LA band battle on after singer loses his voiceBy Avril Cadden
June 7, 2009
When Airborne Toxic Event frontman Mikel Jollett’s voice was ravaged by disease, he would have been forgiven for quitting music.
Instead he and his band simply reworked their songs to suitÃ‚Â—and they’ve never looked back.
Mikel said: “Autoimmune disease attacked the nerve that controls my vocal cords, so one is partially paralysed.
“It takes about six months to a year for that to heal so that we had to lower all the keys and redo everything.
“I’d usually just scream through the set but I have to lower everything and sing.
“It’s really just a way of getting sympathy. I figure if I tell everyone they’ll let me get up and sing.”
MIkel and bandmates Steven Chen (guitar), Noah Harmon (bass), Anna Bulbrook (strings) and Daren Taylor (drums) are based in Los Angeles.
At Glasgow’s QMU in March, fans even tried to get on stage. Mikel said: “It was almost a riot. That was great. We like that.
“We want that sense you don’t know if the place is going to burn down. That’s rock ‘n’ roll, otherwise it would be like folk music with a drummer.”
Mikel had worked as a carpenter, a journalist and fiction writer, and never planned a musical career.
The turning point came when he was diagnosed, his mum found she had cancer and he and his girlfriend split.
He said: “A bunch of c**p went down but all I cared about was music.
“My mum is fine now. It was scary though.”
He still doesn’t view the band as a job. He said: “I used to be a carpenter. You come home, your back hurts, you feel you’ve earned your sup of beer and made something. That’s work.”
He can’t do carpentry these days. He said: “There’s not a whole lot of tools on the tour bus. I thought about getting some sort of table saw. We could start selling stuffÃ‚Â—like an Airborne Toxic Chair.”
The band are set for T in the Park after two years together and their single Sometime Around Midnight is one of the best this year. Mikel is bemused by the plaudits.
He said: “I thought I wanted a second novel, maybe a wife and a child. Instead I’m living in a rock band bus with four friends traveling around. I’m happy but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
Ã‚Â• The Happiness is Overrated EP is out tomorrow
Ã‚Â• Airborne Toxic Event T in the Park, July 12
i respect mikel im right with him on the whole girl break up scene.He’s real modest too. Keep up the great work guys
i can relate with the autoimmune issue, though mine are different.you lot inspire me though.your a prime example that anything is possible, which is a difficult concept to grasp in this rather provincial world of ours…