Former pop/punk Blink-182 singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge has embarked on an ambitious plan, using his considerable star power to mainstream the UFO topic under the Sekret Machines banner, drawing on a number of government and military contacts he's made over the years, one of whom is the top-rank Washington insider John Podesta.
DeLonge is no mere rock star UFO hobbyist (there are hundreds of those), he's somehow gotten mixed up with some major power players behind the scenes. The Sekret Machines project is due to kick off with a novel, Chasing Shadows (note the Sr-71, which Gordon and I discussed at length on his podcast):
“I think there are going to be a lot of people who aren’t going to believe it. They won’t take a minute to read some of the material. They’ll hear ‘Oh, Tom’s doing some alien, flying saucer thing,'” DeLonge said in a new interview with GQ. “That’s not what this is. This is a big deal.”
According to DeLonge, Chasing Shadows is fiction, but only partly: the novel invents characters to introduce purportedly true stories, like UFO sightings and rumored Nazi super-weapon and/or antigravity device Die Glocke. Why write fiction? The intent, DeLonge said, is to gently ease readers into ideas they might find hard to believe: “The enormity of what’s being told might hit people in a weird way if it was just laid on their lap all at once,” he explained.
DeLonge's agenda is incredibly ambitious, maybe more so than any undertaking I've seen on the topic in my lifetime. Which is saying a lot. I guess the ongoing work being done by the Bigelow organization (who've just scored a game-changing coup with their orbital inflatables) is still the big dog in the yard, but DeLonge looks to be a player. From GQ:
When I got answers about why these secrets are kept, the ongoing issues, the enormity of the task at hand, I realized that it's heroic. It would make everyone feel very patriotic, but it will also bring the world together. It would really cut down the differences between people because so much of this has to do with religion and cosmology and how we're working with other countries that no one would believe we actually have relationships with. That's also what I found exciting. There are some positives within something that I think is frankly pretty fucking scary.
Do you think most UFO sightings are extraterrestrial or manmade occurrences?
It's both. The UFO phenomenon is complex. A lot of people think it's the tinfoil-hat crowd and little green men in flying saucers. A lot of these things are manmade and a lot of these things that are so astounding to people that may have seen something in the sky and they go, "Oh my god, that's definitely alien."DeLonge is going wide with this, hitting George Knapp on Coast to Coast (a suitable if not predictable sounding board) on one end and magazines like Esquire, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly and Paper on the other. He's obviously got a high-powered press agent in his pocket here. From Paper:
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.Here's where the Kyle Odom sync kicks in- did I mention the DeLonge story broke the same day I posted my Odom opus? Well, in one of DeLonge's interviews he discusses the same kind of technology I (and some commenters) speculated may have been at work with Odom:
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.
I can't help but wonder if there's a sync of a different kind at work here: DeLonge tells a eerily similar variation of a story I told Tracy Twyman on her podcast back in 2010, of how my cosmology changed when I saw a picture of infinite galaxies taken in what astronomers thought was an empty patch of space:
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.Punchline: I told this story in the context of a visit from a Jehovah's Witness (cue up to the 42:00 mark). Chaser: I was listening to LOVE quite a bit right around the time of the interview.
It's safe to say this emerging cosmic consciousness drove a wedge between him and the other guys in Blink (who've since replaced him). It's probably hard to wrestle with the big questions of being and infinity while singing songs about poop and masturbating.
Blink had their time- my boys loved them. Myself, I'm more of an Angels+Airwaves guy; they hit me right in that 1983 sweet spot, especially the LOVE album (the album The Killers should have made if they didn't contaminate their recipe with Bruce Springsteen and John Cougar Mellancamp detritus).
It's a strange time for DeLonge to be striking out like this, it has to be said. On one hand you have the continuing popularity of Ancient Aliens (against all odds, it seems) and Hangar One, and on the other you have the most cynical, nihilistic culture seen since all the other great civilizations collapsed.
Hillary Clinton's toe-dips into the UFO wading pool have earned her nothing but punditscorn so it's not as if the biosphere has gotten anymore amenable to the topic than it was before. On the contrary; I've never seen the media this hostile to the topic since Communion was a bestseller.
But sometimes paradigms shift on their own, from people's own experiences. People are making sightings and recording them, more and more often these days. Most won't report them but they'll remember them. A number of these may end up being misidentifications, but they'll plant a seed either way.
And big shifts come when you have individuals willing to act on their beliefs, even if that that takes an extreme form like Kyle Odom. But they also come when major public figures are willing to stand up and be counted; witness superstar quarterback Aaron Rogers ( "Aaron Rodgers' wild UFO story might make you believe in UFOs"). And it seems in DeLonge there's a major public figure who is willing to act on his beliefs.
We'll see if DeLonge draws others like himself out of the cosmic closet.
POSTSCRIPT: Being involved in the early punk/hardcore movement I saw how cults formed and grew and also how myths grew (the myth of The Clash, which contradicted the facts almost in their entirety, was a great case study). It informed nearly everything I did afterward, certainly the work I've begun with The Secret History of Rock and Roll (I did say 'begin'-I'm not done with that topic by a country mile).
The UFO sub-cult is another fascinating case study, all the more so given how strongly I believe that aerial anomalies are actually at the core of many- if not most- of our belief systems. You can take that in an Ancient Aliens literalist/materialist way or in a Gordon White spiritualist way, it's your call.