My name is Mikel Jollett. I'm a writer, musician and activist. I wrote a critically-acclaimed memoir called Hollywood Park which O Mag called "A Gen-X This Boy's Life...a triumph." It's about the cult we escaped when we were very young, the lifelong search for family, and the oddly dangerous world of children. The book is a New York Times bestseller. My band is the Airborne Toxic Event, we made a critically-acclaimed record, also called Hollywood Park, which is the soundtrack to the book which Louder called "an hour of sheer roar-along brilliance." It’s about addiction and war and death and other fun stuff. I wrote a gold record song called “Sometime Around Midnight," which was the iTunes Alternative Song of the Year. I was an on-air columnist on All Things Considered on NPR, I’ve played 1,500 shows including Coachella twice and Lollapalooza twice, I've lived on a tour bus for years at a time, and had about 2 billion impressions on social media mostly talking about how we save democracy…Ask Me Anything

Proof: https://i.redd.it/59flfyc2akr51.jpg

Comments: 253 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

Fluffy_Munchkin25 karma

Hey, Mikel! Two unrelated questions from yet another fan who's been brutalized by some of your heartbreaking songs:

  1. How does it feel to have your most well-known song (Sometime Around Midnight) be about an emotionally devastating personal experience, and having to constantly perform said song? Has your emotional investment or attachment to the song changed over time?

  2. What's your favorite song from a genre you're usually not a fan of?

MikelJollett24 karma

I feel like the best stuff comes from struggle. songs, movies, i don't know, probably paintings... people don't want to know just your conclusions, they want to know how you suffered and somethign about that is rejuvenating for us. I don't understand completely and that is also how it is meant to be.

p1zzarena20 karma

My friends complain because I only ever want to listen to Airborne. Where can I find new friends?

MikelJollett17 karma

the internet?

mstrkingdom18 karma

Hi Mikel! On the live album All I Ever Wanted: Live from Walt Disney Concert Hall, you and Anna sing a song that is simply titled "Duet". It is one of my favorite songs of all time, and I have repeatedly tried to track down more information about it and always come up short. Could you shed some light on that song a bit? i.e. where did it come from? Who wrote it? Is there a story behind it? Will it ever be on a studio produced album?

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this AMA!

MikelJollett24 karma

I wrote that song one night in my parisian apartment in east LA when the sprinklers came on at 3 am outside and I was sitting beneath my copy of Notes from the Underground thinking about why i even write all these songs no one ever hears.

capnhayden13 karma

Hey Mikel!

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this AMA! I’ve been a fan since the first album dropped on iTunes way back in the day, been to shows all up and down the West Coast (shout out Ace of Spades!), and even have a tattoo of Steven’s bird on my wrist. Love the band, love the book, always stoked on whatever you’re creating.

My first question is a two-parter: you clearly read a lot of books; do you have any favorite graphic novels? And would you ever write one?

My second question is something I wanted to ask you at the San Diego show in April: could you unblock me on Twitter? Some asshole compared you to Trump on there a few years ago, and I sarcastically replied “well i guess we all have a little trump in us” because they were being RIDICULOUS, and you blocked us both. I miss your liberal ass Twitter feed so much. My username there is @capnhayden.

Thanks again. Can’t wait to see/read/hear what you put out next.

MikelJollett25 karma

Wait why is it Steven’s bird? ha.

My favorite graphic novels are written by my friend Tom Manning, who is a genius. Check out Runoff, Eric and Bering Strait. I also loved Art Spiegelman’s Maus.

You are now unblocked. Go forth wiser from this encounter.

BikeInPink12 karma

Hi there Mikel! Your story is emotional compelling, Is there any chance Hollywood Park will be optioned for a film? It would make a great one!

MikelJollett25 karma

it's a good question. i've already said too much.

liz3412 karma

Is “The Fall of Rome” about Elizabeth?

MikelJollett23 karma

Yes the Fall of Rome is about Elizabeth, as is The Thing About Dreams and every song on Such Hot Blood.

imightbethewalrus39 karma

Hey Mikel!

