By Jamie

My love affair with The Airborne Toxic Event started with a brief clip of a song on some so-called music channel that I had playing as a sort of soundtrack to my day.  It came on while I was washing the dishes and something about it made me stop and listen. When it was over, I grabbed a pen with my soapy hand and jotted down, “Airborne Toxic??” on a scrap of paper. Strange name. Interesting song.

The next day, while walking by the music section in a store, I stopped to see if I could locate that strange name. And there it was, under an “upcoming artists you should know” sign. An injured bird above a bare tree. The Airborne Toxic Event. I was instantly intrigued. I don’t remember when I listened to that disc the first time through. I don’t remember when I put it on my iPhone and started playing it constantly. I just know I enjoyed it. I made Gasoline my ringtone and my family was shocked to hear something other than The Killers when my phone rang.

All at Once came out a year after I discovered TATE. I was 29 years old and disappointed to find myself having an identity crisis over turning 30. A mother of four, I was married to my high school sweetheart and I spent my 20’s having and taking care of babies. As incredibly rewarding as being a mother had been,  my last child was approaching her first birthday and I realized someday they would all be grown up. And what had I done for myself? What would my life be after children?  I felt like I had no identity outside of motherhood.

As much as I have always loved music, I never dreamt what a single album, a single band could do for me.  Music can help you find yourself?  It sounds so clichè… I remember the first time I heard each song. All at Once gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. I held my breath through All I Ever Wanted… I didn’t want the sound of my breathing drowning out the words.  I closed myself up in my bedroom and listened to The Graveyard Near the House on  repeat for a half an hour, absorbing the lyrics  (how could death seem so romantic?).  Every song was telling me something I needed to hear.

For a year I went into a frenzy. I purchased a ticket to every concert I could attend, even if it meant leaving my children for the first time ever overnight to see TATE in NYC. I claimed a part of my life back through this band. Then, I embraced the life I was already living – my 4 beautiful children, each one a miracle, and my loving husband who knew I would come back to him. I’m now a happier person, a more loving wife and a more patient mother.

When I was a child, at the end of the day, my mother would sometimes put on her headphones and listen to her favorite band’s CDs in her DiscMan. I remember watching her, with her eyes closed, wondering why she wanted to drown everything out like that.  Now, I get it. I understand those quiet moments that she stole away. A moment of peace to restore her sanity. To reclaim a piece of herself. That feeling is the same emotion I have for TATE.  It’s what they do for me. The Airborne Toxic Event calms me when I’m stressed, makes me dance when I’m content and is my comfort when I feel sad. It reminds me of the important things in life – the extraordinary and the mundane, the good and the bad – that make whatever life you chose to live so very special.  I can’t describe what it is specifically about their music that speaks to me so. I probably don’t need to because if you’re reading this, you understand… you’ve felt it, too.

This band has become the soundtrack of not only my life but my family’s lives also. My husband and I quote Graveyard in our texts when we’re feeling silly and exceptionally in love. I overhear my children singing along in the backseats of my car while I let TATE softly play from the speakers, so as not to drown out their sweet voices.

It’s been 3 years since my first listen. I’ve seen The Airborne Toxic Event live 6 times, and I have show number 7 and 8 already lined up.  I have met every member at least once and my concert experiences are enough to warrant a post of their own. I am branded with a single tattoo; a line from Graveyard that I got in honor of my tenth wedding anniversary: “We are tied like two in tethers.” The lyric not only represents my marriage but also my ties to my family, my life… and this band.

Just the other day, my oldest child told me his favorite band was The Airborne Toxic Event because their music makes him feel happy. I smiled and told him I understood. They make me happy, too.

Jamie: A Strange, Strange Girl

Jamie spends most of her days with her husband as they attempt to raise 4 future TATE fans and all around decent human beings. In her free time, when not obsessively listening to her favorite bands and going to concerts, she is also an aspiring seamstress. She writes about her handmade wardrobe on her blog Such a Strange Girl.

  1. Jen says:

    Jamie – I had no idea…. You inspire me, you really truly do. A mom to 4 and you still look 20 and you rock out to the best of them…. Gotta love you girlfriend ❤


  2. Great post. What city are you from? And how far did you travel for the first few shows? I love hearing that sort of stuff from other people. It tells me that I’m not crazy. When I MUST see a show, I will buy a plane ticket and stay with a friend in another state. Life is short – and I like to travel. Not grounded by kids, yet, but that is coming quite soon. Which frightens me. Your story makes me happy.


    • Jamie says:

      Hey Ryan,
      I’m glad you can relate. The first couple of shows were all within driving distance. A couple hours away. Seeing them at Webster Hall in NYC back in January was the farthest I had gone for a band- and from my children. It was a couple hours by train.
      I think I’ve definitely found a way to balance it all. My family obviously comes first but my love for this band showed me that I needed to not lose myself in order to be the best parent/wife I could be. TATE has enhanced my life in every way.


  3. […] Strange Girl: How Airborne became the soundtrack to one fan’s life. […]


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