Transcribed by Joe Murgia – ufojoe11 on Twitter.
I left out any of the interview that wasn’t related to “To The Stars Academy” or UFOs.
Hilary: “Angels & Airwaves”… it feels like it’s always been more than just a band. It’s almost like this living, evolving art project with a million arms going out in different directions. With comic books, films and then “To The Stars.” Is “To The Stars” part of the “Angels and Airwaves” project? And actually, first, tell people exactly what “To The Stars” is…who may not know.
Tom DeLonge: When “Angels & Airwaves” started, I knew that we couldn’t kind of compete in a way that Blink did. Blink was kind of this cultural phenomenon at the time. And so, when I started Angels, I was like, OK well I’m not going to try to pretend I can do that again. I mean, that’s like we won the lottery. That never happens.
So I kind of thought, well why don’t we take themes about the human race and try to get all arty in our own way and we’ll do a movie. And we’ll do books. And we’ll do albums. And we’ll really try to get large groups of artists, authors and directors…and we’re all kind of working on one theme together.
And we did that and we put out a movie called “Love.” It was kind of an art house movie. It got really great reviews but they were like, a lot of punk rock bands were like, you know, what the hell is this? This is so boring. Why are we watching some guy reading poetry? (laughs) It wasn’t that bad but for real, I think there were people that didn’t totally get what we were doing there.
But in any case, we expanded on that and we needed a company to handle that. So we created, “To The Stars,” which was essentially a science-fiction Disney where we’re a publisher and we’re a merchandiser and we’re a production studio. Then we put out our second art piece which was called “Poet Anderson,” this animated short film. We won best animation at Toronto Film Festival and put out these novels and we won really dope awards on them. One called the Benjamin Franklin award where oddly enough, it’s a science-fiction award for the best cover and the best story. Both. So I was kind of stoked because our cover was painted by this really great painter.
So that was all growing and we’re moving on. Okay, let’s talk about Poet Anderson, feature films. Let’s talk about the new stuff. We had all these things brewing. And then one of the stories that we were gonna do was called “Secret Machines.” And it was about UFOs. But the problem was, I took a deep breath and said, if I go out and put this story in a $100 million motion picture, I’m probably going to see my car just drive right off a cliff and randomly like, find me at the bottom of a river or something because I was dealing with national security secrets.
Hilary: Because it was like, seriously, things you know?
TD: Serious stuff. Things I knew.
Hilary: I can’t wait to get into that with you, too.
TD: I figured, before I do this, I should probably go around and ask for permission. And that’s what I did.
Hilary: From who?
TD: The government. So I spent about nine months working my way to the Department of Defense. Working my way into various three-letter agencies. And eventually got to the group of generals that run the UFO program for the United States government.
Hilary: Were you wearing a diaper that day? Like, that is amazing.
TD: No, the day that I needed to wear a diaper was…I thought I got the complete sign-off. Which I did. But there’s other three-letter agencies that didn’t know…
Hilary: Like DoD, CIA…who are you talking about?
TD: Those amongst others, yeah. And so these other groups didn’t know that I got brought in. They just knew that I was on the radio, doing national press, leaking national security secrets that were super classified. So, believe it or not, I got put in a small room up in Del Mar, by a gentleman from one of these three-letter agencies. And he showered me with compliments about my band and then just loved “Angels & Airwaves.” And like twenty-minutes into it, I was like, sir I know who you are, so when you sit here and give me all these compliments about my music, I’m kind of thinking, what’s the deal here? You know, I’ve taken it with a grain of salt. And he took a big breath and then leaned back in his chair. And then he just scoots forward, (laughing) and I remember I flinched and then he goes, I need to know who the eff you are. You know a bunch of stuff – using bad words – that you shouldn’t know and I need to know why. You need to tell me why you and I are in this room and how you know what you know. Another line…you know stuff the President doesn’t know and I need to know why. (laughs). I was like, oh my God. That’s when I wanted a diaper. I’m going….oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?