Long time fan. All At Once is in my top 3 albums of all time. Loved, loved, LOVED Hollywood Park (both the book and record). As a songwriter, there is perhaps nobody that I steal more from inspires me more than you 😅

Question: There's a slight lyric change from the album when performing "All At Once" live.

"I guess it’ll be okay" -> "I hope it’ll be okay".

It’s the smallest tweak but it changes the moral of the entire song (in my mind, at least). While it comes from a place of resignation, "I guess" provides a level of certainty. And while hope is a beautiful thing, it's rooted in uncertainty.

I was hoping you could unpack the choice there (if it is a conscious choice at all!), why it's more important or pertinent or whatever to sing "I hope it'll be okay."

Thanks so much for all the incredible music and writing!

Edit: grammar and formatting

MikelJollett15 karma

I love to change lyrics live, sometimes its something I wrote initially, sometimes it’s just something I like now. And that line is one which I wish I’d written the first time. Because that’s more the feeling in the world right, you know? like, I hope it’ll be okay. (I’m not sure).

aivark8 karma

Are there any plans to release the songs from the El Rey shows that didn’t make it onto Hollywood Park?

Thanks for doing this, can’t wait to see you guys again!

MikelJollett16 karma

Oh man, maybe! Some of those songs were tough to cut because we really loved them they just didn't fit stylistically with the rest of the record.

NepEnut8 karma

Hi Mikel!

My name is Abby and I'm going to ask a dumb question; however, it's really just an excuse to tell you how much your music means to me. One of my best friends introduced me to your music in 2013 and I have never been able to stop listening ever since. Your sound and lyrics are some of the best I've heard in the last 20 years.

Your music has gotten me through some of the roughest moments of my life, and every single time I was going through something, the was always some Airborne song that related and brought me so much comfort. Hollywood Park has been especially cathartic, considering the nightmare dumpster fire that has been this year. THANK YOU for the impact you have had on my life and THANK YOU for helping me get through the dark times ♥♥

Here's my dumb question - what is your favorite Airborne song? What song are you proud of having written?

Again - your music is incredible and thank you so much for all the incredible things you do and also being an epic liberal badass on Twitter!! If COVID ever ends and we can go to concerts again, I hope to see you at your rescheduled show in Sacramento in March! ♥♥

MikelJollett11 karma

i don't know so let's just say I like the version of It Doesn't Mean a Thing that we never released and I wish we'd put The Winning Side on the first record.

daniel80608 karma

Hey man. Looong time fan of the band.

Also the first time I've read a memoir and enjoyed it. Sincerest congratulations on the family. Two parter for you :

* I think at some level we all feel a calling to make the world a better place. It seems, at least from your twitter feed, that you feel that more acutely than a lot of other people. If this is true, do you ever feel like this desire to macroscopically affect positive change comes in conflict with your desire to simply love your family and just like... enjoy y'alls existence together? If so, how do you prioritize/resolve this?
* Do you have any political aspirations ?

MikelJollett13 karma

yes I fucking hate twitter and have to get off it for weeks or months at a time and then i feel a need to try to speak some truth into this little hell box and advocate, change, give money, raise money, speak up for the less fortunate adn then I get into it and hate the little devil box all over again.

CrimAgain7 karma

Hi Mikel, any plans for another music video or more bombastic videos? Love everything!

MikelJollett18 karma

there is talk of just that. I've said too much.

moose23327 karma

Hey Mikel longtime Airborne fan. What was the hardest part about writing the memoir? Did you ever talk with your mom about her place in the book?

MikelJollett10 karma

It was the 3 years locked in a room banging my head on a desk.

jph17 karma

Hi Mikel. Loved the book and record!

I wanted to ask you about the song All These Engagements (my favorite on the record). Are you singing it from the perspective of your child self learning about love from your birth mother and how did you come up with the phrase "All these engagements and lovers spit"? It seemed like you were very confused about what real love felt like.

Also side question: Favorite Modest Mouse song?

Thanks Mikel! Peace and Love to you and the Jollett clan!

MikelJollett11 karma

All These Engagements is a song about going to weddings in your 20’s when you know you’re too much of a fuck-up to achieve something so beautiful and you’re bitter but kinda hopeful and romantic anyway.

