Tom DeLonge introduced himself to the world by streaking his way through Blink-182's video for "What's My Age Again?" and has since leveraged the multiplatinum success of the pop-punk group to become a clothing magnate (with his companies Macbeth Footwear and Atticus), social media entrepreneur (his network Modlife has been used by Pearl Jam and Kanye West) and children's author (2013's The Lonely Astronaut on Christmas Eve). But before any of that happened, he was a dedicated believer in the idea that life exists on other planets, and that the world's various governments have worked in secret to keep this information from the general populace. He's become a self-styled academic on the subject and launched a website, Strange Times, dedicated to exposing the truth of what he calls "the phenomenon." He's spent more than two decades getting laughed at for his theories, but with both NASA and the Vatican allowing that humanity might soon find evidence of extraterrestrial life, DeLonge is feeling mighty vindicated these days. A few weeks before he publicly clashed with the other members of Blink-182 about his commitment to the band, we called him at his office. We heard about mind control, a camping trip to Area 51 and how to look beyond popular conspiracy theories to the "third story."
When did you first believe in the existence of aliens? How did this all start?
What's funny, two decades ago when I got into this, it was such a "the world is flat" scenario, and here's Tom running around about UFOs and they'd just laugh it off. But now, NASA is holding symposiums on the inevitability of finding life in the universe. The Vatican is talking about, yes, there's life out there, and how it interferes or does't interfere with the church's view of existence.
You have to understand, I've been involved in this for a long time. I have sources from the government. I've had my phone tapped. I've done a lot of weird stuff in this industry — people wouldn't believe me if I told them. But this is what happens when you start getting on an email chains with hundreds of scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and different universities around the country, and you start outing seniors scientists from Lockheed Martin talking about the reality of this stuff, guys that hold 30 patents, guys that work underground out in the Nevada test sites in Area 51. It goes far beyond just saying, "Hey, that little light in the sky, that's a little green man." That doesn't lend the right gravity to the topic.
Above, DeLonge with an archival UFO image from his files.
You've had your phone tapped?
Yeah, yeah I did. For quite some time. Years ago, there was somebody who was gathering 150 hours of top secret testimony specifically for Congressional hearings on government projects and the US secret space program. People from NASA, Rome, the Vatican, you name it, they're all on there. The top 36 hours that summarized the best parts of all of that footage, I had it hidden in my house for a period of time, and during that time I was flying this person out along with somebody that was Wernher von Braun's right-hand assistant. Wernher von Braun was a Nazi scientist that we brought over to build our Apollo rockets that got us to the moon, and on his deathbed he told this person a bunch of stuff, and I was flying them out to Los Angeles and we were taking certain meetings. At that time a lot of weird stuff started happening.
Were you concerned about your safety at all?
Partially. Because they do weird stuff. At the time I didn't know it, but the person I was dealing with was being awoken in the middle of the night with clicking and buzzing noises and falling on the ground vomiting, every morning at 4 a.m. I know now that those are artifacts from mind-control experiments, where the same technology that we use to find oil underground, we can zap somebody at the same frequency that the brain operates on, and it can cause some really horrific things to happen. But I didn't know this until 10 years later. I got caught in the middle of it, and this was the time when I was on the cover of Rolling Stone, so I think these guys, whoever was running this operation, were like, "What the fuck? How did this kid show up?"
When you first started reading about this stuff and getting more knowledgeable, did you ever try to talk yourself out of it or think, "I must be crazy if I believe that this stuff is real"?
At first I believed everything I read. Then I got to a point where I didn't believe anything I read. And then I came out of the back of it, saying to myself, "Half of it's real, half of it's not." What people have to understand is the basic history of the UFO is very simple. The phenomenon has been around forever. All the ancient religions were written down based on witnessing this phenomenon in various forms. Governments of the world watched the phenomenon and tried to replicate the technology, but they did in secret. So the governments are fighting each other with these pieces of technology. But within those little skirmishes, the phenomenon is still here, and it's much more advanced. So in order to hide what the governments are building in secret, they blame it on spaceships and aliens that eat your brains and all this weird stuff, but it's all in an effort to hide what we're really building, something that is real but is exotic and esoteric, and it's all part of a plan. And as we find out that the phenomenon is real, they're hoping it won't be as bad as we thought it was, because we were scared along the way. It's a really complex game that's been played, especially since the '80s. The CIA was very interested in the UFO civilian research groups, with the intention of being in control over all the research and the public awareness. It was a psychological operation. They were very scared of Americans being gullible and having Russia come in and repeat a War of the Worlds scenario. So the CIA said, "We better get in there and make everyone go crazy, but at least it's controlled, and when we're in charge we can slowly let people know the phenomenon is real, but, 'Don't worry -- we've been building something secret to help protect us.'" It's a crazy thing, but it's real.