At that point, they had no idea that I was given this long leash by another group in very, very, very secret places, to start communicating something to the world. Because I pitched an idea. And it was funny because it all started with “Angels & Airwaves.” I have a band and we have this kind of spiritual core of what our band’s all about and I have an idea that might really work for ya guys. And it’s not about the band. But we are doing these other films…if we could ht it with music, if we could hit it with films and hit it with books and documentaries. There’s a whole strategic plan to open up, you know, the first conversation…it’s disclosure. It was a vehicle and mechanism for disclosure. It all started with “Angels & Airwaves,” right? But I’m also kind of, like, making this stuff up as I meet these guys with multiple stars on their shoulders. And I was like, yeah and we would do this and this! I don’t know what I’m taking about. I knew it could happen but I didn’t totally know how. You know?
But it worked. What was just “Angels & Airwaves” the band and then the little company called “To The Stars,” to handle all the film projects, grew into “To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science.” Where it’s en entertainment division, an aerospace division and a science division. Where it’s…let tell the stories, let’s build the technology and let’s study this with the world. So we are tied into multiple, international governments and their respective intelligence agencies. We are partnered with the U.S. government on a bunch of things I can’t talk about. Some of the stuff I can. And it’s gone from this dinky little project to something really, really big.
And so what happened was, it’s like, well maybe it’s time to bring “Angels & Airwaves” back, you know? Cause now I have a lot to tell people. And I’ve been given a very long leash to get this out there. And today, by the way, I said it to you before we went on the air, the Pentagon just admitted they’re studying UFOs. They admitted the program existed because we forced their hand. But now it’s on the front page of Fox News. It’s on the front page of a bunch of places now. That they finally came out and said yes, we do story these and take these seriously. The first time in seventy years! It’s scary. And it’s a scary subject. It’s one thing, oh, it’s cool. But when you really know it’s real? It’s kind of unnerving.
Hilary: I think it’s terrifying and fascinating….my husband just texted me and he said, you guys sound like you’re straight out of Coast to Coast, which I’m gonna take as a compliment.
TD: That actually is how that specific place heard me…was on Coast to Coast. And that’s what that guy, literally almost crashed his car, going…what the eff? Who’s this rock star saying all this stuff on national radio? It was Coast to Coast he heard me on.
Hilary: You must have been super-excited to get on Coast to Coast?
TD: Oh, yeah. I took it seriously. I grew up listening to that show.
TD: One of our properties, “Strange Times,” we sold that to TBS. That’s about skateboarders in Encinitas. It literally is about skateboarders who investigate UFOs. You gotta think kind of like “Superbad” meets “Super 8” but with the Jackass guys. But the movie that’s associated with this particular (“Angels & Airwaves”) album…I would tell you the name but it could change. And I wanna kind of launch that when I wanna launch the name of the album. But this album does go with a motion picture. I co-wrote that movie and I’m directing it and we’re supposed to be in production and filming in like in three weeks. So I have more calls after this today, to make sure that’s still happening. So things are tight in my world, scheduling.
DeLonge went on to describe how his plan has always been to take “Angels & Airwaves” into arenas so he can put on a multi-media experience that features everything “To The Stars” has been doing.
TD: That’s really what I always had in mind twelve years ago. I told everybody…we’re making movies, animations, books, science fiction stuff. It’s all gonna come to life together. And people were like, “Right on! You’re high. Why did you leave Blink 182? You’re full of yourself and you’re talking about aliens? You’ve literally lost the plot.” And now people are like, “Oh my God! Maybe he’s not that crazy? It’s crazy that, what if he’s right? This is scary stuff.”
Hilary: I know. I wanna dive into that, too. But do you mean…so have it in an arena so it can be like a full, multi-audio, visual, everything?
TD: It’s a multi-media exercise. So the whole idea is…all the animations, all the films…even…my company and I released the first three videos of UFOs that were declassified by the United States government, ever.