My favorite Modest Mouse song is Night on the Sun.

BurtCracklin6 karma

Hi Mikel!

Longtime Airborne fan, and loved the book. Hope you and the family are well!

My Q: Are you aware the Steve Wozniak is a fan of Airborne Toxic Event?

One time I saw you guys at the Regency Ballroom in SF (on the Dope Machines tour, pretty sure) and I saw him and his wife, with the entire balcony to themselves. He had tweeted about your show at the Fillmore the last time you were in town.

I even remember cutting math class in high school to win front row tix from KFOG to TATE and Death Cab for Cutie at the Masonic, by answering a trivia about which college you went to (Go Cardinal!)

Much love from a longtime fan, Joey (and dad Rick!)

MikelJollett15 karma

Yes Steve is a great guy and we see him on tour all the time and we'll be chatting and suddenly it'll hit us, hey that dude invented the home computer. things like that are weird. but good weird.

immawriter66 karma

Hey Mikel!

Dope Machines was a pretty big jump stylistically. What prompted the jump to (and then back from) music with a lot of electronic influence? Did previous members play a part in making that jump?

Thanks so much!

MikelJollett19 karma

With Dope Machines I really wanted to pursue electronic music. It just felt like the right moment to do that. The band dynamic had devolved and I really wanted to make something myself. The band grew closer again after my dad died and I wrote all the songs for Hollywood Park and I realized how much I needed Daren, how much I loved working with Steven and Adrian and that rock and roll was something like a home I could return to when the chips were down.

MikelJollett6 karma

Okay I'm back here for a bit since there so many questions I only got to a fraction of them last night...

jaunegiallo6 karma

Hi Mikel,

I’m wrapping up the book, and love the new album. Incredible stuff!

I’m intrigued by using anger as fuel or channeling the “I don’t want to turn into my parents” mantra into motivation.

Has that energy source changed for you over time? Or do still use it as a source of creativity or self improvement? Especially curious how that has changed since you’re a parent now.

Thanks!

MikelJollett8 karma

I'd say as you get older you use that less and that for me being an artists sort begins and ends in my current emotional world.

Platypussycat36 karma

Hey Mikel,
Me and my husband both love your music, my favourite song is all for a woman. My question: what does the future look like for The Airborne Toxic Event? More albums and shows (once safe to do so)? Also, do you have any pets?

MikelJollett28 karma

we are going to tour like fuck the second we can. god I can't wait for those shows.

notxdone215 karma

Mikel! Thank you for doing this, thank you for advocating for humanity and for pushing more people to vote. Keep calling out the Cheeto in Charge on Twitter, I live for your feed! I find that I identify with you in a lot of ways, down to some of the smallest details: I ran track in high school, I played the saxophone, I grew up with the Cure and Bowie. I am currently taking an intensive study Russian course, and I am very interested in Russian Literature. I look up to you a great deal in a lot of ways. I just had two questions, one very on the existential side, and the other from someone with a story to tell who can't quite find it yet!

1st question: I just finished your book, my partner and I read it together over facetime over the last few months while I have been on active duty. You talk a lot in it about overcoming this, what seems to me, as an almost compulsion to push people away, despite wanting them near. Now that you have a wife of your own, do you find that you still sometimes feel that, or does it seem that you've hit a stride in your life, the right time with the right person, kind of takes that away?
2nd question: How does the writing process vary between literature and music for you?

MikelJollett9 karma

i'm honored you guys read the book over facetime. that's pretty cool. I've mostly tamed my demons and have been lucky enough to discover that life can be hard for reasons that have nothing to do with the problems of your own creation. we just keep going and working and trying and this moment in history is going to leave a legacy of toughness (and some scars).

comeunwound5 karma

hey Mikel, I’ve been a huge fan for years and I loved Hollywood Park in all its forms. in the time that TATE was lying low I lost a parent as well, and I’ve been struggling with that experience and everything that comes along with it. my question is how do you handle the people who come into your life after your father passed? I have a hard time handling the fact that the person I marry will have never met my stepdad, who had a huge role in raising me. I tell stories and I point out which traits I’ve gotten from him but it never feels like enough. I guess it never will feel like enough but any insight would be hugely appreciated. your work has always meant so much to me and I appreciate all that you’ve given the world.

