Exclusive: Tom DeLonge Talks About Blink-182 And Being ‘Spun Out’ While Building An ‘Empire’

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We were backstage during today’s TRL Rock Band special, crammed into a tiny room at the Times Square Hard Rock with Angels & Airwaves, Sebastian Bach and Flyleaf. (Poor us, right?) The tight quarters gave us a chance to get up close and personal with AVA’s Tom DeLonge. Here’s what we found out about his band’s new album, his addiction to pain killers and what the deal is between him and his former Blink-182 bandmates.

Buzzworthy: Tell us about your documentary, Start the Machine.

Tom DeLonge: The documentary is being finished right now, and it was submitted to Sundance. It’s an odyssey, and we’ve been working on it for two years. It started out as a making of the record and then the story got pretty insane. I broke my back years ago and got spun out on all these narcotics, so when we were making the first Angels & Airwaves record [We Don't Need to Whisper] all that stuff kind of exploded and I went out into the press with all these crazy things and all this controversy erupted.

BW: Because of something you said?

TD: Yeah, ’cause I went out and said [the band] was the second coming of Christ. But that’s what’s funny in the documentary; I was like, “If God came down I really, truly believe it wouldn’t be bigger than this record.” [Laughs.]

BW: Is all that behind you now?

TD: Yeah, it’s all behind me. But the documentary will shed a lot of light onto the meaning of this band and what we’re trying to accomplish and how it all stemmed from the breakup of Blink-182.

BW: Speaking of Blink, have you talked to your former bandmates since the breakup?

TD: No, I haven’t talked to them. Isn’t that weird? It’s one of those things. You have to give it time. We had 10 years under our belt.

BW: What’s your favorite song off your new album, I-Empire?

TD: I really like “Lifeline” a lot. It was the first song I sang after I was sober.

BW: That was really the first time you sang sober?

TD: Yeah, in four or five years or something. That’s what’s cool about it. The song is about God finding you. Growing up, I came from a religious background, and there’s an old psalm about footprints in the sand. So it’s about God walking next to you and saying I’ll take you for a ride; here’s a lifeline. It’s pretty rad.

BW: What else makes this album special?

TD: If people are gonna give this record a chance, I ask that they find a hill that’s nearby, park their car, open the car doors, lay on the hood, blast the music at night and pretend that the city below is theirs.

BW: Have you done that?

TD: I did. Every day while making it; pretty much in my head.

Watch AVA’s new video, “Everything’s Magic,” and then check back here tomorrow to see what Tom had to say about the song. Plus, we’ll have more backstage tidbits from Sebastian and Flyleaf.

UPDATE: Read more of what Tom had to say here.