And we did that a year ago. I had a very particular meeting at a very particular place and I was given the videos. And it’s like…get these out. And we did. And we took them to the New York Times and we did this big thing for six weeks with them. And then it came out across the board in the Washington Post, in the New York Times…everywhere. And even those, will come to life in the show. The animations, the movies…all that stuff. But to do that, you kind of need a bigger production, which means you need to have more people….
It was always the trajectory. How do we take “Angels & Airwaves” to do this kind of modern Pink Floyd “The Wall” thing? Even though we’re nothing like Pink Floyd. But it’s the idea of being able to branch out of just an audio exercise. I think that this is all leading up to that. This is about…not so much the tour we’re doing in the fall but it’s about next summer. And that’s why I’m doing the movie now. And that’s what I’ve been working on so hard for twelve years with this band even when people thought we weren’t around but we were still doing stuff. So, if all goes right, we’ll have something pretty amazing to bring out to the world next summer. That’s the goal.
TD says that the “To The Stars” store in Encinitas has all of their merchandise in the front and all their offices in the back. That includes their aerospace “stuff,” his office and a warehouse. Plus, the History Channel show, “Unidentified” is produced there. They’ll be moving the store because they’re going to be growing a lot in the next two years.
Hilary: I wanna dive more into your interest in extraterrestrial life and the realities that we’re dealing with that aren’t really talked about by our government. And in pop culture, they’re just sort of imagined or whatever. When did you first start to believe that aliens existed or that there was something? And I wanna tell you…I believe it, too. I think it’s hubris. I think it’s ridiculous for us to think that we’re the only things in existence in this Universe. Statistically alone, there’s gotta be something else. I sort of wonder if there could be aliens in this room but they’re so outside of our consciousness that we can’t even perceive that they’re here. When did you get interested in it? When did you really start to believe?
TD: The way you were just saying all that is why I got way into this and why my band and having a little bit more say about, kind of the artistic highway that I wanted to be on…was because of that type of thinking. Everything that you just said. I was always so inquisitive. I grew up in a really dysfunctional home and a broken family. And I was like, “I’m gonna get tattoos and start a punk rock band!” But the reality was, I was always thinking there had to be so much more than this. I mean, this idea that I hate school and I’m gonna work at a job 9-5 and sell insurance or something and hate my life. There’s gotta be more! You know? So I got really fascinated in what else there could be.
Hilary: Like even as a kid?
TD: As a kid, when I was like…probably in junior high. I started trying to find books that I…first book I found was like UFOs and Loch Ness monster or something. And I was like, wow, that’s weird. It’s like reading about ghosts or something. And that was the beginnings of my love of science fiction, all things George Lucas and all that kind of stuff. I think I was always a very spiritual person. And what that means to be is…I think a lot of people in San Diego would recognize those types of words more so than maybe other areas of the world. What that means to be is that…I kind of believe that consciousness and who we are as people are tied to something much greater and has a lot more to do with the Universe. Literally, the physical Universe, than we can begin to imagine.
Hilary: Yes! Yes.
TD: And I wanted to really explore that stuff. And I knew that once you start thinking about, what is consciousness and who are we as human beings…and how are we connected to each other? And is there a soul? And what does that mean? And all that kind of stuff, you start thinking about, well, the Universe as an entire organism, must all operate a certain way. And there must be a lot more that’s out there the just Earth itself. So, I got really into all these large concepts and books and studies that would take my mind out of traffic and going to school every day. Or being on tour in a van, you know, for hours and…twelve hours at a time. To start to try to understand, you know…who are we and where do we come from and where are going and all that.
