut album Cheshire Cat, its modest success sparking a major label bidding war, in turn realising Tom’s ambitions of being in a serious band.
That Time He Wrote All The Small Things
You know the one! Arguably the biggest pop-punk song of all time, full of ‘na na nas’ and seemingly played every night at every rock club. All The Small Things, following on from the success of What’s My Age Again?, catapulted Tom and blink-182 into the mainstream. A timeless classic, and the ultimate throwback anthem for ’90s kids.
That Time He Starred In The Mark, Tom And Travis Show
Sure, Tom performs a bunch of early blink songs pretty fucking well here, but everyone remembers this live album for the ludicrous amount of toilet humour. Case in point: the original lyrics to Aliens Exist read, ‘I got an injection of fear from the abduction / My best friend thinks I’m just telling lies.’ Cue Tom changing them to, ‘I got an injection of blood from the erection / My best friend thinks I’m just humping guys.’ Delightful.
That Time He Was In American Pie (And The Simpsons)
When Tom first picked up a guitar, one imagines he always dreamed of having a role in a cult teen sex comedy where his only job is to pray that the malfunctioning webcam starts working so he can resume watching a guy gyrate in his bedroom. That’s what every young punk aspires to, right? Tom also provided dialogue in an episode of The Simpsons where blink-182 guest-star, which is really cool.
That Time He Formed A Dark Punk Band
Fed up of the shackles he felt blink-182 placed on his creativity, in 2001 Tom formed Box Car Racer with current blink sticksman Travis Barker, the two taking their new band down a darker path that incorporated elements of post-hardcore, emo and alt.rock. Spawning mega tunes like There Is and I Feel So, Box Car Racer’s sole album is a ripper – the only downside being that its creation drove a wedge between Tom and Mark Hoppus that the pair struggled to overcome.
That Time He Uttered The Words 'Where Are Yeeeeew?'
The inspiration for many a Tom DeLonge meme it may be, but 2003 blink ballad I Miss You is a stand-out in the band’s back-catalogue. Following on from the sombre nature of the Box Car Racer album, his vocals here contribute to one of his most heartfelt and emotional performances during the time he spent with the pop-punk legends.
That Time He Got Political
President Tom DeLonge? It’s got to be better than the current guy. And besides, we might get to see some extra-terrestrial shit go down with Tom at the helm. He’s got some political pedigree too, having travelled with presidential candidate John Kerry around the U.S. in 2004 while the Democratic nominee was seeking to unseat George W. Bush. At the time, Tom described John as “the antithesis to the president we have now.”
That Time He Conceived An Alt.Rock Supergroup
Five albums and 14 years in, Angels & Airwaves continue to be one of the most intriguing and unpredictable bands in rock. Now back with storming new song Rebel Girl and a host of U.S. tour dates, we can only hope there’s more to come soon from what is now Tom DeLonge’s main band. Together with ex-Box Car Racer and Hazen Street guitarist David Kennedy and Nine Inch Nails drummer Ilan Rubin, Tom continues to push Angels & Airwaves into new territory.
That Time (And All The Other Times) He Wrote A Book
With over 10 written works of various kinds – comics, novels and children’s books – to his name, it’s clear Tom DeLonge is more than a lyricist. Whether they’re Angels & Airwaves tie-ins like Poet Anderson or innocent tales of life in outer-space (The Lonely Astronaut On Christmas Eve), Tom always manages to write with the heart and passion we’ve come to expect from his music. Expect more written stories from him in the near future – the man is prolific.
That Time He Produced And Scored A Film
Working with director William Eubank, Tom and his Angels & Airwaves bandmates produced the sci-fi-drama film Love, which was released in 2011. A story of outer-space isolation that’s been compared to acclaimed sci-fi epics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Moon, Love features a score composed by the band, something they’d repeat with 2014 short film Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker.
That Time He Released A Solo Album
Tom DeLonge’s only solo album, To The Stars… – which shares a name with its creator’s multimedia company – is described as a collection of demos, odds and ends from his “personal stash” of material. Containing tracks which could’ve easily blossomed into either blink-182 or Angels & Airwaves songs, it’s yet further proof of his creative drive. Taking in both anthemic pop-punk (New World) and accomplished, acoustic tenderness (The Invisible Parade), it’s music that sounds like it could have only been written by one man.