Interview – Airborne Toxic Event’s Anna Bulbrook
L.A. band’s violinist comes out from the shadows
By now, the story behind Airborne Toxic Event has been repeated ad nauseum: the family and personal illnesses, and relationship bust-up, that drove lead singer Mikel Jollett from writing fiction to songs, the band name taken from a chapter heading in Don Delillo‘s White Noise, the buzz that’s grown up around the L.A.-based quintet for its dark-night-of-the-soul song “Sometime Around Midnight”, the notorious 1.6 Pitchfork review that prompted a serious-minded reply from Jollett.
But if the story has lost its novelty, the group’s debut album still packs a punch – though that’s nothing compared to the group’s live show, which aims for the all-in emotive territory of a Bruce Springsteen or U2, and succeeds more often than not.
This is in no small part due to Anna Bulbrook, the band’s classically-trained-viola-player-turned-rocker. I chatted with Anna from a Seattle tour stop a couple of days before the band’s Feb 18 Vancouver show, which was moved from the comparatively tiny Media Club to Richard’s on Richards due, as they say, to popular demand…