Texte : Years ago on a tour in Australia, Joe Strummer from the Clash bought me a gift. He handed me a cartridge, meant for the use of rolling "smokable items", and said these words, "I used to walk around saying 'Fuck you, I'm in The Clash, Fuck you, I'm in The Clash!'..well now that I think about it, The Talking Heads were pretty fucking cool." Unbeknownst to me, he and his son were quite the big fans.
It was a small lesson that changed everything for me. As a kid I used to live and breathe only punk rock music, truthfully, and somewhat myopically. But the advice was simple, open your eyes, appreciate honest art, because honest art can change the world. So the very next day I flew back to the US, away from Mr. Strummer, and the conversation with the now late Clash front man was forever echoing in the back of my mind.
As a teenager, it was far too easy to judge music and rank bands unfairly against others. And most often it was done most ignorantly. But every once and awhile, someone comes along with a bit of well-oiled experience and hints of the ever changing temperature right at the step of our door. As when the great Pete Townsend once did, as he personally compared my band to his (The Who), in front of a crowd of thousands in San Diego. And as he quieted the large crowd to a ghostly whisper, he explained we represented a new and electrifying generation of youth, "to my son, Blink-182 is THE WHO...." Now that’s a bit of a line to swallow, but he said it, and I shall choose to brag about it.
I think as you get older you shed the burden of who is cooler, and the question is who is honest, because that's what in the end is truly cool.
Angels & Airwaves created "We Don't Need to Whisper" two years ago, amongst a lot of unanswered questions. To be searching for the new and correct path in life while I personally was losing my mind, well, it was quite a marathon to say the least, and also a drastic understatement.
The stress came in part from my decision to quit my band Blink-182, to start a new band, a new family and choosing to do it while being spun out on pain killers for a shattered disk in my back. All of which started as a young teenager, and exists in an even worse condition to this day. Many years of treatment have turned into quite a euphoric ride, one that almost killed me during the launch of the first Angels and Airwaves record. Well, truthfully, it ended up painting an odd picture to the world, and the press alike... even if we were getting the most incredible reviews I have ever gotten.
"It's potential is a force to be reckoned with... " Billboard
"The songs are every bit the anthems he wants them to be..." NY Post
"the results are some stunning moments of perfection...." Kerrang
These were all life changing events.....But it was the truth, the message behind this band, that inevitably made me practice what I was preaching...if you can just see yourself differently in the world around you, then the world around you will change, and possibly the world itself.
I- empire is the second half of our first album. It reflects an idea that the world is yours for the taking, and all that exists, exists inside you. It can be something as trivial as a personal struggle, or as grand as the inescapable idea of world peace.
To help the story along, the cover was commissioned and painted by the brilliant Drew Struzan, the artist best known for his work with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. He can sum up a complicated story in a few beautifully planned brush strokes.
The drums are by Atom Willard, from the critically acclaimed Rocket From the Crypt. He has always felt to me like the single largest score in music. He is a loyal, honest and humble friend, but an even better showman.
Rhythm guitarist David Kennedy, is the one person I can always rely on to keep us doing what ever it is we believe in, regardless of the outside temperature. None of this would exist today without him, and none of this would feel quite as cool. I call him the James Dean of Punk Rock, as he is often spotted on his café-racer motorcycle unifying the coasts of the mainland US.
Matt Wachter, on bass guitar, is our last, but invaluable addition. He hails from the much-revered 30 Seconds to Mars, and was the final missing ingredient to our group. He naturally understands music can and should be communicated through multiple forms and shapes, like cinema, graphic arts, new-media etc...
Please take a short 55 minutes to enjoy the album. Listen to it blasting from your car, maybe on a hill over-looking a city...and all the while, pretend that the city, as it stretches far beyond the horizon, is all yours for the taking.
-Tom De Longe . Angels & Airwaves, an American rock band