MikelJollett20 karma

some things can just be sad. I think we as a culture spend a lot of time looking for silver linings and that makes us ignore the rain, the cloud, the fact that we are cold and wet. My father will never meet my son. That sucks. I totally understand why you feel the way you do. All I can say is I talk to my dad in my head every day and he guides me and despite the fact that he died when he did, I feel so lucky to have had him for the years I did. Now on to the next adventure! I'll take him with me.

ColleenTheMaskedFan5 karma

Hi Mikel. Colleen here. My husband and I loved your book. He mentioned that it helped him understand the relationship I have with my own mother. The crater at the end of the book...can you tell us more about that? What is the deeper significance of that? Is that what making space for compassion looks like? As the child of an NPD mother, I was wondering. Thank you.

MikelJollett11 karma

Yes, I think it was something like trying to capture the nature of the compassion I have for her struggle. She was born in a war, she was raised in the craters it created. Those things are hard and of course I know that. And it's easier to see people who've hurt you the way god sees them: as lost children. (it's also easier to do at a distance).

p1zzarena5 karma

Do you plan on finishing the sci-fi book about buying and selling sleep?

MikelJollett13 karma

that's a deep cut. wow. probably not but damn. nice pull.

TheNilvarg5 karma

Who should I vote for?

MikelJollett35 karma

Joe Biden. Then hold him accountable to end the filibuster, add 2 supreme court justices, statehood for DC and PR, end to gerrymandering and a national voting rights act with real teeth so that election day is a holiday and everyone's voice counts. You know, a fucking democracy.

ivanvzm5 karma

Hi Mikel! Huge fan here.

What is your favorite lyric you've ever written into a song and why?

MikelJollett31 karma

who knows. I like the two perfect circles entwined. I like if you die before i die i'll carve your name out of the sky. I like pretty shy for a mexican girl. I like the beating of the drum in the parade of the insane. I like that Hollywood Park opens with my father's prison number and I like the group sing part of Common Touch because it feels like one of those special moments when music captures a feeling better than anything else.

Ashler13234 karma

Mikel,

I love all the records and the book. I'll list a few of my questions in hopes you get to one of them.

You've talked before about record label pressure. People telling you to make a hit like Wang Chung, cutting down songs like "The Secret," and so on. Are there other songs that suffered because of this? How was it to be able to get away from the bullshit, make Hollywood Park on your own, and tell the story your way?

Assuming there is ever a return to concerts, do you think you'll ever do another live release? I've used the Disney/All I Ever Wanted album to help get others into your music.

Lastly, are there any songs you just get sick of playing on the road? I know it's been forever, so it might not be the case now. But does it ever get old singing love songs from 10+ years ago?

Either way - hoping the world changes soon enough to see you on the rescheduled Hollywood Park tour. Thanks for everything all these years. Your music means the world to me.

MikelJollett15 karma

God I wish we'd released the original version of the Secret. Stuff like that eats at you. It was wonderful to not think about any of that stuff when making Hollywood Park. It's kind of a revelatory moment as an artist when you realize you are enough. Your own mind, your own taste, your own approach. It's enough. And to just block out any person who says otherwise. Like if you want to make money, go be a banker. it's much more efficient. If you're an artist, scream into the void. That's why we're here, isn't it?

modern-prometheus3 karma

Hi, Mikel! Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA!

I’ve been a big fan of TATE since around the time All At Once came out. I’ve seen you live three times, twice in Atlanta and once in Athens, GA. Hollywood Park instantly became my favorite of your albums upon hearing it, and the companion book is such a beautifully told and emotional story.

Would you ever consider returning to your aspirations of being a fiction writer and publishing a novel?

Hope you and your family are doing well in these trying times!