And when you study the UFO stuff, it takes you right down into the heart of all of this stuff. People think you just study about space ships. It has nothing…I mean any UFO book isn’t even about. You can find ones on sightings but no-one really cares about that. You’re usually reading about ancient religious texts. You’re reading about consciousness. You’re reading about esoteric physics. A lot of stuff that’s really academic that’s kind of hard to digest, to be honest. And I wanted “Angels & Airwaves” to kind of be the mechanism to explore all that stuff. But what are you gonna do when you just rhyme a few lines in a song, you know. To me…it’s books and movies and all this stuff. It can all work together.
And this is me being ambitious. And this is me saying, I’ll aim for the stars but maybe I just land on the Moon but at least I got a little further than most. And so, I got really into this stuff. And the funny thing is, is I think…I wasn’t just a guy that created a band that had all this space imagery. You know, “Angels & Airwaves” like our website had space and stars and our t-shirts had space and stars. You know? But it wasn’t really a gimmick because I probably am the only guy that went and created an aerospace company. You know?
Hilary: As a side gig.
TD: And dealing with the most secret, classified, space secrets, you know? And then I came back and said, “Okay, figured that out. I got it. It’s all unlocked. Now let’s go. Next record.”
But it’s fascinating stuff. The stuff I have in my head that I can’t talk about any more is just absolutely unreal. I mean, it’s like…I thought I knew a lot. And then there was one meeting I had where somebody goes, let me just tell ya what you’re fucking with. Let me just, let you know. And they said something and I didn’t sleep for three nights. And I was like, oh my God.
Hilary: See? I was gonna ask. Are you able to sleep knowing the things you know?”
TD: Sometimes no. But most of the time, yeah. I think it’s one of those things like, you know, ISIS is bad. Al Qaeda is bad. And they do really bad stuff. You know that’s out there. You know there’s people dealing with the brunt of that for ya so you can go to the mall and stuff on weekends. So I think when people wanna create conspiracies and point fingers at the government…you know, take the politics out of it. But just look at the tried and true, career civil servants. These guys…I’ve been to the Pentagon and I’ve been in meetings there. And I’ve met the people that I was told that if I ever learned their name, I would have to take it to the grave. And these guys have their fingernails chewed off on all their fingers. And the stress is just unreal.
Hilary: Because they are studying, exploring, dealing with?
TD: Just all types of threats, including the UFO phenomenon. And it’s not really…it is a phenomenon but…it’s phenomenon the most. Let’s put it that way.
Hilary: Do you feel like you have, in all your meetings and all your studies…you are 100% convinced that not only is there alien life but what, that UFOs have come into our atmosphere, have landed on Earth?
TD: Absolutely. Like one trillion percent. I’ve seen things, know things that 99.99% of the people will never get access to. Yes. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. It’s here. Its real. And it’s coming. Meaning the subject, you know? We don’t know everything about it. We know some things about it. There’s a lot more questions than answers.
But, you know, trying to bring it back to the band a little bit because if I don’t do this, my sister’s gonna chop my head off. The whole point of what I’m trying to do as an artist now, is bridge that gap where you take something that’s totally unbelievable and make it palatable for people to understand. And it works well with the band and what I wanna do there. Because I wanna be an artist that plays with these themes and does things that are challenging and unifies people and gets them to think differently. That all really works well and it also works for a lot of our government partners because they don’t have a mechanism to talk about the stuff that’s hard, like this.
Hilary: Without like, dropping a bomb and freaking everybody out.
TD: Yeah and it’s like, they’re there to deal with issues. They’re not there to…just making up a story…like imagine like, they caught some dude trying to sneak a nuclear weapon through the border of Canada. Do you expect them to stop, hold a press conference, sit on your sofa…This is what we found. We don’t know where it’s from. Everyone might die. We’re just like, no, get back to work. Call me when you’re done. When you have a second. You don’t want them to stop and deal with talking to you about it. Nor should they.
Then you throw on a subject that they don’t know everything about it and it takes a long time to figure this stuff out. This isn’t just like let’s spend the next twelve months and try and trace where people bought wires and plutonium. It’s like, spend the next 70 years and let’s try to figure out what the hell has been going on on Earth for thousands of years. It’s different.
