The song “What’s My Age Again?” hasn’t been part of rocker Tom DeLonge’s daily life in four years. He left the band Blink-182 in 2015 and, two years later, went on to co-found To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, a company working to help people better understand research about UFOs.
He and the other members of Blink-182, one of the biggest bands of the ‘90s, went their separate ways in 2005 and reunited in 2009, but DeLonge left for good on his own for work with the academy. Although it might have seemed like an odd transition to the rest of the world, DeLonge revealed in a new interview Thursday that he feels like he was being prepped for his new role all along.
“It’s really funny, I think I was kind of groomed for this job because the first time that I left Blink-182, which is a long time ago, all my fans were so angry and the public at large was like, ‘Why would you do that? You’re crazy.’” he told the New York Times. “I had a list of this whole kind of reinvention of who I was, and starting my band Angels & Airwaves really gave me a way into that. I had to rebuild up from the ground, who I thought I was, who I wanted to be, where I wanted to go.”
But DeLonge said he had to stay silent about his research.
“By the time this happened my band didn’t understand it, I couldn’t tell who I was talking to. Because at the time, a lot of these guys were still in positions that are sensitive and transitioning out of government or whatever,” he said. “I wasn’t in a place to be able to really say everything, it just wasn’t the right kind of etiquette, if you will. The guys from Blink didn’t know this. But it’s OK. But I knew I was getting into waters that were so important that I had never really even touched before. Going through what I went through earlier with the band, I already had thick skin. So I didn’t really care, is the short of it.”
As the newspaper pointed out, DeLonge, as a member of the punk rock group, had acted in a way that might make others take him not so seriously. He said he came to his new position gradually.
“It was funny because, fortunately most of the people I was meeting with in the early days weren’t really aware of the crazy rock and roll behaviors and antics that I’ve had in my early, mid-20s,” DeLonge said. “I always tell people being a celebrity got me in a few doors, but that’s all it did. My intellect, whatever level it may or may not be [laughs], is what got those meetings to bear fruit.”
DeLonge said that, once he was in those meetings, he made sure to act as though he belonged there. He was a professional.
“I think from my perspective, the most important thing that I was focused on was being eloquent. Being humble to the subject, because the subject is not a joke,” he said. “I had to really be respectful about what I was saying, how I was saying it. I think because all those things, I earned trust and I earned more meetings. It was a process, it did not happen overnight, it took me a couple years.”
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