Dear England…

God it’s weird being back in London. Seeing the sights and sounds, the hum of Heathrow, all the shops near Koko, all the places we first saw when we were first a wide-eyed band in love with a country. I wanted us to be the Smiths or something like it. The American Smiths? Is that a contradiction? The Cure without the makeup. Another contradiction. The Clash with some folk songs. That’s probably closer.


Everybody just means it so much here. The magazines bitch and scream and proclaim someone a savior at the very moment they profess their disgust at how spectacularly one failed at saving anything—or that there was nothing left to save. And you’re American, besides. Which is to say: simple, arrogant, rough, ready, quantifiably cliché.

So we’d stumble through the streets after the show, up to our necks in beer and whiskey—chasing this ghost or that of who we wanted to be. Some of you became close friends. Some, even closer. And we learned you were just a country and we were only people—and this massive daydream was only as real as the feelings we had skipping drunkenly through the cold alleyways trying to meet the bus before it left in the morning.

In case you’re wondering, we fought with our label then demanded they sell us our European rights back, which they did, at considerable expense, which we were happy to pay out of pocket for. This was a year ago, before we made Such Hot Blood. And now we have this record and this time and we don’t even know what will become of the 70 shows we played in the UK before even putting out our first record, of those lost ideas about what it means to be a rock band here.

We took a chance and got our record back because we still want all of that. All of it good and bad of what it means here to be a rock band. Something I heard when I was 12-year-old boy growing up in California, and someone gave me a dusty old Stone Roses record and I thought, “Jesus, where did that come from?” And I read the liner notes and memorized the lyrics to “Elephant Stone” then “Ask” then “Like Cockatoos” then “Bankrobber”—all the while thinking that there’s this whole other world, this whole big world outside the mind-numbing hallways of my junior high school with it’s mind-numbing predilection for music I could not relate to because I did not own Adidas sneakers and I knew in my heart of hearts that I was just too weird and wondered where all the other weird people were. And I’m not saying that they were in England. I’m saying that this music—this English music, this English conception of rock and roll with it’s desperate, cloying, angry, winking beating heart made me feel less alone.

I wish I could tell you how far we’ve traveled, what it’s meant for us, what you mean to us. Just know that we are grateful for the journey and grateful to you. And no, in case you’re wondering why we haven’t been here for a year: it’s not that we’ve given up on you. Quite the contrary. And we can’t wait to play tonight.

best to you–

Mikel Jollett

29 thoughts on “Dear England…

  1. I love you guys and gutted that couldn’t get tickets for London as I’m a yorkshire girl up near Leeds…. please come back soon I miss you!! xx

  2. Dear Airbourne, Thanks for being back in England, I missed the Koko as I live out in the “sticks”. I saw you the last time you were on our shores at Shepards bush, this was the third time you had given me joy. The first at Summer sundae in Liecester and the second on your last date before returning home at Oxford o2, with friends who we introduced to you so energetic live performances, they too were hooked and returned with us for the Shepards bush show.
    It is fresh and reassuring to have your sound and lyrics around especially in this country which appears to of forgotten the great musical history and all the great bands you mentioned. Far too much is placed on “make it right now”,With Simon Cowell and the X factory taking over where Stock,Aitken and Waterman left off.
    Anyway I have taken up too much of your busy time and all I meant to say was I hope it wont be as long before you return and we can get our fix of you all again(each time appears better and more intense)and I cant wait for the album release. Take care and stay safe Chris.

  3. I can’t wait to catch up with you guys tonight, it’s been far too long! I’m also looking forward to writing my review about your show at KOKo’s tonight!!
    Why are the hours ticking away so slowly?

    See you later, Stefanie xx

  4. Brilliant!

    As Belgium is not so far from London, we are expecting you here very soon! … to play some 70 shows here as well ;-)!

    I can’t wait to hear the new songs live (Timeless and The Secret are awesome!)

    Greetings from Belgium,

  5. I love this message, it just proves there are STILL some genuinely decent bands and even more so, Human’s behind the music.
    So wish I were one of the lucky one’s attending the gig though.
    SHALL catch you when you next play in UK 🙂

  6. Fantastic post! Was completely gutted not to get time come to London (why does work have to spoil all the fun) and so very jealous of my London friends who are going tonight. Please play Paris soon – from a Brit on the other side of the channel. xXx

  7. Slackers – we have travelled 200miles from Warrington for our 4th TATE gig tonight. But next time, Liverpool or Manchester would be a bit more convenient!!. Also a request. We are in LA at the end of September – a 5th gig there wouldn’t go a miss 🙂

  8. lovely message!!
    and yes please, visit soon again Belgium, or make a detour to Hungary!!
    can’t wait to hear & see you again live!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. First of all , Mikel you are an AMAZING writer , I cannot even begin the explain how your words affect me in such a way. And Airborne Toxic Event, you guys all inspire me to by myself, I’ve had the ticket to see you guys since last year, and sadly, I wasn’t able to go. I’ve been meaning to see you all live, even meet you in person. You have all lifted me off my feet and help me keep going every day, and I thank you all for that and I love you all !

