2014 was a tale of two years for The Airborne Toxic Event.
The first seven months of the year was arguably the quietest stretch in the history of the band. Apart from the news that Noah Harmon was taking a baby break and a short mini-tour in February, TATE largely disappeared from view as Mikel Jollett ensconced himself in a room somewhere to hammer out the guts of the next album.
And then came August. Noah was fired; Adrian was hired. The first fruits of Mikel’s labor were debuted on stage as the band geared up for their most ambitious tour yet: an eight-week jaunt across North America and back that brought surprises every night. The promotional machine started to rev as Airborne dropped a new single, “Wrong,” and prepared to release the album early in the new year.
As for This Is Nowhere, we went into overdrive at the same time the band did, both in terms of our output and the level of interest from the TATE fan community. We added two writers to the team. For awhile, TIN threatened to become a full-time job.
And then real life rudely interrupted, as it is wont to do. Late October brought news of my daughter’s leukemia, immediately throwing everything into sharp perspective.
I thought about taking an extended break. I settled for just slowing down. I released myself from self-inflicted pressure to stick to a schedule or meet a weekly quota of posts.
But an interesting thing happened along the way: TIN, and the community that has formed around it, became an unexpected source of strength during the most difficult, draining period of my life.
My family and I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support from my fellow TATE fans. I’ve lost count of the e-mails and cards and gifts that have been sent by people I have never even met, with whom the only bond I share is a common love for the band that provides us with a soundtrack for life’s best and shittiest moments.
I also came to the realization that, while cancer is going to rob us of many things as we go through two years of treatment, it doesn’t have to rob me of this. Night after night spent sitting in a quiet hospital room provides plenty of time to write, as it turns out. And so we continued, albeit with a limp.
As we close the books on a year to remember and look forward to officially entering the Dope Machines era, here’s a look back at some of the highlights from the past twelve months of This Is Nowhere.
Top 5 Posts
The following posts were the most widely read of the year.
5. The Hitchhiking Game: A song analysis of “All I Ever Wanted,” comparing and contrasting it with the Milan Kundera short story on which it is based.
4. Toxicity 40: Newsapalooza Edition: Though their rain-soaked performance at Lollapalooza was one of The Airborne Toxic Event’s defining moments of 2014, the on-stage action took a backseat to a plethora of off-stage news that broke that weekend: namely, the permanent departure of Noah Harmon, confirmation that Adrian Rodriguez was now an official member of the band, and a time frame for the release of the next album.
3. Review: The Airborne Toxic Event Premieres Two New Songs at Boonstock: Two days before Lolla, TATE gave us the first taste of their promised new sound in the form of two new songs (“Dope Machines” and “California”) debuted at a tiny festival in an out-of-the-way town in British Columbia.
2. A Plea to TATE Fans: A few days later, I was awakened in the middle of the night by my phone BLOWING UP with alerts from TATE fans after Noah went public with news of his firing. I wrote this response at 3 am.
1. Ugly Love: After reading that bestselling author Colleen Hoover is a huge Airborne fan who found inspiration for her latest novel in “The Fifth Day,” we interviewed the writer to learn more about the connections between the band and her book. This Is Nowhere was promptly overrun by “CoHorts,” who set a single day traffic record that will be difficult to break anytime soon. Hopefully a few of them were turned on to TATE in the process. (Incidentally, Ugly Love is soon to become a motion picture starring Nick Bateman.)
5 Personal Picks
In case you missed it, here are five of my personal favorites from the past year:
Toxic History Series: Okay, this is kind of cheating, because it’s actually seven posts (and counting), not one. But, of all that we’ve undertaken at This Is Nowhere, I am most excited about our ongoing effort to produce a comprehensive history of the band. We are aiming for completion in early 2016, at which point we hope to explore book publishing options. If you haven’t had a chance to read along, the holidays are the perfect time to catch up.
Crafting an Icon: Creating The Airborne Toxic Event’s Bird: Our team of writers worked exceptionally hard this fall to cover The Airborne Toxic Event’s fall tour to within an inch of its life, providing in-depth Fillmore previews, show reviews, nightly setlists, a digital programme and an exclusive sneak peek at the TATE Fillmore poster series. Perhaps the most unique entry was an interview with James Peterson, the artist who created the giant bird stage prop that literally loomed over the entire tour.
All Your Songs Are Sad Songs: Jamie shatters the myth that The Airborne Toxic Event is a major downer.
My Noah Memories: Julie bids a fond farewell to the bassist, sharing a series of memories collected through the years.
The Way Home: This post was stewed over and rewritten more than any other. As personally revealing as I am ever likely to get on This Is Nowhere.
Thank you very much to each and every one of you who have read, written, photographed, filmed, commented and danced alongside us this year, and especially to all who have encouraged us during my daughter’s illness. We hope to see you on the road in 2015!
Glen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.