Anna Bulbrook and Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event on the set of LettermanBy Glen

The Airborne Toxic Event’s Dope Machines Tour is officially underway after Wednesday night’s opener in Brooklyn. And if the brief junket isn’t making its way to your town, fear not – you’ll have plenty of opportunities this week to get your TATE fix on television or computer.

Maybe They Do Want to be on TV

The Airborne Toxic Event is going to be everywhere over the next week, and not just because of a frenetic tour schedule that has them zigzagging around the States. The band is scheduled to be on television three times in the next seven days, while also taping a fourth performance for future broadcast.

It starts this morning, when the band appears on VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live, airing at 9AM/8C. If you don’t have VH1 or heard about this too late, it should be available for online viewing here.

Tonight, you can catch the group performing hit single “Wrong” on the David Letterman Show. Their segment was taped on Thursday, and the band had fun posting Instagram pics from the famous set.

Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event on Letterman

Steven Chen and Adrian Rodriguez of The Airborne Toxic Event on Letterman

The Airborne Toxic Event on Letterman

Last fall, WHYY-TV captured footage of TATE’s Philadelphia concert, to be featured on their program, On Tour. The Airborne episode is set to air on Thursday, March 19. If you don’t happen to live in the Pennsylvania area, we expect the video to eventually be available on the On Tour website. Here’s a preview:

And finally, tonight’s second stop on the Dope Machines Tour, in Cleveland, OH, will be filmed for later broadcast on Cleveland’s WVIZ/PBS. The show, which will be set against an absolutely stunning background, is part of a very unique Cathedral Concerts series, organized by the locally-based Elevation Group.

On the Record

Further media appearances of late included a pair of interviews as the band prepared to hit the road again. First, Mikel Jollett spoke with the Cleveland Scene, talking about the recording of Dope Machines and Songs of God and Whiskey, and dropping some hints about what to expect on the tour:

The Airborne Toxic Event frontman Mikel Jollett admits the execs at the band’s record label were a bit taken aback when the group announced it wanted to release two new albums, Dope Machines and Songs of God and Whiskey, on the same day.

“They were like, ‘What the fuck!’” Jollett says in a phone interview from his Los Angeles home.

The two albums are quite different from one another. Dope Machines makes use of synthesizers and pre-recorded beats while Songs of God and Whiskey is a stripped down affair.

“Dope Machines was like making a symphony,” says Jollett. “You write all the parts from the oboes and the violins. Then, you have the big day and play it all together as several different movements. Songs of God and Whiskey was more like, ‘Let’s get a bottle of wine and sit around and play.’”

For the current tour, the band will play Dope Machines in its entirety and then dip into its back catalog.

“We have a digital presentation that goes along with [Dope Machines songs],” Jollett says. “There’s a visual component too. The concert’s first half is playing the record with this visual element. The second half is playing songs from throughout the different records and getting down the the crwod. The idea was to get out and play. We just did a huge tour. We’ll probably do a huge tour. We wanted to create a movie and audiovisual like The Wall or Tommy or all those huge ’70s rock concepts. It’s a similar idea but not as narrative driven.”

Later, Mikel and Steven Chen sat down for a chat with Halo Halo with Kat Iniba, an entertainment program for Asian-Pacific Americans. They touched on everything from the new albums, to the tour, to the band’s visits to Asia and drinking with Chen’s father. Mikel also explained why they decided to release two albums on top of one another:

There was a couple reasons. The most important one was just, there was all these songs. And the songs were written and done and they didn’t belong any particular place; they didn’t belong on Such Hot Blood, they didn’t belong on Dope Machines, and I just really wanted to play them. And then the second thing was, I did most of Dope Machines myself, and there was this sense of, I just wanted to get back in a room with these jokers and play. You know, it had been awhile since we had just played. And Dope Machines is a very involved piece of recording, and a tremendous amount went into it; it was kind of like making a symphony or something. And then we sort of finished that, and it was like, “Let’s just get in the room and turn the mics on and play some songs.” So that’s what Songs of God and Whiskey was. And I’ve got to say, it was great, really fun to be able to play with these tremendous musicians again and be a band that was just having a good time in a room.

Here’s the full interview, in two parts:

(Yet More) Dope Reviews

Reviews for The Airborne Toxic Event’s pair of newest albums have begun to peter out, but a couple of late ones surfaced this week.

Restless Press: “[Dope Machines] manages to assimilate a new element to the pre-existing concept of what the band sounds like without cheapening or diminishing the appeal of either sound… [Songs of God and Whiskey] stands in stark contrast to Dope Machines in that it has a folksy campfire feel as if the songs are meant to be played on cold starry nights with a group of close friends singing along.”

Impact 89FM: “As a long-time Airborne fan, I find [Dope Machines] a little disappointing just because it’s not the sound I fell in love with in earlier albums like their self-titled 2009 release. However, I’m impressed at the transition the band has made, taking a detour from their signature guitar and violin combination… What keeps me hooked on The Airborne Toxic Event, though, is their other new release, Songs of God and Whiskey

Toxic Gold

Last week we looked back at an early performance of “The Lines of the Cars” (aka “Waves and Radiation”). This week we dip back to the same show for fellow Songs of God and Whiskey tune “April is the Cruelest Month.”

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.


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