Amanda with Anna Bulbrook

Amanda with Anna Bulbrook

Los Toxicos is a monthly feature where we get to know a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event. To nominate a fan (or yourself) for a future month, e-mail us.

Name: Amanda Brown (@AmandaSpeaking… but I hardly ever use Twitter)

Where are you from?

I am from Chester County, PA among the cornfields, Amish families and a whole lot of nothingness. I moved to Philadelphia, PA after graduating from culinary school and love living in the city. It is such a contrast to where I grew up. I love going home to visit though. It is honestly the best of both worlds.

Tell us about yourself (who you are, what you do for a living, hobbies, etc.).

I went to culinary school and was hired by a catering company right after graduation. I have been with the company for 8 years now and I love it. It leaves little time for a social life and no time for “hobbies” so I have created both in discovering a love for live music and dancing. I have found that concerts, music festivals and even local bar gigs are excellent places to meet amazing new friends.

Amanda reminds Mikel Jollett that she is not 9-years-old.

Amanda reminds Mikel Jollett that she is not 9-years-old.

How did you become a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event?

My brother had an album or two and passed it down to me in a bundle of musical suggestions (I usually come to him when I grow bored of my current music inventory). I really liked a few songs. When they came to Philadelphia in 2014, we both went to go see them. I was a brand new baby fan and knew next to nothing about them except that I really loved “Elizabeth.” We were standing in line outside of the Electric Factory and a guy came out to hang with us so I asked my brother who he was. He didn’t know so I was quickly looking up “The Airborne Toxic Event” on google image to try and figure out if he was in the band. I wasn’t fast enough. “Hey, I’m Mikel. Thanks for coming out to the show! What song do you really want to hear tonight?” I hoped and prayed that he was a member of Airborne and not of the opening band (In The Valley Below) and just grinned and replied simply with “Elizabeth” and a handshake. I was too embarrassed to think to ask for a picture, so thank goodness my brother thought of it.

I wish I knew how much my life would change that night. I fell in love with not just Airborne, but with music all together. I felt things I have never felt before and my heart was opened to a world I never dreamed of existing. I can’t explain or describe what it was that shifted in me that night, but I am sure you all know. All Airborne fans know that something secret, something special that cannot be described except as “magical” that happens when you are in their presence. It was life altering for me because I didn’t love them before that night. And then, all of a sudden, I was madly in love. And I was so late to the game. Noah was gone, Adrian had just started, I knew none of the names of any of the band members or any of the words to any of the songs and barely knew any song titles. But I was in love. And I hit the ground running.

Amanda and Mikel

Amanda and Mikel

Do any of your family or friends like The Airborne Toxic Event?

My brother whom I mentioned before likes them, but he isn’t crazy for them. My family (and most of my friends) think I have gone off the deep end after that October 3, 2014 show when I first met TATE. They just shake their head and wonder if I am off my rocker. My boss staged a (friendly, half joking) intervention one day because she thought I was actually insane. People have stopped following me on social media because they say, “All you post about is that band with the weird name” But I don’t mind. I just made new friends.

Airborne shows are GREAT for meeting some pretty amazing people. I have made lifelong friends while waiting in lines for hours and hours to get barrier for shows. One convinced me at the last minute to book a flight to the west coast to follow them through the end of their last tour and offered her hotel room for me to stay in every night because my bank account was flatlined. “Follow your dreams” she said. It was the best thing I have ever done on my life. I met Brooke (who nominated me!) on my west coast adventure and we discovered immediately that we were kindred spirits and were clearly meant to cross paths. She and I are the best of friends and never in a thousand years would have met if it weren’t for Airborne. (‘Cause it’s true love!) Some of my closest friends are ones I have made through Airborne. Soulmates to say the least. So, short answer: yes.

Did you convert them, or did they convert you?

I have yet to convert anyone to the extent of “Loving” them. I like making mix cd’s for my friends (I know, I’m stuck in 2006 still) and I always slip a TATE song or two in there. I am working on my dad right now. I think It was Mikel who converted me. Mikel and company.

What does your Airborne Toxic Event collection include?

I have all the albums, of course, and a poster of the 2014 tour, picks from all the boys (minus Noah) and even an Anna pick (!), 5 setlists, t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, countless pictures and an infinity of memories.

What’s your favorite TATE song and album, and why?

I absolutely refuse to pick a favorite song. It simply cannot be done. Each album is truly my favorite in some way or another. It is extremely difficult to narrow it down to just one as an ultimate favorite.

Gun to my head though, I would have to go with All At Once if only because of the raw and undefiled emotion laced within the lyrics of each and every song. Each song is such a story and the lyrics paired with the melodies have a magical way of just scooping your soul up and carrying you with them down the roads the songs are flowing through. That being said, and having declared All At Once as my final answer, I must add that since I was such a late bloomer to the game, Dope Machines (and SOGAW) was the first album that I got to experience the release of. Also, I wasn’t really in any kind of relationship with music before discovering Airborne so this was my first everything. First time waiting with held breaths and sheer excitement for the release of the album cover, the setlist, the drop date, the pre-order, the package in the mail containing my first autographed album… and the surprise SOGAW drop… I thought I was going into heart failure. I remember being at the laundromat and falling to the floor when I got the email that there was a surprise additional album being released with Dope Machines. So, obviously, Dope/Whiskey has a special place in my heart too.

