It’s been a mere two weeks since our last Toxicity, but it feels like a lifetime ago. Between the Fillmore excitement and the steady stream of TATE news and the ceaseless flow of pictures and reports from the first six tour stops, I’m completely out of the loop on anything that doesn’t have to do with my family, my job or The Airborne Toxic Event. As a huge hockey fan, I completely forgot that training camps have opened and preseason games have begun – unthinkable at any other time in my life. But then, this is no ordinary time – not in the TATE universe, anyway. So, let’s get to the news.
Mikel on New Album, Noah
On the afternoon of the first Fillmore gig, the fan line was abuzz over a story on Yahoo in which Mikel Jollett spoke about the new album, their new record deal, the departure of Noah Harmon and more. Among the highlights:
On signing with Epic Records and joining forces with L.A. Reid:
“He’s got a great ear,” Jollett says of the one-time Babyface collaborator who also gained notoriety with the general public by appearing as a judge on The X Factor. “I love that dude. I love working with him. He’s got great energy and he’s super down for artists. He just wants us to do what we want to do and wants to support it. It’s been a very positive experience so far. And we get to be labelmates with Modest Mouse. They’re like one of my all-time favorites.”
On the new album, which Yahoo claims is tentatively set for an early 2015 release:
It was during that set (Lollapalooza) that the band chose to debut “Dope Machines” and “California,” two new songs from its still-in-progress album. “‘Dope Machines’ is about how dopey machines can make you,” Jollett explains. “You know, everyone is staring at their iPhones and whatnot. And sort of simultaneously, how cool it is to have all these dope-ass machines to make music with, and drive, and save you from a heart attack. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. The machines are turning us into something different that’s a little smarter in some ways and more capable; and a little dumber and checked out and not quite as engaged in others.”
As for “California,” it offers a flip side to the Hollywood version of the Golden State, featuring movie stars, palm trees, surfer boys and blonde beach beauties. “I grew up in L.A. and went to public schools in L.A. where there were like four white kids,” he says. “I thought [the Hollywood version] was a weird representation of Los Angeles, because it had nothing to do with the city I knew.”
Musically, Jollett drew inspiration from some of the greatest voices in the history of rock. “I heard this a cappella version of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury singing ‘Under Pressure.’ Do yourself a favor if you have a minute, YouTube that s**t. They’re just f**king amazing singers. God damn, Freddie Mercury could sing, and David Bowie’s in the background going ‘do-do-dad-do.’ It’s just so, rhythmic and weird and awesome. I had this moment of clarity where I thought, ‘You know what, I’ve got to change my approach.’ This whole last year has been all about finding things are just fun to play, things that sound different and weird, things that are unabashedly catchy, that have a handclap to them and an innate rhythm. I ended up making this whole record kind of based on those ideas, which is by far the weirdest record we’ve made.”
On Noah’s firing and the addition of Adrian Rodriguez to the band:
With the new direction came a line-up change. Founding bassist Noah Harmon initially took a parental leave of absence in early 2014, but in August, he confirmed via Instagram he had been ousted from the band. “We kind of made a decision as a group to not disclose why,” Jollett says. “All I can say he was let go. Of course there were reasons, but I think it’s kind of disrespectful to air those publicly. We wish him well. I will say him having a kid had nothing to do with it. We’re very happy that happened for him and think that’s very positive.”
Replacing Harmon, however, wasn’t easy. On an interim basis, the band first tapped Ashley Dzerigian. “She got snatched up by CeeLo Green after one gig,” Jollett says. Eventually, the band hired Rodriguez, whose played with Hanni El Khatib. “He’s a great guy, great bass player and a wonderful guy to be around,” Jollett says. “We’re all super psyched to have him in the band. He’s a really good onstage and can play the s**t out of his bass.”
TATE fans have been waiting for an official statement from the band with regards to Noah’s release; hopefully this interview will put that issue to rest, as it appears that there will be no more information forthcoming.
We’re already over a week deep into the fall tour, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no new tour news. In recent days we’ve learned that:
- When TATE visits Philadelphia on Oct. 3, they’ll be experiencing Terror Behind the Walls – a haunted house inside an abandoned prison. Better yet, local fans have a chance to join them.
- Before hitting the stage in Columbus, OH on Oct. 14, the band will stop in for a set at CD102.5’s Big Room.
- Twin Shadow will open the Oct. 30 show at L.A.’s Greek Theatre.
- Though we haven’t seen an official announcement, it appears Denver is getting an additional show on Nov. 7. It’s listed on both the fall tour t-shirts and the tour poster (which we’re giving away for free, by the way).
TATE Photograph Smorgasbord
Got an hour (or three) to kill? The new tour is proving to be a photographer’s dream come true. Already, we’ve seen hundreds of dazzling images floating around the web, led by Ryan Tuttle’s Fillmore set. As the official photographer of the Fillmore residency, Ryan had both on-stage and backstage access, resulting in a truly magnificent collection.
And that’s just the beginning. Here are some more photogs who captured the action in San Francisco:
- Jessica Sandoval (Night 1 | Night 2 | Night 3)
- Julie Stoller (Night 1 | Night 2 | Night 3)
- Rianna Chloe (seriously, you MUST check out her Adrian hair shot)
- Chris Tuite – The Owl Magazine
Meanwhile, there are these offerings from Tempe:
And finally, from the final summer festival stops of the year:
- Rifflandia (official)
- John Bollwitt (Rifflandia)
- Tyson Elder (Rifflandia)
- Vancouver Weekly (Rifflandia)
- Daniel Young (Sonic Boom)
- The Reflector (X-Fest)
Fillmore in Review
We were surprised at the paucity of reviews of the Fillmore shows; it seems the media was content to leave the reviewing to us here at TIN. The only other review we’ve been able to dig up was Indie Obsessive’s take on the show #2, which they summed up thusly: “The Airborne Toxic Event put on a show that removed any doubt as the wisdom of Yahoo! in its decision to stream the event.”
The Airborne Toxic Baker Strikes Again
What’s a Toxicity without a new TATE cookie? The band has been keeping Susan busy of late, what with all their new guitar pick designs. Never one to back down from a challenge, she came through with flying colors on Anna’s new pick. And having sampled a wide variety of TATE cookies in San Francisco, I can attest that they taste as good as they look – maybe even better.
We shared this earlier, but didn’t want it to get buried. Here’s the long awaited live world premiere of “The Way Home” from Night 3 at The Fillmore, courtesy of Julie.
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.