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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Spiritual Guru Deepak Chopra's New Book; Bob Newhart's New Book and Years as a Comedian; Former Blink-182 Member Found Inspiration in World War II; William Cope Moyers Hit Bottom in a Harlem Crack House.
Aired October 28, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Deepak Chopra, the spiritual guru to millions, says there is life after death. And he knows what it's like.
Plus, comedy giant Bob Newhart, from outselling Sinatra to his long-time co-star Suzanne Pleshette's battle with cancer.
Also, rock star Tom DeLonge, how the former Blink-182 member found inspiration in World War II.
And William Cope Moyers, how the legendary son of a legendary journalist, Bill Moyers, hit bottom in a Harlem crack house.
All next on "LARRY KING LIVE."
We know welcome to "LARRY KING LIVE" a frequent guest on this program. Deepak Chopra, at our studios in New York, founder of the Chopra Center for Well-being, president of the Alliance for a New Humanity, New York Times best selling author, has a weekly wellness show on Sirius satellite radio. And his newest book is "Life after Death: the Burden of Proof.
Deepak, thanks for joining us. Who is the burden on?
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR OF "LIFE AFTER DEATH: THE BURDEN OF PROOF": The burden is on us to -- if we really want to have an experience or an idea or a knowledge about life after death, we can't depend on belief any more. Because belief is a cover-up for insecurity.
You don't have to believe in electricity because it's real. You don't have to believe in gravity because you know how it works. So if the soul is real, if the after life is real, if God is real, we have to -- the burden of proof is on us.
Can we explain it theoretically? Can we set up experiments to prove that actually the soul lives on after death? Can we look at studies that other scientists have done? And can we explain that there is such a thing as consciousness that outlives the death of the physical body?
KING: All right. Can we?
CHOPRA: Yes, we can. We are in a very interesting time in our history right now, in evolution, where scientists are looking at what is consciousness, where do thoughts come from, where are memories located, where does imagination come from, where does inspiration, insight, intuition, creativity, free will come from? These are not the attributes of our brain, Larry. They are the qualities of our soul.
And today, scientists say that, if you go to very fundamental levels of nature -- some scientists say -- then the world is a discontinuity, which means everything is going on and off at the speed of light. So although everything looks to us as continuous, it's actually going on and off.
We know what's in the on of the universe. What's in the on of the universe is energy and information. But what's in the off of the universe? And today, many scientists say that's where possibilities exist, infinite possibilities, that's where everything is connected to everything simultaneously. That's the realm of creativity. That's where there's something called observer effect. And many people say that's consciousness itself. It's a differentiated expression of our own soul.
KING: What happens, the key question, what happens when we die?
CHOPRA: What happens when we die is that the soul continues on. It incubates. And then, it imagines itself into a new existence depending on its conditioning.
KING: And you know -- you know this?
CHOPRA: Well, I know this, first, from my practices of meditation myself, by examining the wisdom traditions of the world, by looking at near-death experiences, by looking at out of body experiences.
KING: Do you fear it?
CHOPRA: I don't fear it because, if you can get in touch with that part of yourself now, that never dies, there's nothing to fear.
KING: And you say this soul comes back in another form?
CHOPRA: The soul takes a leap of creativity and takes its previous experience. And then, through its creativity, it expresses itself as meaning, context, relationships and the archetypical themes of our life, yes.
KING: Our guest is Deepak Chopra. His new book is "Life After Death: The Burden of Proof." He's the best selling author of the "Book of Secrets."
We'll be right back with Deepak after this.
KING: We're back with Deepak Chopra, author of his new book "Life After Death."
Why do doctors fight so hard to keep people alive?
CHOPRA: I think it's a terrible thing to prolong the suffering of a human being. And when we are at a stage in our lives when, you know, we cannot prolong the experience of comfort, then it's a time to let go. And you know, not imprison ourselves in a body that is extremely, you know, in a debilitated state and is suffering. It's not the right thing.
There are economic incentives, unfortunately, for keeping people alive even when they're otherwise brain dead.
KING: You write that death can be as creative as living. How?
CHOPRA: If we live consciously now, and we are fully aware of what we are doing right now, then we create the best future for ourselves, including after we die.
Larry, I just want to say, since some of the material in the book is challenging, I'm going to be posting very simple explanations on choprablog.com. And it's free. So anybody can come there.