MikelJollett21 karma

I’m planning to write a novel next. I’ve already said too much.

uk44443 karma

Hi Mikel, I loved the book! I attended one of the virtual bookstore events but the book was delayed because of Covid so I hadn't read it yet. Now that I have, I really wanted to ask if you have been contacted by any other children from Synanon?
Hearing your story I couldn't help but wonder about the others.

And Brother How Was The War, my favorite from the album!

MikelJollett13 karma

Yes! Lots of people from Synanon have reached out. I actually spent a fair amount of time comparing notes with other synanon kids when I was writing the book too. I'd say that I would never pre-empt their experiences or act like my book is somehow definitive. I think each kid had his or her own experience and I am no expert on anyone else's experiences. I will say that the kids have been very supportive and there's something like a generational rift in which the older generation still has some trouble grappling with the fact that they turned their children into orphans. Which is kinda sad. Like they're still in the cult in some ways.

theholdy2 karma

Hey Mikel!

Love the book and album! With all your political posts and commentary, any chance you have a future in politics?

Thanks,

Holden

MikelJollett15 karma

I actually thought about pursuing politics instead of this whole project. I was thinking of running for city council of Los Angeles, then maybe mayor. I realized that as much I think I’d love to reform the LAPD or give fancy speeches, I actually think I’d hate having to be somewhere every day. I’m just not built for it. So, I figure be an artist and activist…

stalwart7702 karma

I saw you a few years back in Burlington, VT. Such an great show, I loved it and have been looking forward to catching Airborne next time they come around.

Any chance of a vinyl release of the self titled album?

MikelJollett5 karma

there is a chance. I've already said too much.

mstrkingdom2 karma

I know I already had one question answered and I don't really expect to get this one answered as well, but I gotta take my shot while I have it. I'm listinging to All I Ever Wanted: Live from Walt Disney Concert Hall while I read the answers in this AMA and I just got to the live performance of Innocence. The version in this concert is a bit different from the album version in that it has lyrics through out the introduction, whereas the album version is instrumental. (side note: My wife wanted to walk down the aisle to this part when we got married but a different couple we knew beat us to it!) Why didn't the album version have the full lyrics? Were they initially written at the same time as the the song, and elided for the studio? Or were they written later and performed with it live?

MikelJollett2 karma

That intro was originally a song called "Heaven is a Map" that i wrote for a folk project I did called Vanya Vranksy. One day I noticed that the two melodies/keys worked in a way that I thought was intriguing so I combined them into one song. Then we did it live with the band and the whole song came to life.

lavendervodka2 karma

Hi Mikel,

You did a such great job reconstructing dialog in Hollywood Park and the memories of your childhood seem so vivid. Did you have to dig deep to bring them back or have they been in the front of your mind all along?

The book is probably the best memoir I’ve ever read. I cried at the part where your father died because you made me love him.

MikelJollett6 karma

You are so kind. Thank you. He was really a wonderful guy. I spent six months world building before beginning any proper writing for the book. Toni Morrisson has this great idea of "re-memory," the notion that memories live in places and you can visit the memories if you visit the places. I don't know if you've ever returned to your childhood home after a decade away or something and suddenly all these memories come rushing to you: events, sights, sounds, the way things smelled, entire attitudes towards the world you'd forgotten because you'd grown. So I followed that idea and went to each of the locales of my book and took a ton of notes, I spent days expanding those notes until i had 20-40 pages on each location. Then when I went to write a scene I didn't have to create it from scratch and could focus on writerly concerns of lyricism, transitions, etc. until I felt I'd recreated the moment the way it lived intact in my own memory.

iWORKBRiEFLY2 karma

Hello Mikel,

love the band & your book; I'm a huge fan. It took me a couple of listens to get into the new album but once I did I really enjoy it. Also, my condolences on the loss of your father. I have a few questions for you that I hope you can answer:

After reading the book I see your relationship with your mom is strained & I completely understand why. Do you still talk to her?

I own a majority of TATE's albums on vinyl but I'm wondering, are there any plans to repress the first 2 albums? They're pretty hard to find.

Any future tour plans in the works? Can you stop in St. Louis, MO if it's not already in the planned cities?

Do you think TATE would have existed if you didn't move to California to live with your father & Bonnie?