Hilary: So by you, like kind of having their permission, for lack of a better word, or blessing, to be a little more open about these things that you know and that the government and these different agencies are okay with you…have given you the green light to share. For you, it serves a purpose because you are an artist and so you can create…it’s an artistic expression of all these things that you know. It’s like the culmination of all this knowledge and all this information. But also for them, it’s like a way to introduce it to people without…
TD: Yeah. And it’s hard for people to sometimes because they look and they go…it’d be nice to call the government Them but it’s not one functioning organism. It’s literally like, you know, like Disney bought Marvel. Disney’s $300 billion and Marvel’s probably $30-$50 billion at this point. They’re so big. They’re both giant. And does Disney and Marvel talk about everything? Or does Disney call them up and say…we want you to give us this accounting report? And they’re like, we’ll get to it when we can? Or I can’t call the guy and get the reports? He says that we don’t have to legally give it to ya. And you can picture, even though Disney owns them, doesn’t mean that…they kind of run their own thing. We’re a $50 billion division. So think about the government that way.
Look at how hard it is for Trump to tell them not to give away his taxes. They’re all arguing about it and you thought he was in charge. Not really. So in the government, you have a lot of different places with…and it’s a trillion dollar company. Think of it that way. There’s literally is like a trillion a year they’re probably spending on all this stuff. Their classified budgets and white world budgets. It does not mean that the Air Force is gonna do what the Navy wants them to do. It doesn’t mean that the CIA wants to share all of their stuff with the guys over at Naval Intel. It doesn’t mean that the White House even knows what, you know, the Department of Defense has been doing since World War II. Unless they knew the question to ask.
So you gotta think of different places with different budgets, doing their own stuff. One of the things that I did with my band was I put together a vehicle that…kind of allowed a conversation to take place with a lot of different people from different places. So if you look at the team from my company, you know…it’s one of the head guys from Lockheed Martin Skunkworks. I mean the Skunkworks built Area 51, you know, for the U2 spy plane. But I also have Chris Mellon who was Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. 3rd in command at the Pentagon.
Hilary: And he works for “To The Stars?”
TD: Oh yeah. He’s the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board.
Hilary: Are you his boss, Tom? (both smile and laugh)
TD: Not Chris’ because Chris is the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board so he’s involved in everything our company does. But he doesn’t. But you know who does work for me? And I like to say this because this is funny. Is that Lue Elizondo did run the government’s UFO program up until about 18 months ago. And he does work for me. And so I kind of go, well that’s kind of cool, you know? My partner Jim (Semivan) is CIA. He was a spy his entire life, up until the last year. But he’s what’s called a Senior Intelligence Service, which is like a two-star General equivalent. Like the top two percent of the CIA kind of thing.
Hilary: Oh my gosh. Do you ever like pinch yourself like, that it’s come this far for you?
TD: It’s the coolest thing in the world! Yeah. It is.
Hilary: And that you’re legitimized because, you know, like…
TD: People thought I was nuts, I know. You can say it.
Hilary: Well right. And aliens exist. Like, ha ha, funny song. You know what I mean?
TD: It’s cute.
Hilary: Totally. So then, like when…do you recall a moment where you realized you were finally being seen as legitimate in people you respected, eyes? Like they were finally taking you seriously?
TD: Yeah, I think it was when…You might not know about this moment. Maybe you do, Darren, I don’t know. When “Wall Street Journal” wrote a story because when all the WikiLeaks emails leaked? When John Podesta’s stuff got…
TD: Yep. My emails were in there because I was having conversations. And everyone in the article at “The Wall Street Journal,” they’re all like…oh, Tom DeLonge is talking about aliens with these multi-star generals and John Podesta and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I was like…no, John Podesta was Obama’s senior adviser, too. So these were discussions aimed at the White House. And when that came out, it was about, a handful of months after I said I was working with some important people. And no one believed me at the time. (I didn’t believe him ~Joe) They literally thought I was nuts. (I didn’t think he was nuts. Just exaggerating. I was wrong. ~Joe) So when this came out, there was pretty big validation.