And choprablog.com will be writing very simple explanations of what's there in the book. Because the book is, you know, taking a lot of material in current information theories in the studies of consciousness, and there are portions of the book that could be a little challenging.
KING: You call death a miracle. Well, why?
CHOPRA: Well, it's as much a miracle as birth is. What happens, at the moment of death, the body has exactly the same atoms, the same molecules, exactly everything as it had before the moment of death. And yet, you know, there's no life there. So something has disappeared.
It's the organizing intelligence in the body that creates the activity in the body, which is all simultaneous. You know, there's no mechanical explanation for the simultaneity in the body. How does a human body think thoughts, play a piano, remove toxins and make a baby, all at once, while it's tracking the movement of stars and planets and incorporating them as their biological rhythms?
This is an infinite intelligence, with infinite organizing parts that synchronistically orchestrates everything that's happening in the body. And that intelligence is consciousness. And a differentiated aspect of that consciousness is what we call the soul.
KING: What do you say to people -- you must be asked it a lot -- who are afraid of dying?
CHOPRA: You know, I think we should not wait till death to be confronting death. I used to work in an emergency room. And I saw that, when patients came and they had a heart attack and felt they were dying, they would go through extreme panic. Then, they would go through anger. Then, they would go through denial. Then, they would go through resignation, which it was a desperate resignation. And you know, in many other traditions, you prepare for death when you're healthy. You know, the Dali Lama, for example, meditates on his death every day.
So when you really understand what death is and how creative that process is, then you are comfortable with that part of yourself that never dies. Now, you won't be afraid of death when it actually happens. Because, you know, it's going to happen to all of us. .
KING: Do you like the idea that science is working on extending our lives?
CHOPRA: I think if our lives can be extended in a healthy manner, it's a really good idea. Today, the fastest growing segment of the United States population is over the age of 100. You know? So people are living longer. And they're living healthier.
And that's because of lifestyle changes. It's because of nutrition. It's because of, of course, the regular amenities, like, air conditioning and heating. But it's also because we now can treat infections and many diseases that are preventable.
So as long as we are healthy, it's a wonderful idea to have the biology of youth and the wisdom of experience.
KING: What's that blog number again?
CHOPRA: It's choprablog.com. .
KING: Oh. And when you go to that site, you'll get what?
CHOPRA: Simple explanations of what I've been saying. And I'll start tomorrow. And I'll post them every three days. Simple explanations of what I'm saying right now to you. And, of course, explanations for what's in the book, more explanations.
KING: And in this after life, is it wonderful as so many have pictured it?
CHOPRA: Well, it's exactly like what we have right now, Larry, because...
CHOPRA: You know, if we are violent now and we hang around with violent people right now, we'll do the same there. You know, we create our reality whether it's here, thereafter or any dimension. We are multidimensional beings that live multidimensionally.
KING: Wait a minute.
CHOPRA: Have the capacity for doing it. But it's up to us how we live our lives.
KING: So if you're a Chicago cub fan, you got an eternity of this? CHOPRA: I mean -- not an eternity. You know, you can continue to evolve. And that's the whole goal, you know. When we incarnate in this dimension, it is to evolve into higher levels of creativity and consciousness.
You know, I'm not using esoteric words, like karma, but karma is past experience that conditions us to our present. And unless we learn from it, we don't go to the next level of creativity.
KING: Deepak, I hope you're right. Thank you so much.
CHOPRA: I know I'm right, Larry. Thank you.
KING: Deepak Chopra, the founder of the Chopra Center for Well- being. His new book is "Life After Death: The Burden of Proof."
And we'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMILY: Goodness, you're here and you're safe.
BOB: Emily, I -- I was almost touched by -- by Father Death.
EMILY: That's Father Time, Bob. It's Old Man Death.
BOB: No, it's Old Man River.
EMILY: Are you sure?
BOB: Well, whoever he was, Emily, I felt icy fingers up and down my spine.
EMILY: That's old black magic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He's one of my all-time favorite people. He's Bob Newhart. His book is "I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This, and Other Things That Strike Me as Funny." He'll be co-starring in the Librarian Return of King Solomon's Mines on TNT.
BOB NEWHART: AUTHOR OF "I SHOULDN'T BE DOING THIS, AND OTHER THINGS THAT STRIKE ME AS FUNNY": We shot it last August in Cape Town, South Africa. It was incredible.