MikelJollett10 karma

My mom and I have been mostly estranged since I was 20. We are totally touring as soon as we are through this pandemic shit.

vexed2nightmare2 karma

Hi! Huge fan of your writing and music. Curious to know about your musical education after picking up the guitar. Are you self-taught? Did you study music when you were on your “writing retreat” in your aunt’s trailer? Do you write your lyrics first and then compose the music? Or vice versa or simultaneously!

Also, are you still running?

MikelJollett13 karma

I would say songwriting is like a party trick to me. I jsut did it and did it and did it until I could tie a cherry stem in knots with my tongue. I have no formal training and tend to frustrate the trained musicians around me when I say stuff like, "it needs to sound lonelier." and they say, "like in a minor key?"

Bleeding--Green2 karma

Your album All at Once particularly "All I ever wanted" was music that spoke to me more than anything else in some of my most diffcult months of my life. I just wanted to say thank you for that.

What band / album / or song has given you the strongest emotional response?

MikelJollett7 karma

Currently listening to the Best of Everything by Tom Petty. That's a good one. there are too many songs to name. I'm just glad for music.

vro1342 karma

Hi Mikel, not sure if this is still open. I had a few questions.

  1. Have you heard of the #breakingcodesilence movement?

  2. What was it is the meaning behind the song “The Kids Are Ready To Die”?

  3. What was the most influential process in therapy you went through? How long did it take for you to overcome trauma

  4. Are you in contact with anyone from Synanon?

I hope I’m not too late! I had to work! Thank you so much!

MikelJollett9 karma

  1. No but that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile because I don't know lots of things.
  2. It's about the military taking advantage of the rebelliousness, naivete and pride of young people to ship them to places to be killed for no good reason but corporate profit.
  3. It took 5 years. I wouldn't even know where to start. It's a long, uncomfortable, wildly beneficial process.
  4. Yes of course! We hang out. It's like cousins.

taliaelaine182 karma

Hi Mikel! :)

I have two questions for you and the first one is a total downer, but here it is. What is your advice on how to cope with the death of a friend or loved one? How did you get through the pain that has no end?

And now for something completely different...what is giving you hope and comfort these days, like your favorite comfort movies/songs/books?

Thank you for all that you do and all that you are. ❤️ Your music and your words are forever written on my heart!

MikelJollett10 karma

music gives me comfort these days. The book was so fucking hard to write and the political moment is so fraught that the idea of just going from city to city playing songs in rooms with people sounds like the most amazing thing in the world.

Kochbiel2 karma

Hi Mikel,

I just wanted to say thank you for your music. I've been listening to you guys since '09 and your music has been there for me in so many different times of my life. Hollywood Park is some of your best stuff yet and can't wait to hear what else you put out. It's fucking great to have you back and though it's a bummer I couldn't catch you in NYC back in April, will be seeing you next year in October.

I have a question about your writing process, both for songwriting and the memoirs. When did you feel the writing is done? I've heard some writers say they never feel a piece is complete, but for you personally, when are you able to step back and accept something as finished?

As a second question, any chance we'd ever get the bombastic music videos compiled as an album?

Thanks again for everything.

MikelJollett7 karma

when I wrote the final line of the book, that scene, i knew i was done. I knew i had a lot of editing in front of me but that was the moment I knew where it landed and it made the whole book make sense.

AdamJardy2 karma

Mikel, thank you for all of the music across so many years, and now for the words, too. I've been lucky to get to meet you at a few Big Room shows in Columbus, Ohio, at CD1025, and one time you commented on my Oasis coat I was wearing. Since then, I've been dying to ask: there's a photo of you with Noel Gallagher that I've seen you post a few times. Can you tell me what the story is there? How did you guys meet, and why did you get a photo with him?

Thank you so much!

MikelJollett5 karma

it was a party for Island Records. We were in a big room filled with hip hop and pop artists and someone walked up to us and said, "Hey, you two guys make rock and roll." so we took a picture.

matcha-frap2 karma

What is the likelihood of rescheduled in-person concerts continuing? Have the venues been in touch with you at all as those dates near

MikelJollett12 karma

we are totally touring when this shit is over.

currkat2 karma

Hi Mikel,

I hope you and your family are healthy and the smoke is cleared by you. How did you edit your words? Your book is so well written. I think I read somewhere that it took you three years. Did you have to edit a lot? Did an editor work on it?

