Mikel Jollett Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Mikel Jollett      

Musician Known As the Frontman for Indie-Rock Band The Airborne Toxic Event; Author of "Hollywood Park"

Mikel Jollett is a musician who is best known as the frontman for the Los Angeles-based indie-rock band The Airborne Toxic Event.

In 2020, Jollett's memoir, "Hollywood Park," was released. "Hollywood Park" details Jollett's experience growing up in an experimental, infamous cult named Synanon. When the commune became violent, Jollett left Synanon with his mother and brother to live in Salem, Oregon.

Jollett eventually moved to live with his father and stepmother in Los Angeles, where he attended Westchester High School, graduating with a 4.3 GPA. He later attended Stanford University, graduating with honors in 1996. While at Stanford, Jollett was a member of Claude Steele's lab group in which he conducted research on the concept Stereotype Threat. Jollett's work focused on how negative racial stereotypes negatively affected the identity and test performance of high school students.

In the summer of 2008, McSweeney's issue 27 published Jollett's short story, "The Crack," which appeared between short stories by Liz Mandrell and Stephen King. He was a frequent contributor to All Things Considered on NPR, the Los Angeles Times, an editor-at-large for Men's Health and the managing editor of Filter magazine. Jollett was accepted to Yaddo Writer's Colony to complete his novel based on "The Crack" but did not attend, choosing to pursue music instead.

In keeping with his literary background, Jollett named The Airborne Toxic Event after a section of Don DeLillo's postmodern novel "White Noise," which won the National Book Award in 1985. In the book, a chemical spill from a railcar releases a poisonous cloud, dubbed by the military and media as an "airborne toxic event." Jollett chose to name the band after the event in the novel which triggers the fear of death that fundamentally alters the protagonist's outlook on himself, his family, and his life. The band was born of a similar life-altering sequence of events, and thus, the themes of mortality and media consumption that arise from the novel's toxic cloud serve as a major impetus for Jollett's creative drive.

The Airborne Toxic Event's debut album received favorable reviews from such outlets as the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Q, and Entertainment Weekly. Notably, the Boston Herald named the band's album "The Debut Album of the Year." In addition, iTunes named "Sometime Around Midnight" the #1 Alternative Song of the Year on their "Best of" list. The song went on to become a certified gold single.

The band has developed a loyal live fan base with performances at many festivals including Coachella and Lollapalooza while headlining shows at the Greek Theatre, Central Park's Summer Stage, and Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony.

Jollett resides in Los Angeles.


Airborne Toxic Event leader Mikel Jollett writing memoir - Baltimore ...

Airborne Toxic Event frontman Mikel Jollett is writing a memoir.

Nonfiction Book Review: Hollywood Park: A Memoir by Mikel Jollett ...

In this arresting debut memoir, Jollett, frontman of the indie band Airborne Toxic Event, writes of escaping a California cult named Synanon—where he lived in ...

Related Speakers View all

More like Mikel