Tom DeLonge on new 'Sekret Machines' book: 'This is not just Tom talking about UFOs again'
In a new adventure novel, the former Blink-182 guitarist explores spaceflight and the world beyond Earth, all based on real-life research
When Tom DeLonge left Blink-182 in 2015, he did so to focus on his media company To the Stars, his other band Angels and Airwaves and, now we know, to head deeper into the U.S. Department of Defense to meet with high-ranking officials in (metaphorical) dark corners of the government, learn about aerial exploration, and produce a new series exploring the secrets of human existence, he says.
His new book, Sekret Machines Book 1: Chasing Shadows, co-written with A.J. Hartley (the Darwen Arkwright series) and out April 5, is billed as “a novel based on actual events from the imagination of Tom DeLonge” and is just the tip of what he has in store for fans of extraterrestrial life, music, and science fiction. The 704-page tome, he says, will be followed by more books and a docu-series.
“This is not just a book,” DeLonge tells EW over the phone. “This is not just Tom talking about UFOs again, laughing about it with his fans. This is Tom representing 10 people that are of the highest rank and office within the Department of Defense establishment and they are asking me to communicate something that they see as the utmost national security issue that has ever existed. They see it as a global security issue.”
Below, the former Blink-182 guitarist and vocalist talks about the lines between fiction and non-fiction, his post-Blink life, and what exactly is … “the secret.”
How’d you get interested in this topic?
The easiest answer is that is back in junior high. I just, out of no where, had an idea that I could spend my free time looking in the school library for a cool book to read for fun. I wondered if there were any books on UFOs. I just wanted to read about unidentified aerial phenomenon. As the years went on and I was touring in a van for sometimes 20 hours straight, no iPads, no streaming videos, a book was the best I could get.
It’s been such a pronounced interest; did it influence the way you approached music?
Not really. I did talk about this topic every once in a while in a song but it was funnier and just a fun way to interact with my fans. It wasn’t until many years later when I got so deep into it that I felt I had the opportunity that’s never been done before. I spent the past year and a half presenting a thesis and an ambitious plan to create a communications vehicle to tell people about what is truly the biggest secret that has ever existed. Not only on the planet but within our own government and in the U.S. It took me a while but I finally got connected to the people who are in charge of this topic in the shadow of the Department of Defense. This is the first piece of what I am doing to this day with that group of people, to tell people some stuff they’ve never been able to tell people before.
What is the secret?
It’s not one. Sekret Machines is the project that is going to contain historical fiction and non fiction. My company To the Stars is building franchise entertainment properties — something that last for years and continue to grow its own fan base and continues to put out storytelling across different medium. Books, novels whatever, in a way that’s akin to Batman. For this topic it’s a little bit different because I’m creating a vehicle that’s going to allow some very important men and women at the highest levels of office and rank within the Department of Defense to put in information so people can understand all the things they want people to understand about this topic, which has been lied about for 60-some-odd years. When you find out why you’ll be glad they did everything they did.
I felt that if I did my job and let people know how these events unfolded first in the novel and in feature films and in television series then people will want to watch documentaries and read the non-fiction books. People will walk away losing their cynicism they have for these elements of the government. I think that it’s a heroic story and it’s an important topic that we’re still dealing with today.
When you say “this topic,” do you mean space travel and UFOs?
The novel is a very serious novel about the military industrial complex and the various parts within the DOD that have had to deal with extraordinary events. The way they described it to me is a life form. We’re very close to announcing there’s life on Mars. To this day it’s the single biggest issue as far as national security goes.
When you say, “What is the secret?” it’s an extraordinary complex topic that involves cosmology, science, religion, secrecy, and really strange international partnerships to deal with something most people think isn’t real and is just the tin foil hat crowd or little green men in flying saucers. Its a real thing. It’s very serious.
Did your further involvement lead to you wanting to leave Blink-182?
No. I’m a guy that’s always been interested in a lot of different things. I never willfully left Blink-82. The first time I quit the band and started Angels and Airwaves as an art project, the band was meant to be a musical component of large themes and ideas that I wanted to communicate on different mediums. To the Stars was created somewhere along those first few years. But I never had the idea to start a company and leave the band. That was never my intention.
Are you in touch with Blink about their new music?
I am not. I’m a pretty busy guy these days but I hope that they’re doing great and I love those guys. I wish the best for them.
[Blink-182 drummer] Travis Barker claimed in a recent interview that you had wanted to take the band in a direction that sounded like Coldplay. What do you think of that comment?
I think that every band member has different things that they like and that they bring to the table. Travis always loved hip-hop. He wanted a lot more hip-hop in the band and I wanted to bring things I was into and Mark [Hoppus] wanted to bring things he was into. The magic of Blink-182 was the push and pull we had with each other. It was representative of something we each couldn’t do on our own. That was a really great thing. I think it would have been very bad for the band to sound like anything other than Blink-182.
What is fiction vs non-fiction in this book?
People are supposed to go along for the ride. Some of the themes that are in this book are going to play out over a series of books so they can understand the deeper issues and the deeper thought processes that have gone into the things that we did. I don’t need people to wonder what is fiction or not in this first book. I need them to absorb the story and follow along. If it starts knocking on the door of your current belief system and you’re curious as to how this may or may not change those belief systems , I ask people to read the novel and watch the docu-series and then the non-fiction book will follow and the second book will come out and we’ll release three more non-fiction books, and a historical fiction book and people will start to realize what we’re being told. It will be very clear as long as they follow in a chronological order.