I, Too, Would Leave the Federal Government to Work for Tom DeLonge
In honor of World UFO Day, GARAGE takes a moment to pay tribute to the only pop punk guitarist who has laid aside his ax to devote himself to the cause of extraterrestrial awareness.
Musician Tom DeLonge attends "A Conversation With Tom DeLonge" at The Grammy Museum on October 13, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage).
Given all the absolute terribleness that has happened since last December, it’s understandable if you don’t remember the revelations from the final weeks of 2017 that the Defense Department of the US federal government had been secretly running a program to study reports of unidentified flying objects since 2007. The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) was initially funded largely at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader back then, with the lion’s share of its spending going to an aerospace research company run by a friend of Reid, the billionaire entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, who is “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and that UFOs have come to Earth.
What got lost in the shuffle at the time, though, was the startling news that the person tasked with running the program, a military intelligence official named Luis Elizondo, had resigned in October from his post in the Defense Department to join former blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge’s “public benefit corporation” To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, publicly launched the same month as Elizondo’s resignation.
Their mission statement notes that To The Stars “strives to be a powerful vehicle for change by creating a consortium among science, aerospace and entertainment that will work collectively to allow gifted researchers the freedom to explore exotic science and technologies with the infrastructure and resources to rapidly transition them to products that can change the world.” For laypeople, that means extraterrestrials. DeLonge had been talking to the press about aliens and the obscurity of information on the subject for years prior to the NY Times story, most memorably in a long, long podcast episode for our dear colleagues at Motherboard.
Though he left blink-182 some years ago, DeLonge has been hinting at his interest in the subject of interstellar life since the band’s 1999’s Enema of the State track “Aliens Exist”—one of my favs—and it’s nothing but fascinating that accomplished intelligence officials are at this point comparing federal agencies and the entrepreneurial ventures of ’90s musicians and finding more opportunity in the latter!
Delightfully enough, the guy from blink who had the lip ring isn’t even the only one who can claim major political currency these days: Mark Hoppus, vocalist on the group’s mighty “Adam’s Song,”—shoutout to me in sixth grade!—last week hopped onto Twitter to casually claim that he was the guy who told a US Navy admiral how to capture the former Iraqi head of state Saddam Hussein in 2003. While I think Travis Barker, the only other original member of this freaking band who doesn’t seem to have some inside track on geopolitics, should probably just stick to drums and raising children, I’m open to the possibility that in the not too distant future pop punk musicians and Paris Hilton might have a decent shot at congressional seats, or even the White House. She does have a beautiful mind, don’t you think?