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Posted September 19, 2012 by Always Acoustic in Interviews

David Kennedy Interview

Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 7:30 p.m. CST

AvA has sold more than 2 million albums worldwide, including a U.S. Certified Gold Album in We Don’t Need to Whisper. David Kennedy and I discussed by telephone their latest album LOVE, his racing and modeling careers, Alpinestars, Riders for Health, music videos and Modlife®.

AARON KEKER: AvA released LOVE on February 12th and in the first hour 20,000 individuals downloaded the album.

DAVID KENNEDY: Yes, that is true. (Laughs)

AARON KEKER: The weekend total for individuals downloading the album reached 250,000.

DAVID KENNEDY: Yeah. Something, you know, insane like ten to fifteen people a second were downloading the record. It was pretty fun watching that happen.

AARON KEKER: Do you feel like AvA received some Valentine’s Day love by those individuals downloading the album for free?

DAVID KENNEDY: Yeah! I was shocked because we hadn’t done any press. We hadn’t done anything and decided using our Modlife® platform … Facebook and MySpace. All the social networks.

AARON KEKER: Well I donated $10.00 as well as downloading the album for free.

DAVID KENNEDY: Oh! Look at you man! (Laughs)


DAVID KENNEDY: Now that paid for a 1,000 downloads. We get charged for every time somebody downloads the record. So that is what ultimately even spawned the whole donate thing. That 10 dollars really helped out a ton. So, thank you!

AARON KEKER: Yeah! No problem! Are you finding out that a majority of individuals are donating in addition to downloading the album for free?

DAVID KENNEDY: No, not really. You know it’s not about donating. We never advertised. We’ve never talked about the donating thing. It is an option on there. Tweeting is that people would just over donating anything would just to go ahead and share the link. That was our real goal. So I think people definitely did that. We asked people to share the link and then we called it square. We would want to accept peoples’ help, obviously. There have been enough people that donated that offset the cost of the downloads, so that we’re not continuing paying for downloads.

AARON KEKER:  AvA headlined over the weekend at Bamboozle in Anaheim, California.


AARON KEKER: What songs did AvA perform live from LOVE?

DAVID KENNEDY: From LOVE we played “Et Ducit” the instrumental. We played “Young London.” We played “Hallucinations.” We played “Epic Holiday.” We played “The Flight of Apollo.” I think that is all of the new ones we played.

AARON KEKER: What was the audience’s reaction when AvA performed these songs live?

DAVID KENNEDY: That was our first like real, real show. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t nervous and I had trouble like looking out [in] the crowd (Laughs) to see what they were doing. Fifteen months since we played in any kind of environment like that. I think a lot of it I was just kind of like, okay just stay focused and that I will enjoy it later, more or less. I don’t know definitively what their reaction was but at points it felt like everything was really clicking there and was coming together from them to us. So I would have to say that the reaction was awesome!

AARON KEKER: Besides your home state of California, what other 40+ U.S. Cities are you looking forward to performing in?

DAVID KENNEDY: Honestly, like Detroit, Chicago. Detroit’s always awesome! Like I don’t know. It’s truly a rock city, like they just are pumped. Like it’s so cool! And in Chicago it’s always so musical and excitable. Minnesota was incredible. Last time we were in Minnesota it was like overwhelming. So, I’m really looking forward to get[ting] back there. Texas, Dallas, which was odd but Texas [has] always kind of been one of those places where it was hard for an acknowledgment reaction. A lot of these places seem to be turning and finding a lot of excitable individuals. You know, connecting with the band and it’s brought about some places that I didn’t always totally look forward to. But now I’m just like, I can’t wait to get back. I would be looking forward to New York but we’re playing Bamboozle East. I love Southern California because it is our hometown. So, I am looking forward to getting back home and being good.

Was more like playing a show and getting off stage when you’re just like ‘F***!’ You feel like a hero sometimes

AARON KEKER: Angels & Airwaves are also known as AvA. Were the initials AvA based upon the name of Tom’s daughter Ava?

DAVID KENNEDY: No, it was just like one of those serendipitous sort of things. As drawing up the logos that’s how it was done 3 A’s and then it was like holy shit —


DAVID KENNEDY: it becomes AvA. It’s funny how it works.

AARON KEKER: David, you’re a multi-talented individual. First, you’re a guitarist in AvA. Second, you design and fabricate furniture with your brother Jacob.


