After a nearly decade-long hiatus, the band joins forces for a new album and tour, plus roasted coffee for fans.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of James Coffee Company
It is inevitable that musicians are tied to coffee and vice versa, but how many artists have you seen launch a career out of it? When alt-rock band Angels & Airwaves—whose famed frontman Tom Delonge started Blink 182—took a lengthy pause from making music, their guitarist David Kennedy used that time to devote his life to coffee.
Meet James Coffee Company
James Coffee Company is a roasting brand out of San Diego that launched in 2014 during the Angels & Airwaves break. David started the company with his brother, who now oversees much of the operations of the business.
Angels & Airwaves’ Guitarist David Kennedy on Coffee
David’s own fascination with coffee began as an alternative solution to drinking alcohol and doing drugs during his music career. “I kind of wanted to … never relate to adults, you know?” David explains for his animosity toward alcohol.
Although David also steered clear of coffee for many years, he decided to slow things down during his pause from music by exploring coffee. For him, coffee made sense as an adult social beverage to partake in. This proved especially true after gaining growing interest from similar conversations circling around craft beer and wine in the early 2000s.
By segueing through vanilla lattes at cafés on tour, David had an epiphany after drinking a flat white in Melbourne in 2008. “It was very clean and simple, and just made very well,” he says. “In the States, I had never come close to having a drink like that. … There were so many variables in what it took to create that cup.”
The next step was going down the rabbit hole to explore all things coffee. David spent hours reading through blogs, watching videos, and playing with “brewing contraptions” at home, which eventually led to roasting coffee with a popcorn maker. James Coffee Company thus formed as a full-time commitment to pursuing coffee as a career.
Intertwining Coffee and Music
Fast-forward to six years later, and Angels & Airwaves is back in action, with the newly launched Lifeforms album and a heavy handful of tour dates to accompany it. After obsessing over coffee for long enough, David has become more of an operational figure at James. Although he roasts for the business occasionally, it remains a collaborative effort between David and his business partners to bring coffee (and musical) excellence to the San Diego coffee community.
“It’s meant to live on its own, but I am just so involved in both,” explains David. “Music is back in my life more so than it had been in the last six or seven years, and we’re able to sort of balance it more now.”
That being said, with this new tour, there will certainly be more incorporation of James Coffee Company and Angels & Airwaves. Members of “The Empire” fan club get a custom bag of coffee with the Lifeline tier. They will also be selling an exclusive Angels & Airwaves blend on tour at the merch booth, fittingly called “The Life Form Blend.”