Have you ever had a special experience at a TATE concert?

At Irving Plaza in NY, Mikel once stopped in the middle of a song and pointed at me and said, “What are you, 9!? Do you even know what we are singing about?” Then he pointed to my friend next to me and said, “Make sure you explain all this to her at some point of her life. Make sure she understands.” He continued the song and then stopped again at another point to make some other banter or joke about my age and then came down to hug me afterwards and asked my real age. Anna also came running up to me after the show and apologized profusely. She said that she covered her face and backed away from the stage as he was speaking and told him later once they were backstage, “Mikel! We know her! She is NOT 9!” I didn’t mind one bit. We all got a good laugh, some funny pictures and a great story out of it.

What’s on your Airborne Toxic Event bucket list?

All I ever want is for them to keep touring. That would be enough for me. I also want a tattoo at some point. I have committed to the decision, but am having worlds of trouble trying to figure out what and where. It’s like trying to pick a favorite song. I just don’t think I can do it! I would settle for a European tour though.

Are there any other bands you would recommend that Airborne fans check out?

My taste in music is pretty eclectic. Through Airborne, I have grown to also love Kodaline and In The Valley Below but I am not usually drawn to Airborne-type music which really surprises me. I like more of an upbeat, dance-y tune like Matt and Kim, Awolnation and Robyn. I have recently gotten into some new-ish bands: Jackson Breit, Jeremy Loops and Christine and the Queens as current obsessions. They are all good, however none of these resemble Airborne very much at all. So I wouldn’t be offended or surprised if not one soul reading this would be into them, ha.

Amanda and The Airborne Toxic Event

Anna Bulbrook photo by Curtis Buchanan, Distinct Daily

Anna Bulbrook photo by Curtis Buchanan, Distinct Daily

By Glen

One year ago today, The Airborne Toxic Event hit the stage in Santa Ana, CA for the one and only complete album performance of Songs of God and Whiskey. No such excitement this year, unfortunately, but it’s been two months since our last Toxicity, so I figured it was time to catch up on a few things.

Coming Soon: Toxic History – The Book

Yup, it’s been painfully quiet around here lately, and it’s not just because The Airborne Toxic Event is way off the grid at the moment. All of my spare time has been directed towards another TATE project: Toxic History – the book!

That’s right… our massive trip down Airborne Toxic memory lane is coming soon to a bookshelf near you. I am just in the process of polishing up the manuscript and preparing to publish with Lulu. Much more news coming soon. In the meantime, if you want to catch up on the blog series, you’d best do it soon. Most of it will be going offline soon, in preparation for the book launch. The last few chapters will be saved for the book – we’ve gone as far as we’re going to go with publishing it here on the blog.

All of this means that things will probably be even slower here at TIN over the summer, unless of course the band kicks back into action. But stay connected to us on social media (Facebook|Twitter|Instagram), where, over the next year, we’ll be celebrating memorable dates in Toxic History.

Stay tuned for more!

Getting to Know Anna Bulbrook

We all know Mikel Jollett’s back story, but one thing that struck me in the process of writing Toxic History is how little is out there about the other band members, at least in comparison to the lead man. But Anna Bulbrook has been doing her best to remedy that, with a couple of illuminating features.

First came Distinct Daily, with an artsy but very informative video feature on the violinist/keyboardist/tambourinist/guitarist/singer/songwriter/feminist ambassador/festival organizer. Shortly thereafter, Anna wrote her own story for 21cm. Together, these two excellent pieces chart Anna’s journey from classical music student to music dropout to Kanye West support to The Airborne Toxic Event, and finally to the front woman of The Bulls.

Anna sums up her journey so far thusly:

So, at 33, I’m technically the worst violinist that I’ve ever been in the traditional sense but the best musician that I’ve ever been. I’ve been humbled in the process more times than I can count, and I’m sure I’ll be humbled a few thousand more – but I can’t wait to find out where music will take me next.

We can’t wait, either.

Drinking the Lemonade

One other quick Bulbrook note… One of the biggest musical happenings this spring was the release of Beyonce’s Lemonade. Shortly after the album dropped, Anna revealed on Instagram that she contributed viola to one of the tracks on the record. A scan of the album’s extensive credits reveals that she played on the first song, “Pray You Catch Me.”

Toxic Gold

As always, we’ll round out Toxicity with some video goodies. First up, while Anna is talking about herself, here’s an interview she did for Girl Rock Nation around the time of All At Once:

And now a couple of thrilling performances by The Airborne Toxic Event: the potent punk rock of “The Kids Are Ready to Die”/”Welcome to Your Wedding Day” from Roxwell, and an acoustic “This Losing”/”Sometime Around Midnight” combo from Live Daily Sessions, circa 2008.

GlenGlen 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.

Los Toxicos is a monthly feature where we get to know a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event. To nominate a fan (or yourself) for a future month, e-mail us.

Sarah with The Airborne Toxic Event

Name: Sarah McCullough (@linesofthecars)

Where are you from?

South Jersey, just across the river from Philadelphia.