But the other really big validation was when we came out with the New York Times article. And we got those videos declassified and were able to start the discussion and we outed the program. And that was not an easy thing to do. And a lot of people were really pissed. But then a lot of people were calling us up from whether it be the agency, CIA or the DoD calling up our partners saying…this is incredible. Thank God you guys pulled this off. You have all of our support. And even multi-star generals were in on it. Up to like the Joint Chiefs level where like this is…they want it to happen. But there’s a lot of people that weren’t ready for that conversation, too.
TD: But, you know, I was pinching myself. And it all boils down to, again, it all started with this band, “Angels & Airwaves.” And I’m not even just trying to throw in this shameless plug. I’m like…for real.
Hilary: No, but you’re right. I see that.
TD: It started with me pitching stories that would go along on these big concept albums and movies. But the difference was, is I wasn’t trying to do vanity projects with the stories. I was like…how do we do a theme that crosses the boundaries of features and books and albums and stuff. So everyone’s communicating the same theme, but let the movie be a movie and let the album be an album. Every piece has to stand on its own. It doesn’t have to be like…I’m not really trying to do Pink Floyd “The Wall” again. Let’s make a movie that can live as a feature in every Cinepolis, or AMC Theaters. I said Cinepolis. (laughs) There’s one up near me. I don’t know.
But it all started with the ambitions of how do I take this band and do something different. I was thinking I could pull it off in like four or five years. And now it’s like twelve. I was like…this was hard. (laughs) It’s been a long road, you know?
Hilary: So then especially now. It must feel so good, to like, here it is, we’ve got this music, like…it is. It really does feel more cohesive, maybe?
TD: I did like three interviews last week in a row and I remember…like “NME,” “Kerrang” and “Rock Sound.” It was all UK-based stuff. But each interview, the person said…”Wow, the stars are really aligning for you and everything you’re doing right now.” And I remember it…by the third time I heard that, I was so happy. Cause no one understood why I wasn’t in Blink any more. And then no one understood why I was singing songs about love and consciousness when Angels first started. And then no one understood the UFO thing at all. They just thought I was literally nuts.
And so so much of when all my government partners came on, it was like…we need people to see you more as an Elon Musk and less of who you really are. You know? (laughs) And I’m like…well, give me like $30 billion then because that’s what he has, right? But it’s been a long road to try to get people to understand…you know…I…and that’s the other thing, too is I’m a punk rock kid. I do what I want. And I really don’t care what people say. I think it really angers a lot of the fans. It’s just like, “We keep telling you, you’re an asshole and you suck. Why are you keep going this stuff?” (both laugh) But I think now, they’re, you know, I think they’re seeing a lot of stuff, you know? Like, they’re seeing the creative differences in what I do and what my brothers in Blink do. We like different things. We like different music. But we’re still good friends. And we still support each other. And it hit the press, last week, I think it came out: Yes everybody. I will play with Blink again. I talked to Travis (Barker) multiple times.
Hilary: People were losing their minds.
TD: Oh, I know. But that’s the whole plan. I mean…
Hilary: You talked to Travis, you were gonna say, and…
TD: No, I talk to Travis all the time and I talked to Mark (Hoppus) just the other day. And we’re always discussing what makes sense and when. But for me, when I was starting all this stuff – working with people that were in the government – I couldn’t tell those guys. So they didn’t know. And that was one of the reasons why they got so upset, I think, was…you know, they were like…let’s go record and lets go do all this…And I’m like, I can’t right now. I’m doing something.
Hilary: You mean you were still in Blink when this started?
TD: Yeah, yeah. This is when like the whole meltdown happened. Where it was like, “Tom quit! Tom didn’t quit! And now somebody else is playing in Blink and everyone hated each other,” and all this stuff. All that happened was because I couldn’t tell anybody who I was working with. I couldn’t tell anybody what I was working on.