AARON KEKER: Third, you’re eco-friendly by not driving a gas guzzling automobile and instead ride a Buell Rip Triumph motorcycle.


AARON KEKER: Fourth, you’re a successful WSMC Novice Heavyweight racer.


AARON KEKER: Finally, you model AvA merchandise.
DAVID KENNEDY: Yeah! I don’t know that was embarrassing but yeah I had to do a t-shirt.

AARON KEKER: Do you possess any additional talents?

DAVID KENNEDY: Any additional talents?


DAVID KENNEDY: I’ve been surfing since I was ten years. So, I’d hate to say how long that’s been but surfing is a sport that I feel quite comfortable with. I don’t excel terribly at one thing or another. I just have things that I am passionate about and I am excited to do. Try to do better for myself. I’m not at the top of any one of the lists. I’ve tried to reduce those things and it’s become music obviously first. Riding motorcycles probably second cause it sums up everything I love to do. You know it’s like I have to commute. I have to get to places. And the racing side of it; it’s all just kind of becomes one thing. Surfing is something else that is there. Fabricating furniture obviously is something I grew up doing and loving. Been a fan of architects and craftsmen. I like that whole sort of idea. So those four things.

AARON KEKER: Okay! I am in the need of some new furniture pieces. 

DAVID KENNEDY: (Laughs) Okay!

AARON KEKER: (Laughs) Where could someone purchase the furniture that Jacob and you design and fabricate?

DAVID KENNEDY: If you go to publicnationdesignco.com, that’s the best place to contact us.

AARON KEKER: I’ve seen pictures of George Clooney wearing a Johnson Motors t-shirt as he rides his motorcycle.

AARON KEKER: Do you ever ride your motorcycle wearing a motorcycle t-shirt like the Alpinestars or maybe even Triumph?

DAVID KENNEDY: I don’t know. Not that I wouldn’t. I definitely will with Alpinestars stuff.  I had a Johnson Motors shirt at one time. Atom got it for me actually. He’s in with all of those guys up in L.A. Unfortunately my Triumph burned up in the 2007 fires. That bike is no longer with us. It’s a sad thing. I did a lot of work to that. It was a beautiful bike. Alpinestars has been so good to me about protecting me with racing and all that kind of tech side of protective gear. They’ve been really great about helping me stay safe so I try to support them as much as I can.

AARON KEKER: I saw a photograph of you turning a corner in your first place finish in the WSMC Novice Heavyweight on July —


18th, 2009. 


AARON KEKER: The picture is insane because your knee is like an inch from smashing the ground and possibly wiping out.


AARON KEKER: How much concentration and balance do you have to possess as a racer?

DAVID KENNEDY: Shit man, I don’t know! The bikes doing all the work. (Laughs)


DAVID KENNEDY:  It’s an intrical force at that point when you’re leaned over that much. It really has to do with the tires and the suspension and that’s really where it’s at. And ball condition comes in there too. The more weight that you have off the bike than the less weight that’s going against the tires on the road. It is almost the faster that you go the more natural it becomes. That’s the difference between driving cars and riding motorcycles. I mean I’ve always really compared it to being a musician from playing shows live. There’s also those little nuances. It is technique, you know, how you get the guitar to sound a certain way. One guy plays one note and makes it sound one way. Another guy plays the same note but it sounds completely different. It’s weird! It is technique, you just develop it.

AARON KEKER: Okay! Do you have any rituals that you do before you race that are similar to when you perform on stage with AvA?

DAVID KENNEDY: They’re the same environment almost. The difference is there’s just not all the kids and all of the people and all of that stuff. But all the rituals beforehand – it’s the same thing. Get warmed up. Get my heart rate up. Make sure I’m diluted and focused. Going over every single thing in my head, what I want to do that night, whether it’s from the race or its from performing on stage and listening to music. Getting myself kind of like remembering why I’m here. Music – it sets the mood and is just that infectious. It defines the moment that you’re in. It gets me focused. It gets me excited. It calms me down too and I’m not just stressing about what’s potentially going on. 

 According to RIAA’s web site, We Don’t Need to Whisper was Certified Gold on April 24, 2008. Are there any comparisons between winning 1st place at the WSMC Novice Heavyweight on July 18th and November 14th, 2009 —


AARON KEKER: and having a Certified Gold album?