Tell us about yourself (who you are, what you do for a living, hobbies, etc.).

I’m a 20 year old student, and I study and work part-time at Rowan University. I love to read (TATE book club anybody??) and I love playing music and going to see live music. I’m always trying to become a better writer myself because I admire that so much. I also like to do crafts and make food and coffee and stuff and I’m pretty much an old lady on the inside.

How did you become a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event?

When I was like 12-13 I used to watch music videos on TV every day before school, so I was hooked from the very first time I saw the “Sometime Around Midnight” video. That was also around the time that I started to play guitar. Not only was I captivated by the song, but I was so excited to see a girl in an awesome band, and I’ve truly been obsessed ever since.

Do any of your family or friends like The Airborne Toxic Event? Did you convert them, or did they convert you?

My boyfriend’s a super fan like myself, and we actually met through our obsession with the band. My brother likes them too, and my mom got into them through me. The first few times she heard them she said they sound like The Clash and kinda Springsteen-y, which I thought was cool because she was spot on with a few of their influences.

What does your Airborne Toxic Event collection include?

Several shirts and sweatshirts, CDs, a DVD, vinyl, a setlist, a few picks, some guitar strings. Plus a few things that I’ve made. Always in the market for more though!

Sarah's Airborne Toxic Creations

What’s your favorite TATE song, and why?

This is the question I was dreading! It truly changes constantly and every album has been my favorite at one point or another. I actually just wrote a paper for my Spanish composition class about “The Lines of the Cars,” and that’s one that I’ve always really liked because of how much I like White Noise too. That, “Half of Something Else” and “Duet” are a few that I haven’t seen live yet but I really want to. Those two would for sure give me goosebumps because they’re just such gorgeous songs. As for album, I think I’ll say their self-titled may be my favorite, but ask me tomorrow and it could totally be a different answer.

Have you ever had a special experience at a TATE concert? Tell us about it.

Aside from the obvious answer of all of them, two in particular come to mind: the Chicago show on the Dope Machines tour, and the Keswick show on the Whisky Machine tour. The Chicago show was like a dream, better than a dream, and I even had fun in line talking to new friends. Plus it was my first time meeting them! The Keswick show makes the list not only because of the Shazam pre-show that I was lucky enough to win my way into, but also because I was able to talk to all of them after like a normal person, which I was too nervous to do before that. I could talk for hours about these two shows, and in fact I’m sure I have.

What’s on your Airborne Toxic Event bucket list?

Ah, still so much! I’d love to see an acoustic show as well as one with an orchestra. There are also several songs that I’m dying to see them play, and if possible I’d love to see them in L.A. and even abroad. And I think I’m too much of a shy nervous wreck to make this happen, but I’d love to let them know just how much their music has meant to me.

Are there any other bands you would recommend that Airborne fans check out?

Definitely My Morning Jacket and The National if they haven’t gotten into those already!

Sarah's TATE jacket

Randy with Steven Chen and Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event in Reno, NV

Randy with Steven Chen and Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event in Reno, NV

Los Toxicos is a monthly feature where we get to know a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event. To nominate a fan (or yourself) for a future month, e-mail us.

Name: Randy Ramsey (@randymanramsey)

Where are you from?

Williston, ND (via Metaline Falls, WA)

Tell us about yourself (who you are, what you do for a living, hobbies, etc.).

I’m Randy Ramsey, 40 years old. Married 14 years with 3 kids, son Jaydis (10) daughters Maleah (8) and Tyleigh (6).

I’m a field engineer for an oil and gas service company in the North Dakota oil fields. My family takes priority over everything in life, but when time allows music and sports are my passions. My wife and I are big UFC fans and have attended 5 fights in Vegas. We love to travel and if we can squeeze in a concert, even better.

It was great meeting some amazing people in Reno (Glen, Thomas and Katie, Kenny, Brooke, Amanda) and forging friendships with others who love the band as much as I do. I regret not going to the Sacramento show. Almost everyone I had met offered me a ride there.

How did you become a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event?

I’m a latecomer to The Airborne Toxic Event party. I’m sure it was in 2012… my introduction, like most, was “Sometime Around Midnight.” I’d heard it on AltNation one night out on a drilling rig. The only line I could remember the next morning was, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” I googled the lyric and the rest is history. Instantly hooked. I purchased all the music I could find.

Do any of your family or friends like The Airborne Toxic Event? Did you convert them, or did they convert you?

My daughters Tyleigh (6) and Maleah aka Missy (8) love Airborne Toxic. My son Jaydis (10) likes all music including Airborne. I wouldn’t say he’s on the same level as the girls. My wife Dolly, not so much. Her and I have totally different taste in music. I can guarantee that if I like it, she won’t. She’s into country and hip hop. And I’m into GOOD music.

What does your Airborne Toxic Event collection include?

A couple of shirts, a signed setlist, ticket stub and wristband from the Reno show, and pictures from hanging out after the show.

What’s your favorite TATE song, and why?

Too hard to choose. Right now my favorite is Songs of God and Whiskey. Favorite song has got to be “Missy” (live) because I love hearing my daughters sing along to it.

I think part of the appeal to Airborne Toxic is the lyrics. It really is poetry. The detail in the songwriting, the emotion. I pay attention to lyrics in songs, and hands down the music is brilliant.

