All I Ever Wanted: Top 5 LOL Moments

Posted: September 27, 2013 in 5's
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The Airborne Toxic Event: All I Ever WantedBy Glen

The Airborne Toxic Event’s full-length documentary movie, All I Ever Wanted: The Airborne Toxic Event Live from Walt Disney Concert Hall, was released three years ago this weekend (Sept. 28, 2010, to be precise). Musically, the film is a masterpiece, to say the least. But it’s more than just music: it’s a window into the band’s creative process, and even better, it’s a rare chance to pull back the curtain to get to know them a bit as people, and to see how they interact as friends.

So, in celebration of the three-year anniversary, we present the Top 5 LOL moments from All I Ever Wanted.

5. Mikel’s Little Girl Falsetto (30:18)

Mikel Jollet and Noah Harmon of The Airborne Toxic Event

“She had eyes as big as porcelain plates…”

The show ultimately ends with the Lalo Guerrero children’s choir enthusiastically backing the band on Missy. Of course, this necessitates an earlier visit to prep the kids.

Now, there’s something darkly humorous about hearing a gang of little girls sing lines like, “Well I swear, I lie, I curse all of my dreams.” But the real hilarity begins as Mikel and Noah exit the building into the night.

I actually missed this moment the first few times I watched the movie, distracted as I was by Noah dropping loud F-bombs left and right (and apparently there were a whole lot more where those came from, that didn’t make the cut). Meanwhile, beside him, Mikel quietly imitates the young children, squeaking out, “She had eyes as big as porcelain plates, skin as thin as paper drapes…” in his best little girl falsetto.

Steven Chen and Mikel Jollet of The Airborne Toxic Event

Brothers from another mother

If you missed it the first time through, it’s worth a second viewing.

4. Twinsies (48:50)

At this stage in the band’s evolution, uniform clothing was the order of the day – at least when they were on stage. Black and white; dress shirts, ties and jackets for the boys; something similarly funereal for Anna. They took their seriousness seriously!

But one would assume that it was entirely unintentional when Mikel and Steven showed up on their way to Belmont High wearing almost exactly the same outfit. I mean, it’s cool on stage and all, but not so much in public. Maybe call ahead next time guys?

3. Nobody Recognizes the Drummer (1:13:23)

Aaah, the poor, unappreciated drummer. Anna gets stopped on her way into the venue, abandoning Daren in mid-sentence. He marches on unaccosted, saying with a wink, “See, this is what I’m talking about. Nobody recognizes the drummer.” His delighted giggle betrays the fact that he doesn’t consider this to be a particularly bad thing.

Daren Taylor of The Airborne Toxic Event

“Nobody recognizes the drummer.”

As much as you might think that mustache is hard to forget, it’s sad but true. At the end of the Vancouver show this past spring, Daren exited the stage for half a minute, and then ran back on stage draped in a Canadian flag. He ran back and forth a few times, whipping up the crowd. 15 minutes later, I heard some guys laughing about the “roadie” who came out with the flag. Really dudes??? He was pounding away on the drums right in front of you for two hours, and you still don’t recognize him? It probably doesn’t help that he’s the shortest member of the band, give or take an Anna. Maybe he should bring back the muttonchops!

On the plus side, his relative anonymity probably means he was genuinely excited when Susan Prunty and I actually did accost him on the street for a photo in Seattle. (I kid, Daren, I kid.)

2. Back to School (52:13)

Steven Chen of The Airborne Toxic Event

Steven gives his best “What the hell am I doing?” face

The band goes back to school to work with the Belmont High School Marching Band, who will join them for Does This Mean You’re Moving On? and Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?, and it starts off a bit rough – understandably so, given that the music is brand new to the kids. (Anna admits in the commentary that attending the students’ first rehearsal may have been a mistake, psychologically, for TATE, who quickly simplified the parts they had planned for the kids.)

And now we come to Noah’s favorite scene in the film. Steven, who jokes in the commentary that he’s terrified of kids, is dispatched to the hallway, where he works with four girls and their wind instruments. It’s a little, um, awkward.

“Okay, so let’s start off… uh… let’s break it off… First I want to hear you two girls… just do, do the part, by… just, just by yourselves.” Steven sets the beat for them, slapping his thigh… one girl blows hesitantly; nothing comes out. Steven rubs his chin thoughtfully. “Let me think how to do this…” Turns to the other two girls. “Let me just hear the clarinets right now.” They begin hesitantly, sharply. Steven continues rubbing his chin looking pensive. “Um, so I think that we need to focus on making the notes crisper. How do you guys feel about breathing? (Mikel’s commentary: “How do you guys feel about… playing out of key?”) Are you struggling with that part at all?” Girls look away shyly.

Of course, this is all just a precursor to the fact that when the students finally take the stage at Walt Disney Concert Hall, they absolutely kill it, stealing the show.

1. The Supporting Cast Goes to the Dogs

And finally, the best supporting actor award goes to the variety of dogs who make cameos throughout the film. Dogs are everywhere in the early scenes.

It starts with the off-camera jingling of a dog collar and a male voice warning, “No. No. No! NO!”, cutting just in time to catch Daren fending off an unseen mutt in the corner of the screen (2:00). Next, as the band runs through Happiness is Overrated in someone’s living room, the camera pans out the window to Anna’s dog, Mostly (so named because she’s mostly deaf), yawning wide enough to swallow a camel (3:36).

Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event

“Please quit embarrassing me.”

At 15:18, Mikel is distracted as he works with Noah on an arrangement, with Noah’s dog Marlon (Brando) nipping at his hand and trying on his best tough guy growl. Mikel’s having none of it: “We’re not gonna do this game. Marlon, stop being a little shithead!”

And of course, the piece de resistance comes as Anna is waxing philosophic on the couch. It’s actually a very informative segment if you can pry your attention away from the theatrics of her canine companion, but that’s easier said than done. And really, why would you want to? Mostly provides some great moments of comic relief, first by licking the camera lens (17:50), and then just going to town on a pillow (18:30). (Commentary: the guys cheer the humping vociferously. Anna defends her pup, noting that she has special needs, and since some of her senses don’t work so well, she has to fully explore those that do.) The interview ends with Anna performing a full body restraint on a dog half her size, as she tries to focus on the conversation at hand.

Purchase The Airborne Toxic Event: All I Ever Wanted – Live from Walt Disney Concert Hall on iTunes


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.


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