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Back on the Airwaves

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Angels and Airwaves' members didn't pick the band's moniker because its acronym, AVA, is also the name of singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge's daughter. (For the record: The "V" comes from the "A" in "and"-upside-down.) But it didn't hurt.

Nicknaming a rock band after a baby daughter? Sounds like the 30-year-old guitarist of now-defunct Blink 182 is growing up. DeLonge says he hasn't spoken to fellow former Blinkers Mark Hoppus or Travis Barker since the band's breakup. But, despite his decision to quit and devote more time to his family, DeLonge says he was "losing his mind" after doing so.But his latest project seems to have cleared his head. Angels and Airwaves' debut album, "We Don't Need to Whisper," delivers a gargantuan sound, and DeLonge is delighting in the opportunity to speak-and sing-his mind, even rambling about politics in interviews, something the Blink guys weren't too keen on.

While DeLonge scrambled to leave New York for a Philadelphia tour date, metromix tried to understand what Angels and Airwaves means to him.

If you had a reality show like Travis' "Meet the Barkers," what would you call it?

"Attention Deficit Disorder." "Wannabe Van Gogh." Some guy that's artistically going crazy in his head.

I really, really almost lost my mind making this album. I had this thing inside me, where I really felt this energy and saw this world, and I really had an appetite to do something positive and wonderful with music, and to achieve it.

It's not easy. I had an intervention by my management. They sat me down and they're like, "What is wrong with you?" I'm in my backyard, I've got tears in my eyes, and I just go: "F**k! I can't sleep, I can't breathe, I'm having these panic attacks because there's so much in my head that I want to get out."

And I looked at them and I said, "But this kind of craziness is exactly what's going to make this record truly great, and I don't know how to describe it to anybody."

The album's sound is so big, it seems like it's supposed to be listened to in space.

I guess that was the only way it could sound for what I was going after. We definitely went after this kind of a futurism, of an endless hope of space. No one knows what's out there, and there's infinite possibility out there.

Too bad I wasn't able to travel to space to listen to it.

I promise you that if you smoke a joint and put some headphones on, you might actually get there.

I'll keep that in mind. You've also said you're hoping to give people chills, like John Cusack's boombox scene in "Say Anything."

Yeah, it's pretty much that kind of idea, absolutely. I think everyone has had those moments where you're watching a movie or listening to a song, and the right thing happens at the right moment, and you get those chills. This whole record was about creating that feeling all the way through.

We all came from situations that we wish could have been better in their own right. And we're all pretty sick of the way things have been in the world for the past few years.

I think we're also at that age where we're becoming a little bit more socially aware and politically conscious. I have my second kid on the way; my brother fought in the war; my dad has leukemia; so it's like everywhere I turn, things need to be better.

This whole record really is about this conflict and this tug of war between love and war. If you're in a situation you don't want to be in, how to find a light at the end of the tunnel.

How will you feel about your kids seeing you naked in a video [for Blink 182's "What's My Age Again?"]?

My daughter is three-and-a-half, and she does that already; she runs around naked. Everyone just looks at her and goes, 'Dude, that's so your daughter.' If you can make millions of dollars doing it, then you can.

So you're in favor of running around naked, as long as it's on TV?

As long as you're getting paid for it, then I absolutely support it.

Matt Pais is a metromix intern.mpais@tribune.comOriginally published May 24, 2006.

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