Randy with Daren Taylor of The Airborne Toxic Event in Reno, NV

Randy with Daren Taylor of The Airborne Toxic Event in Reno, NV

Have you ever had a special experience at a TATE concert? Tell us about it.

As soon as the Reno show ended, Daren was collecting the setlists. I saw what he was doing and yelled his name. He looked at me, held his hand up and gestured, “Give me a sec…” After collecting all the setlists he reach over the stage and gave me one. I asked if I could get them signed and he told me to come around the back.

He was a man of his word. Also got Steven and Adrian and Anna to sign. This was the night Mikel was sick and went AWOL right after the concert.

When Steven and Adrian signed it, I asked them if they were going to the afterparty at the club across the street. They said they were and to come say hi.

Myself and a couple other fans were waiting for Anna and Mikel to come out (not knowing that he was gone for night). Anna come out, talked and took pictures with fans. As she signed my setlist she asked if I had seen where Steven, Daren, and Adrian had gone. I told her they had said they were going to the club for the afterparty. I walked across the street with her (and a couple other fans). Entered the party. Chatted with the guys from Sir Sly for a few minutes. Bought Steven and Adrian and Daren a couple rounds. Steven kept thanking me for the drinks and stated he didn’t have any cash on him because he didn’t go back to his room after the show. I told him it was no problem, it was my honor to buy them drinks.

Randy and Steven at the afterparty.

Randy and Steven at the afterparty.

It was very loud in the club and we all left. When we got outside a couple other guys recognized Adrian and Steven. One was a band member from Zella Day, the other was from Cold War Kids (both bands were playing the next night at Cargo). We walked around downtown Reno for a bit. We lost Daren. Hit a liquor store. Walked around more. Found Daren. It was surreal. We finally made our way back to Cargo. Hung out some more.

Steven told me a couple stories that night. I won’t share them but if you get a chance to meet him and hang out ask him about the keyboard that they built into the junked piano. And how everyone hated it (except Mikel). And ask him about their night in Vancouver, BC, the bar and police.

What’s on your Airborne Toxic Event bucket list?

To get them to play a show in North Dakota.

Are there any other bands you would recommend that Airborne fans check out?

Augustines (formerly called We Are Augustines). They are probably the second most played on my iPod. Here’s a little sample…

I’m also a huge Killers fan, and they’re a great live show if you ever get the chance to see them.

A shot from Reno:

Mikel Jollett, Steven Chen and The Airborne Toxic Event under the neon lights of Reno. Photo by Randy.

Mikel Jollett, Steven Chen and The Airborne Toxic Event under the neon lights of Reno. Photo by Randy.

The Airborne Toxic Auction

Note on International Shipping Charges: eBay seems to be vastly overestimating shipping charges to destinations outside of the USA. If you are purchasing from Canada or Europe, I will revise your invoice to reflect the true shipping charges once the auction closes. Sorry for the confusion!

Over the past three years, This Is Nowhere has grown into an incredible – and incredibly generous – community of fans of The Airborne Toxic Event. Last spring, we saw what could happen when we joined together to make a difference for a great cause. To my surprise and delight, the first ever This Is Nowhere charitable auction raised $1,000 for individuals with Down syndrome. So… we’re back for round two!

If you’re a longtime reader, you probably know that I have an eleven-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. You probably also know that Becca was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014. The past year and a half has been extraordinarily difficult, but she continues to fight with incredible courage. With ten months of treatment still in front of us, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and are once again imagining Becca’s life post-cancer. She is truly an inspiration – and a TATE fan to boot, as you can see from this video from a few years ago.

In early June, my family and I will be participating in Run Up for Down Syndrome on Becca’s behalf. We are raising funds to support the important work of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation, which empowers individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential through customized educational programs and critical research. After Becca finishes kicking cancer’s ass, she’ll become one of DSRF’s hundreds of students, learning the skills that will be critical for her future independence.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I also happen to work for DSRF. But this is much more than just a job to our family – it is an effective and efficient organization that has a tremendous impact in the lives of many families, and we would be proud to support it even if we weren’t part of it.

So, today I’m asking for your help. If you have a few dollars to spare, we would be very thankful for anything you can do to support our efforts. There are two ways to do so:

1. Make a Donation

All donations are fully tax deductible, both in Canada and the U.S. Click here to donate through our fundraising page.

2. Expand Your Airborne Toxic Event Collection

We have joined with some generous friends and fellow fans of The Airborne Toxic Event to put together a unique auction of TATE items that you won’t find anywhere else. This is a chance for you to add some one-of-a-kind Airborne swag to your personal collection. Every penny raised from the sale of these items (above our costs in procuring the items) will be donated to the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

All artists involved have donated their time, talents and photographic material free of charge, for which we are so grateful.

Below is a description of each item, grouped according to the artist, along with a link to the eBay auction. All items close at 6:00 am PT, April 12.

Good luck, happy bidding, and thank you for your support!