Hilary: That must have been really hard.
TD: It was hard because at that point…I remember saying…if anyone just knew the enormity of what I’m putting together right now. If they have any concept that, for the first time in the history of mankind, I created a mechanism to have the conversation. And not only the mechanism like, I’m driving the fucking car here. Ya know? I’m like on the front seat, riding shotgun, on the single most scariest, fascinating, secretive…
Hilary: Potentially revolutionary.
TD: Revolutionary. Everything. Dealing with the tech…antigravity and other species in the Universe and interactions on the Earth and what that means. Or what this thing even could be. And all that. Like everything that comes along with it. And it all, again, it was all meant to fall in line behind what “Angels & Airwaves” was trying to do. Which was spearhead these big conversations.
Hilary: Through art though.
TD: Through art. But art does that. But honestly, this is how…this is crazy…I remember the main general…the guy. The guy that holds the keys, you know? I remember, I went out and gave this four-hour presentation about, you know, why he should consider working with me. And he was just quiet, rocking in his chair with his hand on his chin the whole time. And I remember I was exhausted after four hours of how I laid out the entire thing.
Hilary: And you’re laying out what you know and what your vision…
TD: Well, how I plan…the vision of how this would work. And that’s movies and books and non-fiction books and documentaries, the album and the tour and how it travels around. And the messaging and how you communicate to young people. Like, it was like, like I’m pitching the iPhone before the iPhone got made. You know, this is how it works. And at the end, he stands up, shakes my hand…”It was a real pleasure meeting you.” And I’m like, “That’s it? That’s it?”- “Pleasure meeting you.” I’m like, “Okay. Alright. What do I say? What do I say?” And he’s like, “I gotta go.” And he left. And I was like a broken man. I was like…I got so close. I met the guy. And I remember, he was like, “It’s not real. None of it is real. But I really enjoyed your yours. (Not sure what TD said there but it sounds like “your yours.” It’s at 41:13 if anybody wants to take a shot. ~Joe) And I was just going…oh my God.
So I fly home and I’m at the airport. And I wrote an email to him and I said, “General, please consider, for once…just one la…I beg of you.” And I said this one thing to him. I remembered at the moment that I got – at the time I used to wear an Air Force hat – and he was a general with Space Command. And I remember I said, at that moment, I said, “I wonder if there’s…I wonder if there’s like a cool quote with the Air Force?” I looked up what they teach ya in the boot camp. And it says, “You will always do what’s right, even at great personal cost.” You know, something to that effect. And so I put that in the email. It was just a Hail Mary. I just went on the Internet. I was like, is there any cool quote associated with the Air Force? You know? And I found this quote. And I threw it in there. Heard nothing.
Get on the plane. I fly home. I land. I’m driving home. I get off in Del Mar. The exit in Del Mar. And I’m in my truck. And all of a sudden my phone goes (make a vibrating sound) and I look over and I see there’s an email from him. My heart goes like crazy. And I pull the truck over. It just got dark. Put on my hazards. So I remember…there’s like all these red lights blinking. I open up the email and he responded to what I said. And he goes, “I wonder if there’s any time to stop the pressing of your books.” And then the next paragraph…I can’t tell you what he said. But he said, “Maybe there’s some room in the story for this…boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.” And I swear to you, I almost pissed my pants. My heart was going a thousand miles per hour. And I go, “Holy shit! Holy shit! It worked! How do I? Okay, what do I say next? What do I say next?”