You wrote a book called The Lonely Astronaut on Christmas Eve. Your son is named Jonas Rocket. You've explored a lot of outer space themes with your band Angels & Airwaves. Why do you think this topic means so much to you? Why do you think it's resonated throughout your life?
I think it's the biggest story of mankind. You take Christianity: a guy named Jesus came and died on the cross for everybody's sins. That's not as big of a story as what types of intelligences are living across the universe. I mean, the deep space project by Hubble, which is taking our most exotic telescope that we've ever made at the time, and focusing on the blackest part of space for 11 days straight. Literally a grain of sand, if you held it out at arm's length, is where the focus of this orbiting telescope is at. For 11 days. And it came back with a one-inch by one-inch colored slide with ten thousand galaxies in it. It's like we have trillions of galaxies and in each galaxy there's trillions of planets. It's just unreal.
You've never been shy about your beliefs. You've had a song "Aliens Exist," and I remember you talking about this in Rolling Stone, but at the time Blink-182 presented themselves as young, carefree guys. But when you started talking about aliens with Angels & Airwaves and then you launched Strange Times, people started to go, "Oh, he's really serious about this stuff."
People will be like "Oh, you believe in UFOs" [laughs], but I'm reading books on physics, I'm reading books on the secret space program, I'm talking to people that work underground for six months at a time, that are confiding in me about the national security initiatives. I've literally read 200 books on the subject, and I don't spend my time looking at UFO reports or talking to little green men. I'm way past that. If anybody tells you there's no life in universe, you should be turned off. That's just such a dumb thing to say. It's totally, universally accepted amongst the country's elite scientific establishments that there's life everywhere. The question is what kind, where, how'd they get here, what are they doing when they get here, and how do we communicate with them? That's when you start reading books about the mind and consciousness, and telepathy and ESP. It's a whole different program.
Was it tough in the beginning for people to believe that you're serious and knowledgeable about the subject — you're not just some rockstar with a hobby?
To give you an example, one time I remember bringing up a very specific craft that I believe we're building, in secret, to emulate the phenomenon that our government has been observing for decades. So I started talking about the craft, and its magnetic slide system and how it displaces over 89% of the mass of the ship, how it ionizes the engine, how it glows — I went through the whole thing, and this engineer looks at me, this guy is 70 years old, and he goes, "You better be real fucking careful about what you're talking about." And I go, "Okay, so I'm close." And he goes, "I'm not fucking kidding with you. You better be really fucking careful." And he calls me up the next day and he goes, "I've had calls about you. If someone comes and asks you to get in their car, don't fucking get in the car." [laughs] And that's the shit I'm dealing with.
DeLonge with his night vision goggles.
Did anyone ever try to get you to take a ride?
Thankfully, I've had one interesting thing happen to me where I believe somebody was trying to get to me, that was in the intelligence industry. And... that's as much as I want to say. A very interesting thing happened.
According to your Instagram, a little while ago you took a trip out to Area 51 with your friends right? Can you tell me a little about it?