Artist: Claire Stamper

285Item #1: “The Graveyard Near the House” Art Canvas (15×24)

Fine art print of original piece by Claire Stamper, on bright white, fine poly-cotton blend, matte canvas using latest generation Epson archival inks. Individually trimmed and hand stretched museum wrap over 1-1/2″ deep wood stretcher bars. Size: 15×24″. Inspired by the song by Airborne Toxic Event: “So I pictured us like corpses lying side by side in pieces in some dark and lonely plot under a bough. We looked so silly there all decomposed, half turned to dust in tattered clothes, though we probably look just as silly now.”

Minimum Bid: $100

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

107Item #2: The Airborne Toxic Event Photo Canvas (16×20)

Canvas print of photograph of Mikel Jollett, Daren Taylor and Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 16×20″.

Minimum Bid: $85

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

Item #3: Steven Chen Photo Canvas (16×20)106

Canvas print of photograph of Steven Chen of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 16×20″.

Minimum Bid: $85

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

292Item #4: Mikel Jollett and Steven Chen Glossy Photo (12×12)

Glossy print of photograph of Mikel Jollett and Steven Chen of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 12×12″.

Minimum Bid: $20

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

288Item #5: Anna Bulbrook and Adrian Rodriguez Glossy Photo (14×11)

Glossy print of photograph of Anna Bulbrook and Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 14×11″.

Minimum Bid: $20

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

299Item #6: Anna Bulbrook and Steven Chen Glossy Photo (8×12)

Glossy print of photograph of Anna Bulbrook and Steven Chen of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 8×12″.

Minimum Bid: $15

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

300Item #7: Mikel Jollett Glossy Photo (8×12)

Glossy print of photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 8×12″.

Minimum Bid: $15

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle302

Item #8: The Airborne Toxic Event Glossy Photo (8×12)

Glossy print of photograph of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 8×12″.

Minimum Bid: $15

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

303Item #9: Mikel Jollett Glossy Photo (8×12)

Glossy print of photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 8×12″.

Minimum Bid: $15

Click here to bid!


295Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

Item #10: Anna Bulbrook Glossy Photo (8×10)

Glossy print of photograph of Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 8×10″.

Minimum Bid: $12

Click here to bid!


296Photographer: Ryan Tuttle

Item #11: Anna Bulbrook Glossy Photo (8×10)

Glossy print of photograph of Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Tuttle. Size: 8×10″.

Minimum Bid: $12

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

287Item #12: Mikel Jollett Photo Canvas (24×36)

Canvas print of photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 24×36″.

Minimum Bid: $125

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

Item #13: Anna Bulbrook Photo Canvas (12×18)284

Canvas print of photograph of Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 12×18″.

Minimum Bid: $75

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

304Item #14: Mikel Jollett iPhone 5 Case

Hard plastic iPhone 5 protective case with photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images.

Minimum Bid: $40

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

286Item #15: Mikel Jollett iPhone 6 Case

Hard plastic iPhone 6 protective case with photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images.

Minimum Bid: $40

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

105Item #16: The Airborne Toxic Event Glossy Photo (16×20)

Glossy print of photograph of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 16×20″.

Minimum Bid: $30

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

293Item #17: Steven Chen Glossy Photo (12×12)

Glossy print of photograph of Steven Chen of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 12×12″.

Minimum Bid: $20

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

289Item #18: Mikel Jollett Glossy Photo (12×18)

Glossy print of photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 12×18″.

Minimum Bid: $25

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

290Item #19: Mikel Jollett Guitar Glossy Photo (12×18)

Glossy print of photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event (guitar closeup). Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 12×18″.

Minimum Bid: $25

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

291Item #20: Steven Chen Glossy Photo (12×18)

Glossy print of photograph of Steven Chen of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 12×18″.

Minimum Bid: $25

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

301Item #21: Daren Taylor Glossy Photo (8×12)

Glossy print of photograph of Daren Taylor of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 8×12″.

Minimum Bid: $15

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

297Item #22: Daren Taylor Glossy Photo (8×10)

Glossy print of photograph of Daren Taylor of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 8×10″.

Minimum Bid: $12

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

298Item #23: Anna Bulbrook Glossy Photo (8×10)

Glossy print of photograph of Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 8×10″.

Minimum Bid: $12

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Creative Copper Images

294Item #24: Adrian Rodriguez Glossy Photo (8×10)

Glossy print of photograph of Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Creative Copper Images. Size: 8×10″.

Minimum Bid: $12

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Macchione; Donated by Kristina Lee

096Item #25: Mikel Jollett Playing Cards

Deck of glossy playing cards (including Jokers) with photograph of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event on the back. Plastic storage case included. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

Minimum Bid: $30

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Macchione; Donated by Kristina Lee

098Item #26: Mikel Jollett Glossy Poster (24×36)

Glossy Poster featuring Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Size: 24×36″. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

Minimum Bid: $50

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Macchione; Donated by Kristina Lee

097Item #27: Steven Chen Photo Puzzle (252 pc.)

252-piece photo puzzle featuring Steven Chen of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

Minimum Bid: $40

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Macchione; Donated by Kristina Lee

095Item #28: Mikel Jollett and Anna Bulbrook Mouse Pad

Mouse Pad featuring Mikel Jollett & Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

Minimum Bid: $15

Click here to bid!