Thank you!

MikelJollett13 karma

I wrote about 500,000 words for the book. The final edit had about 140,000 words so a lot of stuff ended up on the floor. I like the old edict: cut the boring parts. I usually do some editing as I go, some when I finish sections and then I’ll print the entire draft out and go over it line by line. I did this 13 times with Hollywood Park. Writing sucks, it’s just not writing sucks more.

tavuskusu1 karma

Hi Mikel, I hope you're doing well, and thank you for doing this! I've been a huge fan of TATE for a while and have gotten to see ya'll twice (third time was supposed to be in March...maybe someday soon). "All At Once" helped me through a really tough time in college after I lost my mom. And "Hollywood Park" was the most raw and beautiful thing I've read in a long time.

I used to be a writing teacher, so I'm always curious about the writing process. My questions are: - What was the most difficult thing you had to leave out in the final version of the book? - And what was the most difficult part to write? (Did this make it into the final version?)

Thank you!

MikelJollett10 karma

The college chapter was the hardest to write. I don't know why. Maybe something like it's easier to talk about the things you are sad about than it is to disclose the things you are ashamed of. But I think of the two, readers prefer to the latter because they're worried their shameful secrets are too dark to discuss too so reading yours comes as a relief.

AZCrooner1 karma

Hey Mikel,

Has your therapy helped you forgive your birth mother, and are you still estranged?

MikelJollett21 karma

I think the idea of forgiveness is inappropriately lionized in our culture. It's actually not that hard and there are bigger questions like:

  1. Did the person apologize and if so did they change or realize the extent of the damage they did?
  2. Is the person toxic and if so, why have them in your life?
  3. Is it not better to simply ask ourselves which relationships serve us. Being hurt constantly, triggered, anxious, made to feel bad, should never be a requirement for a relationship, in my opinion. If that's the case then forgiveness is the wrong theme.

CrimAgain1 karma

How do you write out your emotions in these songs so well? I feel that I have so much inside that needs to come out but I do not know how to put it into words or even completely understand it at times.

MikelJollett10 karma

well, I wrote about 1,000 songs before I wrote Wishing Well, which was the first song I ever put out into the world. That song took me eight months and 20 drafts. I think from the outside it looks like songwriters, poets, and other artists are just built a certain way when the reality is we struggle so hard with our craft. There are so many songs cast aside, so many attempts to capture something, to grow, so many things that never see the light of day. All I can tell you is if you write 1,000 songs, one will be good.

Lucifer9261 karma

Hey Mikel! I loved the book and every album you and the band have put out. Before I ask a question, I just want to recount a couple things:

I've seen the band twice; once at the Hollywood Bowl where you quipped “before we play this song (the song was Wrong), to anyone that's asked us if we're no longer a rock and roll band, or if we're now an electronic band... Fuck off”; and the other at the Wiltern where you stuck around after the show and shook hands from the stage. I'm glad and proud to say I was had the pleasure and privilege.

Any discussion about bringing Mimi or another instrumentalist into the band? Or soldiering on as a 4 piece?

MikelJollett8 karma

Mimi will be touring with us for the foreseeable future. We all love playing with her we just didn't want to act like she made the record with us because that was just the 4 of us, like a brotherhood, for years.

Hopping-Wonder1 karma

Hello! Huge fan of your work, in particular I've always loved your lyrics. What is your method/philosophy for writing lyrics? Since I'm an aspiring songwriter, do you have any advice on how to improve in writing lyrics?

Thanks so much! Your book and your album are masterpieces.

MikelJollett10 karma

very kind. thank you. I would say just keep writing. I wrote 1,000 songs before I wrote one good one. edit them. make them just right. imagine the listener and the effect you are having on the listener. write about your confusion, your mixed feelings, your struggles, the thoughts you have that you think no one else has ever had. choose real details that argue for their veracity. get a voice coach.

happy84321 karma

In need of some hope and positivity: Best case scenario, where do you see our country 10 years from now?

