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Tramps like us: The Airborne Toxic Event fuses Bruce & "the violent world of children" with 'Hollywood Park'

Credit: Dove Shore
Credit: Dove Shore

The Airborne Toxic Event is returning in a big way.

The band’s new album, Hollywood Park, their first in five years, is out today, while frontman Mikel Jollett‘s memoir of the same name arrives May 26.

Jollett started working on the Hollywood Park project following his father’s death, and both the album and the book explore the musician’s childhood, including his experience being raised in the infamous Synanon cult. While both works essentially tell the same story, Jollett tells ABC Audio that certain aspects translated better on the page than through song, and vice versa.

“Particularly the kind of violent world of children, and the violent imaginations of children, and the emotional tragic worlds of orphans, that sort of this is very hard to get across in song,” he explains.

On the music side, Jollett felt he was able to capture a whole “era” with a song such as the Hollywood Park title track, which he describes as the Airborne version of Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born to Run.”

You’ll likely pick up on a few notes from The Boss throughout Hollywood Park — it feels local to Southern California in a way Bruce’s records do to New Jersey, not to mention the recurring motifs of fathers and sons.

“[Spingsteen’s] Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River and Born to Run — they had the studio live feeling,” Jollett says. “You were just in the f***ing room with them. That’s the thing I really…wanted to capture.”

Overall, Jollett describes Hollywood Park as simply a “rock n’ roll” record inspired by the likes of Springsteen, David Bowie, The Cure and The Smiths.

“This is our music!” Jollett exclaims. “[We thought,] ‘Let’s just not worry about what the kids are doing. Let’s just do what we want to do.'”

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