Photographer: Ryan Macchione; Donated by Kristina Lee

099Item #29: The Airborne Toxic Event Mug Set (5 mugs, 11 oz)

Set of 5 (11 oz) mugs, each featuring a different member of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photos by Ryan Macchione.

Minimum Bid: $60

Click here to bid!


Artist: Tim de Monkey; Donated by Grip or Token

Items #30-31: The Airborne Toxic Event “Moonshine and Cheap Ass Wine” Tote Bag

Tote bag featuring original artwork inspired by The Airborne Toxic Event song “One Time Thing” (moonshine and cheap ass wine). Artwork applied with heat press vinyl. Snaps closed. Size: 14x16x5″.

Minimum Bid: $20 (2 bags available)

Click here to bid: Bag 1 | Bag 2


Artist: Tim de Monkey; Donated by Grip or Token

FullSetItems #32-33: Set of 12 Airborne Toxic Event Buttons (1.25″, with pin backs)

Set of a dozen Airborne Toxic Event buttons with pin backs. Please note, each button is unique; some minor additional cropping may occur in production. Size: 1.25″.

Minimum Bid: $15 (2 sets available)

Click here to bid: Set 1 | Set 2


Artist: Stephanie Rae

Item #34: The Airborne Toxic Event “The Graveyard Near the House” Vinyl Wall Decals

Vinyl wall decals featuring lyric from The Airborne Toxic Event song “The Graveyard Near the House: “If you die before I die I’ll carve your name out of the sky.” Size: 67 cm wide. Winner can select their color.

Minimum Bid: $10

Click here to bid!


Artist: Wendy and Tim Steele

umbrellaItems #34-35: The Airborne Toxic Event Hand-Painted Umbrellas

Original hand-painted umbrella featuring the wounded bird symbol of The Airborne Toxic Event. Painted by Wendy and Tim Steele. Please note, because each umbrella is painted by hand, details may vary slightly.

Minimum Bid: $50

Click here to bid: Umbrella 1 | Umbrella 2

Anna Bulbrook bends over backwards, with a little help from Adrian Rodriguez, to give Airborne fans a great show. Photo by Ryan Tuttle.

Anna Bulbrook bends over backwards, with a little help from Adrian Rodriguez, to give Airborne fans a great show. Photo by Ryan Tuttle.

By Glen

As winter gives way to spring, there is still nary a peep out of Camp Airborne Toxic Event. But six weeks between Toxicity updates seems like just about enough, so let’s see what we can scrounge up.

Not So Epic

There actually is one legit piece of Airborne news – or non-news, as it were. A recent visit to the website of Epic Records led to the discovery that The Airborne Toxic Event is no longer anywhere to be found on the website. Not only are they absent from Epic’s artist listing, but a search for the band’s name yields zero results anywhere on the site.

One can only conclude that, if and when The Airborne Toxic Event releases another record, it will not be under the Epic banner. After the wildly popular, self-released Songs of God and Whiskey, not to mention the smash success of their independently released debut album, one wonders whether the band would be better off just going it alone next time around. Time will tell.

Wrong is Right

In our last Toxicity, way back when we were still munching on Valentine’s candy, we shared a couple live TATE videos aired on PromoWest Live. An alert reader uncovered the fact that there was another TATE video hiding away in their archives. Jump to 14:25 for “Wrong.”


Dope Machines

Mikel Jollett has a love/hate relationship with mobile devices. On the ‘pro’ side, jumping into the crowd and stealing someone’s phone for a smirking selfie has become a staple of “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” And he’s intrigued enough by the omnipresent technology to have based an entire album around it.

On the other hand, he has made it known in no uncertain terms that he would prefer the audience to keep the damn things in their pockets and experience the performance through their eyeballs rather than through a tiny rectangular screen. And he has a point. In my early days of TATE gigdom, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from trying to capture every moment for posterity, even though 98% of my photos turned out to be complete and utter crap. Lately, I’ve become more disciplined about it. I usually pre-select a couple of songs in which I’ll snap a few photos to use in my TIN reviews, and apart from that I try to leave it alone.

Vocativ recently printed a thought provoking piece considering both sides of this issue. They note that some artists are taking matters into their own hands to force their fans to live in the moment.

Over and over, artists cite the disconnect phones create. “It seems stupid to have something happening in front of you and look at it on a screen that’s smaller than the size of a cigarette packet,” the Guardian quoted Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker as saying. “If anything, it undermines the experience because it seemed like a really good moment, and now I can see it were crap. It’s like wedding videos.”

In April of 2013, art-rock trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs made headlines when they posted a flyer at a Webster Hall show that asked fans, “Please do not watch the show through a screen on your smart device/camera. Put that shit away as a courtesy to the person behind you and to Nick, Karen and Brian.”

According to Spin, Karen O reiterated the message when, after the second song, she told fans to snap away for the next couple of minutes, then “put those motherfuckers away.” The crowd mostly complied.

Other artists demand no phone use, and include threat of removal if the request isn’t heeded. That was the case on a recent Prince tour, when ticket buyers were reportedly warned by venues in Australia and New Zealand in advance via email that “The use of mobile phones will not be permitted during the show,” according to the Mercury News. “Any person using a mobile phone or camera/video device will be identified by security and asked to leave the venue immediately.”