  10. Thanks for a great show tonight(as always) definitely the best night of my life since being in London! Cant wait to see you play this May back home in Canada! Wish I had a chance to talk with you but there were a lot of eager fans waiting to get you’re autograph. Thanks again!

  11. What a pleasure having you guys in my home town of London tonight playing some f***ing great music. As you saw tonight, we know the score and we will show up when you do. Top show, don’t be strangers. See you soon.

  12. I just returned home after being at the Koko. This show was absolutely amazing and definitely unforgetable. One of the most memorable concerts I have ever beent to. I still can`t stop smiling when I think back. Thank you guys for everything. And I wish every fan of yours that they will experience what I have experienced today. Regards from “the pretty cool guy”, who held Mikel`s hand, when he was on a Roadie`s shoulders!

  13. Wow what a gig you gave us last night – New songs sounded great live (yes even despite the plug Mikel) … The whole of KOKO was bouncing – the only dissapointment was you had to end !!! Looking forward to the new album and your next visit !!

  14. Koko gig last night was a truly uplifting experience for me and my son & daughter – A more full on rock&roll vibe from Sheppard Bush and Islington gigs! I find interesting that; the audience are predominately Middle aged and why something so special is not known by more in UK? Perhaps its that media publicity (Radio play etc) would be more forthcoming if TATE appealed to the perceived young trendies this media is seems fixated by? Or perhaps the band and its management should try and utilize this ‘older’ audience into badgering Radio stations (BBC6, Xfm, Absolute etc) to play more and approach the Guardian-type press segment rather than to the NME etc? Or is it just that we’re not the twitter generation and therefore don’t show up on ‘Whats good’ radar by not Facebooking/twittering the joy and pleasure that gig gave!

  15. last night was everything i expected it to be and more, my third tate gig, now seen you in manchester sheffield and london, please come back to uk soon

  16. OMG!!!! I hadn’t heard of you guys till recently and absolutely love you now!!! First time seeing you at Koko’s last night and was invited into VIP area so I could actually SEE you as we’ll as HEAR you. Thanks to those guys who very kindly invited me in to see. What I saw and heard was amazing!!!! Was poorly last night but soon forgot about that and had THE best night. Gutted I didn’t get to meet you in person but I got to take pictures in VIP area and record you guys performing Sometime around Midnight ( my favourite) . Put it on Facebook and shall be sharing with people on YouTube. Can’t believe I hadn’t heard of you guys before. YOU ROCK!!!!!!! I shall also be harassing our radio stations until they give you some well deserved AirPlay. We need to share your music with everyone!!! Great night, thank you soooo much. Can’t wait until next time and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to meet you then :)))))

  17. Bitte kommt uns so schnell wie möglich in Deutschland besuchen. Eure Musik ist unbeschreiblich gut und wir würden euch gerne live sehen wollen. Bitte…visit Germany

    see you soon

  18. Hi well I know you guys probably won’t read this but hey I just had to say how amazing the gig was. I gave from Liverpool, I’d also never actually left Liverpool before but here I was in London and I somehow walked from victoria station all the way to koko. where i was first in the que woo. I actually got there at ten to five but hey I got to be at the front for the gig. One last thing before I go, if you do read this Darren could you please work on your arm, you was stood in the front bit and yet you managed to hit me in the face with a bottle of water, at least you asked me if I was okay after it like a gentleman. Although you only asked me if I was okay because you thought I was getting squashed.

  19. Likewise, first time seeing them – absolutely blown away, firstly by the music, second, by the way they came out at the end meeting, greeting and generally looking like nice friendly people, not the up their own backside types you get in some bands!

  20. Speaking as an old geezer who has been to a few hundred gigs in his time, that was up there with the very, very best. Helped no end by the venue and audience.

  21. wow what a way to spend my 52nd birthday,watching you guy`s with my family.well worth the long drive up from devon.great gig get some new tunes on itunes now xxx

  22. Totally amazing gig at Koko. The new songs are excellent live so really looking forward to the new album. My first TATE gig was in a small bar in Nottingham and I’m probably past 10 UK TATE shows now and every time is a riot of energy and great great musicianship….I agree with others that there needs to be better A&R to get you the bigger audiences you deserve. Please tour UK as soon as you are able to this year – how about May thru December?

  23. thanks for your great show in London. It was absolutely worth the trip from Munich. But please, please come over to Munich some time soon (very soon).

  24. I really loved this post. I am an English major and it is just so well-written. I can’t wait to see you all in Lawrence, KS next month!! I am taking a day off of school to see you! Your lyrics are brilliant and you actually keep the dream of rock and roll alive 🙂

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