And so for the next six months…for the next six months was just like…it was crazy. I had to really think through what I say, when I say…You can’t ask about classified programs. So I had to keep things largely to things that…I don’t wanna get into any situation where he’d say, “Fuck you. I’ll never talk to you again.” And I learned how to have an enormous amount of respect and humility. And then I had to execute everything that I pitched! And I had to get it done. And I did. And it was just the most wonderful, wonderful thing, you know? But when the emails leaked, that shut that valve right off. That was the worst. It’s on the History Channel show. It’s in there. I’m talking about all this stuff and I go, “I had one rule. There was only one rule: Do not let the names leak of the people I’m working with.” And then it leaked because of Julian Assange. Imagine like a pipeline faucet and water (mimics water flowing out) and someone just comes up and goes… (makes a noise of a car stopping suddenly) turns it off. And I was like, “Oh my God.” I was finally getting stuff out that people needed to know.
But, what happened because of that “Wall Street Journal” article was that all the people around me now, sought me out because they said, You’re the real deal.” And so now I have “To The Stars Academy.” So everything happens for a reason, you know?
Hillary: That story just gave me chills, by the way. That is…
TD: Oh you have no idea. I haven’t told you anything.
The conversation turned to “Unidentified,” the six-part series on the History Channel, which just finished airing.
TD: If you remember a couple of week ago, it leaked from Congress that the Navy was putting together a formal reporting mechanism for UFOs. That was us. So “To The Stars” has been briefing the Senate and Congress and various oversight committees for the past year. And so all the people we’re bringing to them to brief the Senators and stuff, were all current pilots and pilots that are in the Navy now that have been intercepting these craft and stuff. Well, we would find them. We would debrief them. And we would it all on camera. And then we would take them and let them brief the Senate. And what resulted from all that was us helping guide new national security policy on this. And draft language and oversight bills. And so that leaked a couple of weeks ago that that was happening but that was “To The Stars.” That was us. And that’s all in the series.
Hilary: Oh my God! You gotta be so proud of that.
TD: Yeah, the show’s epic. There’s stuff in there that’s like, wow. Talk about, like…this is gonna make people kind of understand.
Hilary: Are you the producer?
TD: Yeah. I’m on it, too. It’s all my team members. I’m the producer. I directed it. It’s umm, yeah. But it’s all about “To The Stars Academy” doing this stuff.
Hilary: And finally, if people want to learn more about what “To The Stars…” what you are doing, I know there’s always like www.angelsandairwaves.com and all of your social media stuff. But for the “To The Stars” stuff, do they just go to your website? Are there resources?
TD: Best thing is to always follow my socials on Instagram and Twitter, obviously. So follow my socials for Tom DeLonge on Instagram and Twitter and all that stuff. So all the “To The Stars Academy” stuff is on there. Also, To The Stars Academy dot com. And To The Stars dot Media is where we have all our products and books and t-shirts and “Angels & Airwaves” records. “Angels & Airwaves” is a division of “To The Stars Academy.” It’s kind the road show division. So, if I have my way, all the aerospace, all the science, all the data, all the information, all the projects – the ones that can be discussed – would be a part of the extravaganza. That circus. Going forward. So that’s what we’re gearing up for.
I’m super passionate about “Angels & Airwaves” cause we’ve always been pretty diverse in the types of songs we create. At least for a punk rock kid. It’s not pigeon-holed too much. It always sounds, kind of like me, you know? This next record really is going to be the defining record for us. Ilan Ruben, when he joined our band on the last record – he’s a San Diego native…plays in Nine Inch Nails as well, with Trent – getting him on this album and a part of what we’re doing, it’s such a wonderful growth that I think people are gonna appreciate what we have coming. So I’m so happy you guys added this…thank you for playing the song and for supporting us.
Hilary: Game on on 91X! Our pleasure. Truly.
TD: It means so much to me. I’m not jaded. Because being a giant rock band and leave it and try and start all over again, you realize…it’s like…we’re thankful for any bit of support.
Hilary: Well, I appreciate that. And we’re stoked to have you on the air and we love it. Tom DeLonge…”Angels & Airwaves”…”To The Stars”….thank you so much for your time.
TD: What a good interview, right? How many musicians can talk about all this stuff?
Hilary: Yeah, that was awesome. Thank you.
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