The Eagles banned cellphones during a 2014 tour, employing security guards to shine flashlights at offenders, issue warnings, and then throw them out. Don Henley recently applauded Mumford & Sons decision to follow suit, saying “the madness, the rudeness, the thoughtlessness… must stop. Constantly looking at the world through a viewfinder is not seeing. Listening to live music while recording on a ‘smartphone’ (or texting every 5 seconds) is not hearing. Experiencing life second-hand is not living. Be here now.”

Some artists simply deal with the nuisance on a case-by-case basis. Neil Young angrily doused two women with water in 2012 because they wouldn’t quit texting during a show even after he gave them the stink eye. In April of 2014, Peter Frampton reportedly scolded two fans in Carmel, Indiana, who arrived late to front-row seats, having missed or ignoring the warning prior to the concert beginning that flash photography wasn’t allowed. They took loads of pictures; Frampton asked them to stop. When they didn’t, he asked them to let him see the pictures, and when the fan handed Frampton his phone, he flung it across stage.

On the other end of the spectrum are these examples:

Brad Paisley encourages fan cellphones at his shows, going into the audience to sing into them, or take selfies that show up on big screens, telling Rolling Stone, “I want to see it. Get a good one. Get good audio if you can. Your videos [are] a memory, something you can have, and what an amazing experience. Yeah, you see people looking at the concert through their phone. But that’s what they want to do. And what YouTube video of a concert ever made you not go?”

Taylor Swift said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in 2014 that the use of cellphones, and therefore the widely available recordings of her shows, setlists and secret guests every night, was actually the impetus for changing things up every night. “In the YouTube generation we live in, I walked out onstage every night of my stadium tour last year knowing almost every fan had already seen the show online,” she wrote.

“To continue to show them something they had never seen before, I brought out dozens of special guest performers to sing their hits with me. My generation was raised being able to flip channels if we got bored, and we read the last page of the book when we got impatient. We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe. I hope the next generation’s artists will continue to think of inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes, as challenging as that might be.”

What’s your take? Would you like to see The Airborne Toxic Event put some regulations in place, or just leave it up to the fans to experience the show as they see fit?

Toxic Gold to the Max!

If you’re currently experiencing Airborne Toxic Withdrawal (and let’s face it: if you’re reading Toxicity during the dark days of the band’s hiatus, it’s safe to assume you are), Murray Jay Siskind has the cure for what ails you. The YouTuber has become a must-follow for Airborne fans, unearthing one rare gem after another.

A couple years ago we reviewed an Airborne acoustic recording from Montreal that is only available for purchase from iTunes Canada. Thanks to MJS, those of you outside our fair country can now lay ears on it. While you listen, enjoy a bevy of TATE trivia and photos. (And watch for the shout out to TIN!)

For years I’ve been beating the drum for the full length concert video Live from Koko, which features, among other things, the world premiere performance of “All I Ever Wanted.” Now, courtesy of MJS, here’s the only professional recording of the ultra rare “Echo Park.”

And another oldie-but-goodie – one that I’m still surprised didn’t make the cut for Songs of God and Whiskey: “Days of Wine and Poses.”

Last but not least, here’s a double shot of “Papillon” and “Gasoline” from Paris, circa 2009.

GlenGlen 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.

Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event: manning up. Photo by Ryan Tuttle.

Mikel Jollett: Manning Up. Photo by Ryan Tuttle.

By Glen

Through five records from The Airborne Toxic Event, there are themes that have clearly captivated Mikel Jollett: threads of thought that stalk his work like spirits, weaving their way through the shadows of multiple albums.

Death is the most obvious one of course, its influence limited not just to the songs but extending to the band’s very name and identity. But there are others.

Love. Loss. Home. Angels. Ghosts. Rain.

Amongst these weighty subjects, there is one that sticks out like something of a sore thumb.

Mikel Jollett is kind of obsessed with being a man.

The admonition to “be a man” conjures primitive images of testosterone-dripping, chest-thumping, macho Neanderthals who know what they want and aren’t afraid to take it, even if it means stepping on others along the way.

But unlike certain Presidential candidates, Jollett doesn’t seem overly concerned with flashing his masculine credentials and measuring his… fingers. Rather, his work betrays that he’s still grasping for direction, wrestling with what exactly constitutes manhood in the context of fear, change, uncertainty and relationships.

“What does it mean to be a man?” asks Jollett from the stage one night in Boston. “That’s a really stupid idea, right? I don’t know, like, eating beef jerky? You know, you can think of all these cheesy, simplified things that you can attach to that idea, which is ridiculous. So, for me, I landed on honesty. There was a time when I felt really trapped by so much that I was trying to hide from the rest of the world, and ultimately I realized that I just had to burn the whole fucking thing down.”

The embracing of authenticity and vulnerability is a very 21st century approach to masculinity; one that deals more in questions than answers, as we’ll see as we trace Jollett’s lyrical journey through manhood.

Changing

In “Changing,” Jollett treads a fine line between deference on the one side and cocksurety on the other. “I am a gentleman,” he insists repeatedly, offering a litany of proof. He requests what he needs, rather than demanding it: “Didn’t I ask for a place I could stay?” He pays his own way: “Didn’t I pay for every laugh, every dime, every bit every time?” He prioritizes relationship and steps up when he is needed: “Didn’t I answer every time that you call? Pick you up when you fall?”

