How The Airborne Toxic Event Changed My Life

Posted: March 9, 2015 in A Little Less Profound
Tags: , , ,
Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event at Sonic Boom, Aug. 2014. Photo by Creative Copper Images (

Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event at Sonic Boom, Aug. 2014. Photo by Credit Creative Copper Images (

By Juan Manuel

The title is not an overstatement. Five musicians from a country I am not even from had a larger influence on me than any other music I had ever heard before. That’s right, I am not from the U.S., or from England, or any other English speaking country. I am Colombian, and truth be told I am probably the only Colombian in the world that knows and loves TATE.

My journey to finding TATE goes through one man: my father. You should probably also know that I am just 16, and I was much younger when I was introduced to TATE. So it was thanks to my father that I started listening to their first album. He stumbled upon them while searching for music on iTunes, and as he once told me, “After listening to ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ I knew that this band was special; that song is the best song ever made, and it is my all time favorite.” In that me and my father agreed, “Sometime Around Midnight” was the best song ever to be made, and after listening tirelessly to their first album me and my dad had just one topic in our conversations: just how much we loved that band.

It is hard for me to explain my fascination with their music, my friends don’t understand why I like them that much, and to be honest I don’t either. I guess that I love their sincerity. In a world in which music is made to sell, and lyrics are often empty and meaningless, TATE is the exception. They do the music they love, whether people like it or hate it, as evidenced by their new album. And Mikel Jollett’s songwriting is just beautiful. I tried searching for another adjective to describe the lyrics but I just couldn’t find one that describes them as they deserve; that’s it, the lyrics are simply beautiful.

I have listened to every song of every album countless times, and I don’t get tired. Usually, when you listen to a song one too many times it loses its appeal; that hasn’t and will never happen with TATE’s music. The bond me and my father made through their music was truly special; we would sit and talk for hours about what our favorite songs were and how badly we wanted to see them live. My dad was able to; he took my mom to one of their concerts in Fort Lauderdale, and came back even more in love with the band. He told me that it was one of the best concerts he had ever attended (and he had gone to many, many, concerts) and that he had the chance to meet them; he had talked to Steven in the bathroom and their humbleness and friendliness truly astonished him. He also told me that the band was excited to have fans from such an unlikely place. When he and my mom arrived back home, my dad gave me a TATE shirt signed by all the band members, and three years later I still have that shirt displayed in my room.

I loved the band, and they were already firmly entrenched as my all time favorite, however it took a tragic situation to elevate TATE to a crucial part of my life. One week after they released “Wrong,” their first song from their last album, my dad passed away. He was young, but three brain tumors were too much to handle, and he moved on to a better place. It was then when TATE became the thing that, in my eyes, would always keep me linked to my dad. Even if he is not on this earth anymore, every time one of their songs plays on my iPod, my first thought is my dad, and for that I am forever grateful toTATE. My dad’s love for “Sometime Around Midnight” was so much that we played the song, full blast, at my father’s funeral. A song that has very little to do with death and was not very appropriate for the occasion, but it represented my father, so we played it, and people loved it.

When my dad was really sick and in a hospital bed I played him “Wrong” for the first time; he could barely talk back then, but he managed to say “It’s weird, but I like it.” I couldn’t have put in in better words myself.

So, this is my story, the story of the band I love, the story of my relationship with my dad. I could go on and on talking about why I love them and all they mean to me, but I don’t want to bore you. I apologize if my grammar is bad or if you don’t understand something, please take into account English is my second language and I am currently a little distracted, as I am listening to “California” and “Time to be a Man” at full blast on my speakers.