We had two nights. We did one outside of a secret base called China Lake. And that was on the flight path to Area 51, which is known as Groom Lake. We camped out at the northern end of that, about 200 miles from the nearest staff location. We were above an area called Tonopah, which is where they test-fly a lot of different things. So if you remember, I was talking about a person that was gathering all that footage for the congressional hearing. That person was telling me that the big belief, which I had corroborated by a university professor that was in the know, by the way, that the communication of this particular phenomenon is the frequency of thought. So part of communicating and making contact is shutting your mind down and being able to project your thoughts. And this guy was telling me about it, and this whole protocol for how it works. When we went out there the first night, we decided to run through this protocol where you project your thoughts. So we decided to do it, and we were up mad late, but nothing happened. I kept telling the guys: if anything was going to happen, it would happen at three in morning, because that's the time when things like this happen. Don't ask me why. We put about four logs on the fire, and everything is illuminated by the fire, and we fall asleep around one or two. I woke up right around three a.m. My whole body felt like it had static electricity, and I open my eyes and the fire is still going, and there's a conversation going on outside the tent. It sounded like there were about 20 people there, talking. And instantly my mind goes, OK, they're at our campsite, they're not here to hurt us, they're talking about shit, but I can't make out what they're saying. But they're working on something. Then I close my eyes and wake up, and the fire is out and I have about three hours of lost time.
I get everyone up first thing in the morning and go, "Did anybody hear all the chatter last night? I couldn't move my body, I was stuck there. I couldn't hear anything." And one of the guys I was with goes, "Yes! They were all around our tent, they were talking. I told you!" And the other guy slept right through it. He had no idea what we were talking about. [laughs] It sounded like English, but you couldn't make out any words. You knew you weren't threatened, you couldn't move your body, but you were very aware of the conversation going on for a period of time. But this is the scary part. If you look up and study abductions of people, people that have had contact, and a lot of the stuff you can read from John Mack; he was [a member of] Harvard's psychiatry department. He almost lost his job because he started writing books about UFOs and people getting abducted. Harvard tried to kick him out of the medical group, but they lost. He got hit by a car in mysterious circumstances. Pretty odd, right? But when you read his books and study what he was doing, a lot of people who have these contacts talk a lot about chatter, like you're in the middle of people working. How fucking crazy is that? Nothing else. No footprints, no weird like marks or anything like that.
You have Modlife, your web platform that helps bands make more money through social media and merchandise, you've had various clothing companies, you have your multimedia project To The Stars and you have two different bands. You've talked a lot about how tough it is to convince people that you're not just a Blink-182 party guy but also a serious businessman. When you bring in the fact that you believe this stuff, does it ever feel like you're making it harder on yourself?
I don't think so. The smartest people I know are into this stuff. Because they're more universally aware. The more educated you are, then you tend to understand how vulnerable and insignificant we are as human beings.
Do you think the moon landing is real or do you think NASA faked it?
I think it's real, absolutely. People have to understand: you know that the Department of Defense is bigger than Apple, right? So when Apple releases an iPhone, Apple will plan it out and spend billions of dollars and get thousands of people to figure how to tell that story, how to manage that story and how to get their point across. There's nothing different in the Department of Defense when it does something big. So when we landed on the moon, they're gonna go and give you something to chew on. They're gonna go out and find a conspiracy. They're gonna plan out the conspiracy. They made everybody think that we never went there. That way, when you ask questions, you're asking questions they want you to ask. They didn't want the conspiracy to be the real fucking question, which is, "What was there when we got there?" They place the conspiracy, just like 9/11. The main thing is that terrorists did it, the backup story conspiracy they fed you was, "No, it was an inside job." What's the third story? Another nation state? An extra nation-state? You know? Who did that?
Do you think in your lifetime we will publicly make contact with an alien life form?
I think we already have. Whether or not that will be published or not, I have no idea. I think absolutely it's been happening forever. It's been happening with individuals all over the world, it's been happening with governments to some degree. I don't think we're working underground with aliens. I don't think it's like that, like some dumb conspiracy theorists think. I think what's gonna happen, mark my words, is that they're going to find the microbial life that's they've been talking about on Mars and then, it's one planet over. We're gonna send people up there, and we're gonna find remnants of other types of life. But really, what's going to be there are remnants of other civilizations: architecture, old monuments, machinery, things that have been fossilized, whatever, and then that will get dripped out for another 30 to 40 years. Maybe there was a civilization there.
If we were to make contact with alien life forms, is there anything you would want to ask any of them if you had the opportunity?
Hmm, that's a good question. I don't know what I would ask them. I'd ask them, "How did it all start?" I bet you they wouldn't even know.