With his band's flame burning bright, singer-guitarist Tom Delonge tells Truepunk about surviving in the cut throat music business. Interview by Steve Tauschke with Tom Delonge.
Hi Tom, how's things?
"Ok, I'm in a gas station parking lot in San Diego. I'm between houses right now so I'm staying at my girlfriend's house and the only phone people can get hold of me on is a mobile phone number and that only works above her house up on this hill. So I had to pull in here to take interview calls. Haha!"
I seem to hear Dammit wherever I go .. are you living off the band these days?
"We are, totally! It's better than we've ever lived before but that's not to say it'll all be here tomorrow so we're not taking it for granted or anything. We're not even going to try to say that we're comfortable because we're actually all kind of scared to tell you the truth. I mean any band that has any popularity aren't expected to be here for too long … but we usually don't talk about money, it's a taboo subject because the kids get bummed on ya! Haha! I mean if we were to make $10 a show some kids would say 'oh, that's too much, that's not punk, you should be playing for free!' And if we got a $1000 a show then people would just say we're taking all their money."
What are you most scared of … the fame or failure?
"Well, we signed to a major label (MCA) and if (sales) don't keep going up then it goes down and you're gone (pause) and then you know that your band failed, haha, well not failed but on a major label you've got to sell a lot of albums to make a living off it forever. It's just weird. It's an entertainers business."
I guess it's just music at the end of the day.
"Totally, but it's also our livlihood right now and I don't know how to do anything else except write songs about girls and pooping. So we'll see how far that takes me!"
People relate to girls and pooping though.
"That's how our songs start. Usually I or Mark get dumped on by a girl, spat on or kicked when we're down so then we come crying to each other, hold each other, wipe each other's eyes and we write a song about it."
You worked with Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World) on last year's Dude Ranch .. how did you hook up with him?
"He lives in San Diego and he did another band that we really liked the recording of so we decided to use him. It worked out really well. It was something new for him I think because he came from a different musical scene and it was great to get a bunch of ideas that went back and forth. He was really cool, he had a lot of ideas for our songs."
And you asked Scott Russo from Unwritten Law to help you out on the album too right?
"Yeah, he sings with us, you know, some back ups. Uunwritten Law are a punk band from our hometown, just friends of ours."
You guys seem to be a product of your environment, a real summer band .. tell me you use the right sun block?
"I don't use anything because I'm always so pasty white. I welcome any type of UV rays on my body. I don't mind bronzing up on tour because when I came home I look all hot for my chick. But I don't seem to get all that many rays. I use Vaseline all over my body, petroleum jelly. Either that or peanut butter!"