I also wanted to share with you some of my favorite TATE songs. The list is not in chronological order, or in order of preference, they are just the songs that I love the most, and that I could think about from the top of my head. (Please take into account that I have not yet heard Songs of God and Whiskey):

  • Sometime Around Midnight
  • Wishing Well
  • Elizabeth
  • Missy
  • Neda
  • One Time Thing
  • Welcome to Your Wedding Day
  • The Graveyard Near the House
  • My Childish Bride
  • The Kids Are Ready to Die
  • This is London
  • Gasoline
  • California
  • All for a Woman
  • The Girls in Their Summer Dresses
  • Time to be a Man
  1. jcstoller says:

    Such a beautiful story, Juan, and so eloquently expressed. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Juan,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. I think it strikes a chord with many of us because as TATE fans we all share a special bond that is hard to explain to a non-fan (or as I call them, people who haven’t listened to the band enough yet). How wonderful that you got to share that bond with your Dad.
    I hope you’ve gotten your copy of God & Whiskey by now!

    p.s. I loved your Dad’s impression of “Wrong,” it’s a really great way to describe that song.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Juan. The way you have described the bond with your father is beautiful and absolutely touched me. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful way to remember your father. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was very touching. So sorry for your loss. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan S. says:

    Juan, please accept my sincerest sympathies on your tragic loss. I commend you for eloquently sharing such a deeply personal story. I hope you get to see the band live some day and if that happens, I know your dad will be right there with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pearl says:

    Hi Juan,

    I loved your post. My father and I have bonded with music over time, but not as well as we’ve both bonded over The Airborne Toxic Event. I was 16 years old when I had first heard my first song of theirs and immediately after buying their new album my dad fell in love with them. My dad is very introverted and dislikes being in big crowds, but thankfully last year I had the honor of taking him with me to one of their concerts. He stood up with me the entire time and danced along.

    In a way it is strange how Mikels words are about heart break and death, yet they seem to bring people together more than ever. Maybe it’s like you said: they’re sincere. And genuine.


  7. shyra aka lafy rabin says:

    Juan, I second all other comments- thank you for sharing your beautiful story. ❤ p.s. Your grammar is better than mine 😉


  8. William Peter Bingen says:

    Like you Juan, I was introduced to The Airborne Toxic Event a couple of years ago… My father was driving home from work and he heard the song “Sometime Around Midnight” on the radio. After a while of research my dad found out that one of their albums had been released about a year before (All At Once) So, one day he went to Best Buy to get something… I have no clue what it was, but he stumbled upon the CD in the music section, he did ed up buying it and bringing it home… I was about eleven or twelve. He started playing it in the car when we’d be driving to the store, baseball, ect. The funny thing is, I didn’t like it. Then one day I decided to put it on my laptop just to listen to the songs a bit… And I have no idea what it was, but I just listened to it for hours and hours, and I fell in love with it #TATEfever so my dad and I started listening to them all of the time. The crazy part of it was… I fell more in love with it than my father…

    I agree when you say, “Their songs never get old.” It’s true they never get old… I love and appreciate every single song they make. I found more and more of their albums, EP’s, and singles. Since I am such a loud person and if I love something/someone I need to tell the world, I started showing friends their music… None of them seemed to understand the beauty behind the lyrics. Then, last year I met my best friend in the whole world, his name is Creed. He wasn’t that interested in the music, because he was more into rap/hip-hop, but he did have one Airborne song on his phone… “Changing” After a while of listening to it, he caught the TATE Fever. #TATEfever And eventually my parents bought both Creed and I tickets to see The Airborne Toxic Event preform in Milwaukee WI. at summerfest, he was still kinda getting used to their music, but I knew every word to every song and I loved it… Then in 2014 for my birthday (In September) my parents bought us tickets to see them in the Eagles Club (The Milwaukee Rave). That night was one of the most amazing nights of our lives, he and I practically knew every word to every song. It was really crowded but we enjoyed it so so so much #TATEfever

    Now till this day Creed and I love The Airborne Toxic Event. We are so grateful that they have been such a huge part of our lives. It means so much to have something to connect with, and just a few days ago my friend Reis listened to “Sometime Around Midnight”. Man I don’t know what it is about that song, but it is just perfect… It is the main source of TATE Fever…
    And I never thought there were people who appreciated TATE like I do… “I believe I was Wrong” And to all of the TATE fans out there, you people are the best! Thank you so much for reading this far… I know it’s probably getting really boring but, I can just rave about this topic for so long…
    “Somewhere they foxtrot madly”

    Also here’s a list of my favorite songs.

    -Sometime Around Midnight
    -The Way Home
    -Poor Issac
    -All At Once
    -All For A Woman
    -The Graveyard Near The House
    -Time to Be A Man
    -Tokyo Radio

    Liked by 1 person

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