We’re less than five weeks out from The Airborne Toxic Event’s return at the El Rey Theater, where they’ll lift the curtain on the new tunes that will no doubt dominate our playlists in the not-too-distant future. I think we’re all ready.
Shooting from the Lip
Sometimes I feel bad for avoiding Twitter. Then I think, “What would Tom Waits tweet?”
Then I go back to writing songs.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) February 15, 2015
What a transformation we’ve seen in Mikel Jollett over the past half year or so. The man who once had the above statement as his pinned tweet and wrote an album (Dope Machines) that was in many ways a lament of our social media culture has discovered the power of the medium, harnessing it to become one of Donald Trump’s fiercest Twitter critics and expanding his own Twitter following five-fold in the process.
In a candid moment of reflection, Jollett explained the shift in his posting habits.
Also I believe this is a unique moment in history. Fascism works in silence. I want to be counted as someone loudly against this president.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 22, 2017
Anyway, I’m just going to keep saying what I believe to be true. And writing songs about it. And I hope we can be friends.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 22, 2017
I’ve written previously about the backlash he’s received from certain segments of The Airborne Toxic Event fan base, who line up on the opposite side of the political divide. And it certainly hasn’t abated any, with a number of listeners having taken to Twitter to declare their TATE fandom finished. Jollett, though, remains rightfully unapologetic.
We have always spoken out about things we believe in. We always will. There are things that are much more important than record sales. https://t.co/1mAfS1X6Fj
— Airborne Toxic Event (@Airborne_Toxic) February 9, 2017
That being said, it will be interesting to measure the actual impact of Jollett’s strong stance when all is said and done. Most of the 30,000 new Twitter followers he’s gained in the past six months were not TATE fans to begin with; in fact, he recently joked that many of them probably haven’t yet realized he’s in a band. By no means do I think his outspokenness has been motivated by commercial concerns, but one would imagine that the attention he’s attracted can only help record sales when the new music is released.
On the other side of the social media coin, Jollett shut down his personal Instagram account earlier today. In doing so, he mentioned that he’ll be exclusively posting on the @airborne_toxic account from now on, raising hopes that we’ll soon be seeing more activity over there.
GIRLSCHOOL Dreaming Big
Late last month, Anna Bulbrook’s GIRLSCHOOL collective held their second annual festival in Los Angeles. Bulbrook and her crew are quickly making a real name for themselves, as this year’s festival received extensive coverage and spawned several interviews with the founder.
LA Weekly’s feature was particularly informative, and included this nugget on what may be coming down the pipe: “They’ve got big plans ahead — a podcast series, a record label, more partnerships and collaborative projects.”
For a glimpse inside GIRLSCHOOL’s flagship weekend, check out UPROXX’s behind-the-scenes video.
Have You Got All You Ever Wanted?
There are still a few tickets remaining for our All I Ever Wanted: An Evening of Toxic History event in Los Feliz on March 24. Join us for a big-screen showing of the band’s documentary concert film in their hometown! You may even get lucky and take home an Airborne prize, such as a Toxic History scarf, tote bag or mug, a handmade Mikel Jollett knitted doll or a TATE cookie gift box. We’ll also be giving away a Disney Park Hopper Pass for 2. Hope to see you there!
A Personal Update, and a Programming Note
As many readers are aware, in the fall of 2014 my 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. After 842 days, I am thrilled to report that tomorrow is her final day of chemo! It has been a long, extremely hard road, and to say we’re excited to be at the end of it is putting it very mildly.
I cannot thank the Airborne fan community enough for your extraordinary support through these difficult years. So many of you have supported us in so many ways. My family and I are forever grateful to have had you behind us.
Next week, my wife and I are embarking on a long-awaited vacation to recover from the madness. So, I’ll be offline and out of the TATE news loop for awhile. But TIN will be back with coverage of the band’s big gig later in March, and of course I hope to see you the following evening at the All I Ever Wanted party.
In keeping with the theme of The Airborne Toxic Event and politics, here’s a throwback to 2011 and one of Jollett’s boldest statements of politically-induced rage: “Welcome to Your Wedding Day.”
Glen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere and author of Toxic History: The Story of The Airborne Toxic Event. 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.