And has having children changed the way you view our society/the world?

(By the way I love TATE and can't wait to see you in Denver again.)

MikelJollett2 karma

I'd say it could go either way, kakistocracy and light fascism or modern democracy, and it's up to us to make sure it goes the right way.

ugeneeuh1 karma

Can there be a rebooking of the TATE x SF SYMPHONY show? I was SO EXCITED for that show and the covid hit 😭

MikelJollett5 karma

Yes. 100%

Tymista1 karma

Hi Mikel! Thanks for doing this.

I've enjoyed all your music and I too and am a bit of a car enthusiast. What's the story behind that beautiful beast in the picture? Was it your dad's?

Thanks

MikelJollett4 karma

Betty is '66 Chevelle Malibu that my dad and I restored together before he died. We dropped a 383 stroker (Crate) engine into it, 4 barrel Holly carb, MSD ignition, dropped a new rear end (it came with a 411 but it impossible to drive on the freeway so we put in a 376). It's got a very loud stereo and now a car seat for my boy who loves driving around in it with his dad yelling, "vrooom, vrooom!" from the back seat and i'm going to be buried in that car.

fpachecooo1 karma

Hi Mikel! I feel like there are too many things I want to say and ask but don't even know where to start! First, I guess did you know ever think your music would touch so many people's hearts? And not only your music and writing, but your influence in the world. Your tweets are always gold! You're brilliant! Also as a side note, Seattle needs more of TATE whenever it is safe to tour again!

MikelJollett3 karma

well that's very kind. I don't really feel like I have touched the world that much. I feel like the journey is just now beginning and I'm still learning so much every day. Writing the book was freeing in this way where I don't feel like I need to portray any particular character in public anymore and my twitter feed is just stuff I'm thinking about most days. I guess what I'm saying is, becoming less guarded, more authentic, less focused on outcomes and effects was wildly freeing and something like a door I only opened recently.

claire01 karma

I follow you on Twitter, but after reading your intro here, now I’m not sure I’m cool enough. What happens after Trump loses the election and refuses to leave?

MikelJollett4 karma

We have to have a general strike in which every American refuses to work, boycotts as many industries as they can, grinds the economy to a halt and takes to the streets for peaceful protest. Mass peaceful protest plus economic stagnation is the thing people in power fear the most.

amjames551 karma

Hi Mikel! I really love the new album and found your book so incredibly touching. I was wondering about the song All of these Engagements. Really love this song from the record. Would you mind sharing the meaning behind this song and if the young boy crying in the rain is you?

MikelJollett2 karma

yes of course. first blush with love. 3rd grade, staring up at a window while the world rained down on my little heartbroken head.

smb2081 karma

Hi Mikel, thanks for doing this and contributing so much to all our lives with this music. Since the beginning, I’ve thought your lyrics are the best in the music world. The word choices are always perfect. The new album is full of hits and I truly think The Common Touch is your best song. What I have been wondering recently is, do you write all the music and instrument parts to these songs? Do the lyrics come first? Would love to know more about that process. Obviously we don’t see you playing violin or drums, so wondering how you hear that/ create that ... because it’s always so perfect together with the lyrics and how these songs are crafted. I am constantly in awe. Thank you again.

MikelJollett3 karma

I usually write songs on guitar or piano first. Oftentimes I then make a demo, a loose drumbeat, some guitar riffs. Then I start thinking about arrangements, flourishes, keyboards and symphonic parts that might make the story of the song come to life more. Then I bring it all to Daren, who always has great ideas, not just for drums though he's world-class at that, but also for parts and arcs and stuff like that. Adrian is a beast with harmony and original keyboard ideas and Steven, in addition to being a great guitar player, has a keen sense of the pageantry of rock and roll, what the song is doing and how it might do something better. Then we take what we've done and rehearse it, play it live to figure out what "slaps" as the kids say. I've always loved strings and when I wrote all of Anna's parts it was always exciting to hear her bring them life when she played them and that is still true when I hear Mimi's wonderful playing..