DAVID KENNEDY: Not really. We were working on promoting I-Empire record. The Whisper record it was out there. It was doing what it was going to do. For some reason I really didn’t feel it. I don’t know. We got it and it was awesome but I guess it was almost kind of sad too. I guess we’re like this is probably like the last time we’ll ever get any type of plaque because I don’t know how to sell records anymore to where somebody like that is going to acknowledge you and give you a reward for that accomplishment. I think at the same time, it’s kind of like bitter sweet. That was a different thing winning the race. Was more like playing a show and getting off stage when you’re just like “Fuck!” You feel like a hero sometimes. All the times that I felt like that you know walking off stage going like “Wow that was kind of the best thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.” And I would put winning a race or going through that sort of process more on that immediate sort of satisfaction.

AARON KEKER: You look extremely enthusiastic to be modeling AvA merchandise. (Laughs)

DAVID KENNEDY: Well there’s a reason why I was motivated (Laughs) to help out. The collaborative shirt with Alpinestars was for a charity. It was for an organization called Riders for Health. It’s a really cool organization in Africa that provides motorcycles and motorcycle service for locals to get the medicine that the UN provides to all this sort of, you know, real world tribes and places where cars just can’t get to. There’s no lack of medicine in Africa but there’s a lack of the ability to get the medicine to the people. Yes, I put a t-shirt on and had them take a picture of me and it was embarrassing.


DAVID KENNEDY: But the shirt sold a lot! It did really well.

AARON KEKER: So you don’t blame Tom for subjecting you to this torture? 

DAVID KENNEDY: No! I blame a girl named Adrian — 


DAVID KENNEDY:  that works for Loserkids that had enough gall to ask if I would go ahead and put the shirt on so they could put it on the site. Of course Alpinestars thought that it was a good idea.

AARON KEKER: Do you think that you will continue modeling additional AvA merchandise in the future?

DAVID KENNEDY: If it’s for a good enough cause. I don’t think I’ll just put an AvA shirt on “Hey what’s the width.”

AARON KEKER: (Laughs) Well it sounded like that was a great cause!

DAVID KENNEDY: It’s a really cool organization! It’s been around for a long time.

AARON KEKER: Besides “The Gift” has AvA recorded acoustically any songs like “Do it for Me Now,” “Good Day,” “Everything’s Magic,” “True Love,” “Young London,” “Shove” and “Clever Love?”

DAVID KENNEDY: Acoustically no! There’s a handful of stuff we’ve done with like AOL Sessions. I almost feel like that is a boom box recording or something. (Laughs)


DAVID KENNEDY: There always seems to be like a mic in the back of the room. I really don’t know. It plays terrible. But we’ve never sat down and actually just recorded an acoustic song. We did do some stuff in the UK. I can’t remember that was a while ago.

AARON KEKER: Would AvA ever consider touring on an acoustic theme?

DAVID KENNEDY: I don’t think we’d hit the road with acoustic guitars. But I think if we partnered it like a Q&A and the movie something cool like that. Not like a Foo Fighters style thing. It made sense for them. They recorded a whole acoustic record.

AARON KEKER: AvA has posted on their web site the music video “Hallucinations.”


AARON KEKER: Will that video be available to purchase on iTunes soon?

DAVID KENNEDY: I don’t know how that works. I don’t know if we are in best graces of iTunes based upon giving the record away for free. I don’t know if we’ve really determined if people will really pay money for the video.

I’m a big one that actually goes on iTunes all of the time and downloads videos. You know you can just watch it on your TV anytime you want.

DAVID KENNEDY: I think so too. I think Tom and I didn’t get into it but we debated that whole idea who is going to pay 2 bucks for the video. I’m like, “I don’t know. Maybe they would. It’s cool.”

If someone wanted to watch the AvA soundcheck and meet and greet with the band before the show, do they have to become a premium member to do this?

We have two different sort of scaled versions of this. We have the premium member thing that includes all the access to the web site. You know we’re doing these soundcheck parties, early entry. Also they get a signed poster and different things like that and they get sort of on the inside to actually see what it kind of looks like … as you’re setting up the show. We’re also doing something completely separate, which is just a VIP package but it doesn’t have anything to do necessarily with being a Modlife member. You get a tour of the backstage. You get to hang out and meet the band. That kind of stuff. You get a t-shirt of your choice. We have the individual CD’s that we created ourselves (a very small run) a signed version of that.