On June 22 indie rock quintet the Airborne Toxic Event were the featured guests for an installment of Homegrown, the GRAMMY Museum's new spotlight series on Los Angeles-based artists. Before an intimate audience of 200 in the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, the band discussed their songwriting process and the sense of community that exists among Los Angeles-based artists. Following the discussion, the theater was turned into a live rock and roll show as the band took the stage to perform a few songs, including "Changing," "Strange Girl" and "Wishing Well."
"We all follow one another's careers with great interest," said frontman Mikel Jollett on the community of Los Angeles artists. "We are kind of rooting for one another."
"When you're surrounded by people who are all really working [to make music] and really trying, it makes you reconsider what you're doing and [try to] raise the bar," added violinist Anna Bulbrook.
Formed in 2006 in the Los Angeles community of Silver Lake by Jollett and drummer Daren Taylor, the Airborne Toxic Event also includes classically trained violinist Bulbrook, guitarist Steven Chen and jazz bassist Noah Harmon. That same year the quintet played their first gig as the Airborne Toxic Event, a name that's derived from a section in Don DeLillo's White Noise novel, at the intimate East Los Angeles venue the Echo. After attracting the attention of indie labels and music magazines such as Rolling Stone, the band inked a record deal with Los Angeles-based indie label Majordomo Records and subsequently released their self-titled debut, which reached a modest position on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 108. The album featured the Billboard Alternative Songs hit "Sometime Around Midnight."
In 2009 the group scored a major label record deal with Island Def Jam, parent company of Island Records, which is home to the band's self-proclaimed inspiration U2. The group subsequently re-released their self-titled debut later that year. In 2010 the band released All I Ever Wanted — The Airborne Toxic Event Live From Walt Disney Concert Hall Featuring The Calder Quartet, a live DVD/CD digipack featuring the group's performance at the Los Angeles concert hall in December 2009. Their sophomore effort, 2011's All At Once, was released April 26 and shot to No. 17 on the Billboard 200. The album features the single "Changing," which peaked at No. 12 on Billboard's Rock Songs chart. The group is currently on tour throughout the United States and UK.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Icons Of The Music Industry: Chris Blackwell (Aug. 14), Reel To Reel: An Evening With Tyler Bates (Aug. 15), An Evening With Nick Lowe (Aug. 16), and An Evening With Christopher Cross (Aug. 17).
For more information on the GRAMMY Museum, visit www.grammymuseum.org.
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