Angels & Airwaves (also known as "AVA") is an alternative rock group fronted by former Blink-182 and Box Car Racer guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge. The band includes guitarist David Kennedy, notably from Over My Dead Body, Hazen Street and Box Car Racer, former Rocket From the Crypt and Offspring drummer Atom Willard, and former 30 Seconds to Mars bassist Matt Wachter, who replaced former The Distillers bassist Ryan Sinn in May 2007. The band has released two albums thus far: We Don't Need to Whisper (2006) and I-Empire (2007). They released a documentary entitled Start the Machine on June 17, 2008, and also plan on releasing a feature film involving their music, entitled I-Empire.
Tom DeLonge began working on the debut album, We Don't Need to Whisper, shortly after Blink-182 began their hiatus in February 2005. As rumors were floating around about the band's "indefinite hiatus", DeLonge chose to abstain for half a year from any interviews surrounding the issue and his future plans. Instead he concentrated on writing and recording in his home-based studio. In September 2005, he finally spoke publicly in Kerrang! magazine, where he unveiled the name of his new band - "Angels & Airwaves". Upon fiddling randomly for several weeks with the band's logo, Tom suddenly realized that if he were to invert the middle A of the acronym (A)ngels (A)nd (A)irwaves into what appeared to be a V, he would have the name of his daughter, Ava.
Angels & Airwaves released their first single, "The Adventure", after a fan hacked into Tom's email account and stole 4 demos from the album. "The Adventure" was leaked onto radio stations, resulting in the band having to release it on May 18, 2006. They released their first album, We Don't Need to Whisper, a few days later on May 23, 2006. The album reached 4th on the Billboard 200, and went gold.
On April 23, 2007 it was announced that Ryan Sinn (now former bassist) would not play at the Free Earth Day concert at the M.I.T. campus due to difficulties within the band. Following this incident, on May 15, Sinn posted on the Army of Angels fan club message board stating that he was "no longer a part of Angels & Airwaves", and had received a call on the evening of April 19 concluding his relationship with the band. Sinn then proceeded to auction his signature DeLonge Gibson guitar, a gift from Tom, shortly after his departure. Sinn's relationship with the band has seemingly discontinued. DeLonge has since talked about Sinn's departure, telling Kerrang!, "He's a really great person and a really great bass player. But we had different priorities and he had things going on in his life that he needed to take care of. The rest of us were relying on him to tackle those things, but he couldn't do it. And so it put him into a defensive position."
Matt Wachter (former bassist of 30 Seconds to Mars), filled in for the show and was later confirmed as a permanent member of Angels & Airwaves.
Tom DeLonge revealed in an interview with Kerrang! that the new album would be titled I-Empire and would be released on Universal/Island Records. He stated that the new album will be stripped down, a departure from the heavy effects found in We Don't Need To Whisper. DeLonge also revealed that I-Empire would contain 12 tracks, including "Star of Bethlehem", which was recorded in late 2006 and had already been released on the KROQ 2006 Christmas CD. I-Empire debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 9 with sales of 66,000 in its first week. It also reached number one on the iTunes Top Albums chart. The sales have dropped considerably since then; third week sales put the album at No. 103 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album cover of I-Empire was drawn by Drew Struzan who also did the work of many Star Wars and other LucasArts movie posters. DeLonge once stated on this subject that, "We said only that it needed a 'heroic' vibe, with '70s attributes and a bit of a sci-fi ingredient. We saw the finished product, and we never looked so good. It's the best thing our band ever did for branding our music."
On June 18, 2007, the band released a newly designed website depicting a motorcyclist and a flash application with flashing text that read "I-Empire, Fall 2007". The flash application also played a short music clip, which is from the intro of "Love Like Rockets", along with a portion of a speech from President Dwight D. Eisenhower via the Project SCORE Satellite from 1958. The flash application ended with the quotation "If I had my own world... I'd build you an empire...", which are lyrics from the song "Secret Crowds".
The first single from the new album, "Everything's Magic", was leaked onto the internet, and on August 25, 2007 it was the most requested song on California radio station KROQ. Angels & Airwaves began streaming the song on their MySpace profile on August 28, 2007. It also became available on iTunes, and reached number three on the iTunes Rock Chart on September 11, 2007, before the song was even made available for nationwide airplay. The song received a lot of criticism by fans because the intro sounds very similar to the Blink-182 song, "Anthem, Pt. 2". Several videos were made on YouTube where the two tracks were played over each other, displaying the evident similarity of the songs. On December 28, 2007, Matt announced on Modlife that "Secret Crowds" will be the next single. The song went to radio on February 4, 2008. The band shot the video for the single on January 20 and 21, and it premiered on MTV2 Unleashed on February 25, 2008 The band came out with a third single "Breathe" that was released onto the internet June, 20. Delonge mentioned possibly releasing a fourth single recently at an interview for the premiere of Start the Machine he said there were many possibilities including "Call to Arms" and "Love Like Rockets".
Angels & Airwaves released a documentary involving their music, titled Start the Machine, as well as a feature film entitled I-Empire, named after their second album. The documentary has been submitted to several festivals for consideration, and DeLonge has said he hopes it will be released to theaters in 2008 before coming out on DVD. In an interview with SuicideGirls, David Kennedy described the feature film as "all these vignettes that intertwine kind of like Pink Floyd's The Wall meets Crash". On August 29, 2007, Angels & Airwaves updated their website with a new trailer for the second album. The trailer showed a montage of video from the upcoming I-Empire film and the upcoming documentary, featuring "Secret Crowds". Additionally, another trailer was uploaded detailing the motion picture endeavors of the band.
At recent concerts, the band has covered "Not Now" and "Reckless Abandon" by Blink-182, and "There Is" and "My First Punk Song" by Box Car Racer.
Both Angels & Airwaves' MySpace and Warped Tour's Kevin Lyman have confirmed that Angels & Airwaves are playing all of Warped Tour 2008.
On March 17, 2008, DeLonge stated in a blog on the band's Modlife that the band were working on remixes of certain songs. DeLonge also mentioned that there are in fact two albums in the works at the moment. One will be a 'punk rock' album which will be "just for the fun of it" and the second will return to the familiar sound of AVA.
It has recently been announced that they will be playing the Fall 2008 tour in support of Weezer.
Among short films for many of the songs from We Don't Need to Whisper and I-Empire, Angels & Airwaves have filmed two full-length films: Start the Machine, a documentary, and I-Empire, a science-fiction movie. I-Empire will be soundtracked by the band's music.
The Start the Machine documentary DVD was released on June 17, 2008.
Modlife is a social networking site and online operating system for musicians/bloggers and businesses. The website launched on June 21, 2008. Tom DeLonge has stated that Modlife is his attempt to "fix" the music industry. He believes that music should be free and that paid subscriptions to intimate webchats, blogs and videos of bands and musicians could fund the artists in the future. Currently on Modlife, Angels & Airwaves require a membership to view the many features, but allow visitors to stream their latest effort, I-Empire, in its entirety for free.
Other bands/artists are currently being set up with their own Modlife pages.
* Tom DeLonge — lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2005–present)
* David Kennedy — lead guitar, keyboards (2005–present)
* Matt Wachter — bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (2007–present)
* Atom Willard — drums, percussion (2005–present)
* Ryan Sinn – bass, backing vocals and keyboards during live performances. (2005-2007)