That said, there’s a firm limit to his flexibility, and he butts up against it when he finds that being a gentleman is getting him nowhere. A deep mistrust is eating at the relationship – at least on her side – and he’s not going to take it lying down. “You say that I lie,” he says with disbelief. “You say I never tried.” Are you serious?

As her deep-seated suspicion seeds mind games and naked attempts at control, the gentleman takes a backseat to a more primal form of masculinity: one that’s had enough of listening, resists compromise and takes a stand. “I won’t hear one more word about changing. Guess what, I am the same man.”

The stubborn man, unwilling to bend and refusing to be owned, is a stark contrast to the gentleman who minded his manners and followed the rules. So what type of man does he want to be?

The Storm

In “The Storm,” an almost 40-year-old Jollett is starting to figure it out. He’s come to a sobering awareness: only just now, after “25 years of running in sand,” has he finally “learned how to stand like a man.”

As it turns out, standing like a man isn’t at all what he expected; perhaps that’s why the lesson was so long in the learning.

“I was going through a lot of heavy stuff at this point in my life when I wrote this song,” Jollett explains. “The idea of the song is somebody witnessing your struggles. You go through these private struggles in your life, and in some cases you feel like you’ve been just barely getting through for a very long time. And the idea is that somebody comes in and just sees it, and is like, ‘Oh my God!’ And that moment of sympathy and empathy, and that sense that somebody can witness who you are and want to help you in your life when you’re just kind of laid bare was really powerful for me at the time. There’s a sense of home that’s kind of the heart of love; that sense of homeness that you can just be yourself with someone, they can see your struggles, and they can see what’s good and bad about you and love you for it. And the minute you recognize that is actually when you know that you have love in your life.”

It’s an extraordinarily counter-cultural take on manliness. We think it’s all about standing on our own two feet and handling shit on our own. But Jollett found manhood in a moment of extreme weakness, even dependence, when he realized there was someone else in the room and it was okay to lean on them. Being a man is not a solo sport.

The Fifth Day

By “The Fifth Day,” the man is broken. The room is empty again.

If Jollett found relationship to be the key to manhood, what does it mean to be a man now that the girl who continually reminded him, “Boy, you’re not so tough,” is gone?

Well, perhaps she’s not completely gone after all. Memories linger: their song in the air, her scent on the sheets. And he knows, even in her absence, “It’s these things that make you a man.”

He may be facing the future alone, but he’s not the same man he was – and he’s not going back. Even if he wanted to, he can’t remember where he started.

But I won’t go back to what I was
I know now that you are lost
It’s your choices that make you a man
Your frozen mind begins to thaw
You think my God my God my God
Where was it I began?

There’s only one way out, and that’s forward, with the lessons of the past in his pocket. That is his choice.

The Way Home

The Such Hot Blood bonus track “The Way Home” introduces us to a man at the end of his rope. Perhaps it’s the same man from “The Fifth Day,” some indeterminate time later; it’s tough to say. The events that have crushed him are not spelled out, but whatever they were, they have left him alone and uncertain.

But also full of resolve.

Rather than yielding to despair and wallowing “beneath this darkened shroud,” the narrator gets his head about him. Change is no longer the enemy. He tears down his prison of shame, brick by ignominious brick. He catches a glimpse of hope – “I can hear the birds, see the light outside” – and it emboldens him to “stand up like a man and swallow my pride.” The hands of time may have beaten him down, but they haven’t defeated him.

The doubts have not been vanquished; not all the question marks have been replaced by periods. He is neither brave nor sure – but Fear will not be permitted the final word.

He doesn’t have the slightest clue where he’s going, just that it’s far away from here – and that’s enough for now. The man closes the door behind him and sets off for the horizon, walking this road on the bricks he’s laid.

Time to be a Man

If the story ended there, you might think he’d finally figured it out. But there’s another chapter, and it brings Jollett full circle.

“Time to be a Man” is a funny song. It seems on the surface to be a bit of an odd duck in the Jollett catalog, with a triumphalist tone that contrasts sharply with his customary cynicism. “Be a man! The whole world is at your door!” What was that we said about chest thumping?

Except it’s not that at all. The man who had boldly set out for a new life somehow finds himself right back where he began: tossing his way through sleepless nights. And still alone. The lessons of “The Storm” have long since been forgotten: he thought he could do it on his own, “like you don’t need no one else,” but he was wrong. “The way home is so steep” – much steeper than he expected.

Yet again, he tries to muster up the strength to be a man. However, his admonition to himself is shot through with self-doubt. “Tell me how does that go? What the hell are you waiting for?”

“The whole world is at your door,” he reminds himself. But walking through that door is not as easy as it seems.

“Time to be a Man” isn’t the optimistic paean to grabbing life by the balls that it might at first glance appear to be. It’s the same secrets and lies and doubts and failures that Jollett has always battled, just wrapped up in a glossier package.

In other words, he hasn’t figured it out after all. Not by a long shot.

But he’s not pretending he has… and that’s a start.

GlenGlen 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.