In 1999, Blink-182 released the album "Enema of the State," featuring the Tom DeLonge-penned song "Aliens Exist." It opens with these lines: "Hey, Mom, there's something in the back room/Hope it's not the creatures from above/You used to read me stories/As if my dreams were boring/We all know conspiracies are dumb.”
Nearly two decades on, with Delonge's unveiling of his To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, we’re beginning to unravel just how prescient DeLonge’s song was.
Across his social media profiles three months ago, the pop-punk superstar delivered a very odd selfie (as he is wont to do) with a very cryptic caption. It reads, unedited, as follows: "Hello, my name is Tom DeLonge and I created the band blink-182 years ago with a couple buddies. But I have something important coming up, and I will need your attention for a minute when it arrives. I am sure it will not be what you are expecting.... And, it's (almost) here. Also, sorry about the delay, it was extremely difficult to do and it will make sense to you later. This will also not matter if you are a fan of my music or not, it's not about me, it's about ... us."
If you've followed the Blink-182 saga over the last few years, you know that DeLonge’s latest endeavors have been, well, a little out of this world. In 2015, Rolling Stone announced he would be leaving the band to focus on his non-musical pursuits. According to a number of interviews, he quit to focus on UFO research (though DeLonge later disputed this in a tweet). Regardless of exactly why he, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker parted ways, there’s no doubt he’s been busy trying to prove that aliens exist.
In February, DeLonge announced his directorial debut with the movie "Strange Times." According to its IMDB summary, it’s an action adventure/comedy about "a group of rebellious San Diego skateboarders who take it upon themselves to investigate their town's paranormal activity and wind up embarking on the adventure of a lifetime." So, it’s like a sci-fi "Superbad" with some kickflips? It’s set to come out next year (oh, and it features a soundtrack by his post-Blink band, Angels & Airwaves).
In March, the vocalist/guitarist-turned-director published the non-fiction book "Sekret Machines: Gods," which, according to Rolling Stone, "is based on interviews with scientists, engineers, intelligence officers and military officials" and "aims to challenge the way people think about UFO sightings and related phenomena." So, like the History Channel’s "Ancient Aliens" series but with less hair and more words? You can purchase it here.
Once again last week, though, DeLonge has made another announcement that's raising eyebrows: the To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science. On social media, DeLonge explained (all-caps and typos included), "I have assembled a team of insiders that I believe can possibly change the world. All are current consultants to the US Gov on National Security Matters, and some literally left days ago from the Department of Defense to join me in this initiative. Fmr. High Ranking Government Officials and Senior Intelligence Officers from CIA, DOD, and also a Chief Engineer (Director of Advanced Programs) from Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works have come together aiming to BUILD A REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY that can change life as we know it (we will be showing a concept of the exotic craft tomorrow), research the unknown and finally tell the 'story of the millennia' through Feature Films. NO ONE GOVERNMENT, INDIVIDUAL OR INSTITUTION should own what can truthfully help the world. We all can own it together. To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science is allowing a group of those who are interested to join us on day one."
We're still sort of in the dark about what the academy actually does on a practical level, but it seems to be an effort to form a sort of Royal Society and Royal Academy of the Arts for alien research and conspiracy theories.
There also seems be some type of theoretical spaceship in the works. According to DeLonge's Facebook page, they "plan to build [an] exotic vehicle that uses Advanced Electromagnetic Propulsion to Bend the fabric of Space-Time. This energy source can desalinate the worlds oceans to give clean water to the world, it could negate radioactive nuclear power, and it could change transportation forever." No biggie.
Here’s one thing of which we are definitely sure: To the Stars wants to raise a lot of money, and it’s actively seeking investors. Since the announcement on Oct. 11, DeLonge’s academy has raised $374,828 from 799 investors. If you're so inclined, feel free to bring that number to 800 but note that the minimum investment amount is $200.
While that doesn’t seem like enough money "to be a powerful vehicle for change by creating a consortium among science, aerospace and entertainment that will work collectively to allow gifted researchers the freedom to explore exotic science and technologies with the infrastructure and resources to rapidly transition them to products that can change the world," it is a modestly good start.
At first glance, the team that DeLonge has pulled together is impressive: Ph.D.s from the world’s best universities, a considerable amount of research and work experience and various awards and recognition. However, upon closer examination, things get a little murkier: Vice President of Science & Technology Dr. Hal Puthoff "has served as president and CEO of EarthTech International, Inc. (ETI), and director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin (IASA). He has published numerous papers on electron-beam devices, lasers and space propulsion and has patents issued in the laser, communications, and energy fields. Dr. Puthoff’s professional background spans more than five decades of research at General Electric, Sperry, the National Security Agency, Stanford University and SRI International. Dr. Puthoff regularly advises NASA, the Department of Defense and intelligence communities, corporations and foundations on leading-edge technologies and future technology trends. He earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1967.”
What the To the Stars co-founder’s bio fails to mention is his irreplicable studies (studies should be replicable to be considered sound science), his belief in parapsychology (moving things with your mind, etc.) and the fact that his work has been called pseudoscience by his colleagues.
In other words, if aliens do exist -- and there’s a very real possibility that they do -- DeLonge’s To the Stars Academy is probably not going to be the organization that discovers them. But it will continue to be, as Maxim suggests, a very entertaining process to watch unfold.
Rutger Rosenborg was almost a Stanford poet-neuroscientist before he formed Ed Ghost Tucker. Whoops. He now fronts the Lulls, plays lead guitar in LA band Velvet and makes music on his own when he's not writing. Follow his updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@RArosenborg), or contact him directly.