Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event rocks Calgary’s X Fest. Photo Credit: Fast Forward Weekly

By Glen

With just 13 days standing between us and the start of The Airborne Toxic Event’s fall tour, the TATE universe can hardly contain the bubbling excitement of fans anxiously counting down the days. It’s quickly becoming apparent that the Fillmore residency will be the Toxic Event to which all future Toxic Events shall be compared – and that’s just the start of 31 shows in 50 days. Hold on tight folks – things are about to get wild.

Toxic Tour News

Earlier this week, the band kicked the anticipation up a notch, if such a thing is even possible, by dropping some tantalizing clues as to what they have up their sleeves as they prepare to hit the road. In an e-mail to fans, they previewed what they call their biggest North American tour to date: “We have surprises in store, new songs to debut, old songs we haven’t played in years and a general orientation towards the madness of crowds we plan to fully embrace. It just keeps getting louder.”

Speaking specifically about the Fillmore, they had this to say: “There are only a few tickets remaining for our special three-night San Francisco residency at the Fillmore, where we’ll be playing all three of our albums in succession on September 18, 19, and 20. Some of these songs we haven’t played since the first tour, some (including B-sides and various odds and ends) we’ve only played live a couple of times.”

B-sides? Odds and ends? Perhaps our rarities wishlist is not as much of a fantasy as we thought! Already, one fan has recently been assured that “Duet” will be on the playlist. What other treats await us?

Oh, and good news for Rhode Islanders, who won’t be left out of the fun. An Oct. 5 in Pawtucket has been added to the itinerary.

Incidentally, AXS has posted a brief preview of the tour, and a quick overview of the transition from Noah Harmon to Adrian Rodriguez on bass, in case you’ve been under a rock somewhere for the past month.

Toxic Picks

For the collectors among us (which seems to be 100% of TATE fans, as far as we can tell), some new must-have souvenirs will be pinging us in the dark at this fall’s shows. TATE’s personalized guitar picks were already on the list of items every Airborne fan must own; now, a complete set has become a bit more elusive with new picks from Adrian and Anna having debuted last weekend. We’re not sure if Mikel and Steven also have new designs of their own, but at the very least there are two new picks that are sure to have fans scrambling as they’re flung from the stage.

Adrian’s Pick:

Adrian Rodriguez's Airborne Toxic Event guitar pick

Anna’s Pick, Front:

Anna Bulbrook's Airborne Toxic Event Guitar Pick

Anna’s Pick, Back:

Anna Bulbrook's Airborne Toxic Event guitar pick

Toxic Pics

And for a whole different kind of TATE pics, check out the on-stage action from Calgary’s X Fest here and here.

Toxic Tidbits, Part 2

Mikel continues to provide tremendous insight into the genesis of each of The Airborne Toxic Event’s songs with the daily nuggets he’s sharing leading up to the Fillmore. Last week we collected all the tidbits from the first album; today we bring you the first eight tracks of All At Once. Keep an eye out for “Strange Girl” later today.

All At Once – “This was the first time I ever wrote a song with any idea that someone might hear it. This whole record felt like a love letter to all the deepest things I love about music. I knew I wanted the opening lines of this song to pair up with the closing lines of the last song. Birth and death — and all the love and loss and hope and anguish in between.”

Numb – “I still prefer the demo of this song to the recording. Dave (Sardy) and I had a series of spirited debates about this song which ended with a compromise and a switchblade being pulled (as a joke, I think). The song is about the mind-numbing process of touring: the endless parade of people, places, overwhelming experiences and the quiet observer at the center of your mind growing ever-distant from reality.”

Changing – “True story: this song was originally called ‘Something You Own.’ It had no guitar. It sounded kind of like Grizzly Bear or Animal Collective or something with all these harmonies and a sort of ‘umpa’ keyboard line. Then one day I pulled out a guitar and an amp, played the song with a Stones-y beat and thought ‘oh fucking hell yes.'”

All for a Woman – “So much of this record was written about the two and a half years we’d spent on the road after playing shows in Silver Lake, going from living in apartments to living on a bus — and the experience, all of it, was predicated mostly upon the popularity of a record written about a real person whom I’d loved. It was really strange: singing about her every night, as if the whole thing was some kind of bombastic eulogy for a muse that had long-since become a ghost.”

It Doesn’t Mean a Thing – “Another song in which I still prefer the demo version; in this case it was kind of Wilco-y with an acoustic guitar and piano harmonies. This is about my dad who met mom when he got out of prison, trying to stay clean, how idealistic they were, how hopeful for a future for all us children not yet born.”

The Kids Are Ready to Die – “The first of the two anti-war songs on this record, I think this whole group of songs (you could include The Winning Side and Neda) stemmed from a desire to tell the stories of people at war that weren’t being told at home. We had a lot of vets at shows on this tour and I wish I could say we did something lofty like start a letter-writing campaign to increase VA funding or something but mostly we just tried to get them laid.”

Welcome to Your Wedding Day – “This song is about the two incidents during the war in Afghanistan in which US drones mistakenly bombed Afghani wedding parties. I guess I wanted to say something about the idiocy of trying to win ‘hearts and minds’ with bombs. In retrospect, it seems obvious. The guy screaming during the bridge is Daren in a drum room with a megaphone. We each auditioned and he had by far the best all-out scream. Double points for him because the drums on this song kick so much ass.”

Half of Something Else – “This was the first song I ever wrote for Anna and I to really sing together. I love the sound of her voice on this recording. When we sing it live we have a kind of game in which we stare intensely as possible at each other, which is super funny to both of us because she’s like sister… every now and then one of us straight up loses it and laughs.”

Toxic Treats

You’ve seen Susan’s TATE-y treats featured here before. If they’ve ever set your mouth to watering, we’ve got good news for you. As part of her own Fillmore countdown, she’s giving you a chance to win your very own Airborne Toxic Cookie Package. And as you can see, it didn’t take her long to welcome Adrian to the band by immortalizing his brand new pick in dough and frosting.

Airborne Toxic Cookies

Toxic Gold

And finally, since the band has us hankering for some rarities, here’s a seldom witnessed performance of “I Don’t Want to Be on TV.”

Glen, Fan of The Airborne Toxic EventGlen 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.

  1. Phil says:

    Meanwhile across the pond us Uk fans are very sad and jealous that you are keeping the band to yourselves for so long. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie says:

    Damn, yet another ridiculously photogenic Airborne member. I look forward to meeting Adrian, hearing him play and getting some motorcycle maintenance tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] song that Mikel penned and recorded solo in 2012, and the demo version of “Numb,” which Mikel admits to preferring over the mix that made it on to All At Once. Give these two tracks a listen, and you’ll see the genesis of what we heard […]


  4. […] stating that he actually preferred this recording to the one that ended up on the album. He reiterated his opinion last fall, saying, “I still prefer the demo of this song to the recording. Dave (Sardy) and I had a […]


  5. […] 5 TATE Songs That Fo… on Toxicity 44 […]


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