KING: What a place.
NEWHART: My wife and I, and then we went on safari. KING: Anyway, Bob Newhart is with us. He won the Mark Twain Prize. You can't get better than that. That's for humor in America. And I don't think anyone has ever been funnier.
What took so long to write this? Why now? Why didn't you do it 20 years ago?
NEWHART: I just kept putting it off and putting it off. And then, finally realized that I was going to have to trick myself into doing it.
KING: So how did you do that?
NEWHART: So I agreed to write a book.
KING: You signed the dotted line?
NEWHART: And then, I had a deadline. And I worked with a collaborator, Josh Young. And I would meet with him for three hours. And I knew we were going to have to talk about something. So two or three days before, I'd start thinking about, well, what are we going to talk about?
KING: Do you call it a memoir?
NEWHART: No, I don't call it a -- memoirs are for Marquis de Sade and Geishas. They write memoirs. I don't know what you call it. It's just...
KING: A biographical sketch, in a sense?
NEWHART: Yes. It's -- the one thing I found that amazed me about the book was that I had the perseverance that I had. I didn't know I had that kind of perseverance. I decided to leave accounting in 1956 and find out if I could make a living, not as a stand-up comic in comedy.
KING: What did you did you want to do when you left accounting? Did you have a goal? You said comedy. To do what?
NEWHART: I didn't know. But I had to find out. I had to -- I...
KING: Did you know you were funny?
NEWHART: Yes. People kept telling me I was funny. And I knew I thought differently. And Larry Gelbart (ph) calls -- I mean it's looking at life through a different lenses. So I knew I was looking at life through a different lens. But it's something I had to find out whether...
KING: So what did do you? Where did you go?
NEWHART: Another guy and I, we started -- when I was an accountant, I would be bored silly. So at the end of the day, I would call him. And we would do poor-men Bob and Ray routines. And so a friend of ours said that they thought they were funny. So he put up the money and we sent them out to 100 radio stations, these routines that he and I did over the phone.
And three stations called back and said they wanted it. And they said how much do you want for it? And Ed and I put our heads together. And we said $7.50 a week per station for five nights of comedy routine.
So we did it for 13 weeks. And found out it cost us money. It cost us -- we got $22.50 a week. And it cost us about 40 bucks a week to actually do the program with stamps and postage.
KING: How do you, then, eventually come to the button-down mind, the hungry eye Bob Newhart, a best -- an album that outsold Sinatra's.
NEWHART: Yes, he wasn't too thrilled about that.
KING: Knowing Frank, no.
NEWHART: Knowing frank, no. I met a disk jockey in Chicago, Dan Sorta (ph), who was a big disk jockey in Chicago. He was like Shepherd (ph) and those kinds of guys. And he thought I was funny. So the Warner Brother record people were coming through Chicago. And he said I have this friend of mine I think is funny. And so they said, well, we'll listen to some of his stuff. So he called me up. And he said put some of your stuff down on tape and I'll play it for them.
So I did. I brought a tape recorder and took it down and Dan played it for them. And they said, OK, great, we'll record you at your next nightclub. And I said, well, Steve, we're going to have a problem there because I've never played a nightclub. So they put me into a nightclub.
And I had two weeks to get the album together. I had half the album. I had -- I had Abe Lincoln. I had the driving instructor. And I had submarine commander. So.
KING: I know them all by heart. Good.
NEWHART: Well, I was there for two weeks. I was the opening act for Ken and Mitzy Welch, who wound up writing special material for Carol Burnett. So I had to write the other side of the album. So I would go to their room after each show. And I would say is this funny? And I'd do for them the Wright Brothers. And they'd say, yes, that's funny. Do that tomorrow night. Then, I would do Abner Doubleday. And they'd say, yes, try that tomorrow night. That's funny.
KING: The baseball bits.
NEWHART: The baseball routine. So one night, I was out there. I did 18 minute. That's what I had. And I came off. And I walked by the matre-de and he said go back out, they're still applauding. I said but that's all have I. He said, we'll, they're applauding. Go back out. So ignorance is bliss. So I walked out and I said which one would you like to hear again?
KING: What a career you've had, from stand-up to -- how many successful sitcoms did you have?
NEWHART: Three really.
KING: Three major success sitcoms.
NEWHART: Well, one was -- the first one was in '61. That was for NBC. And I got a Peabody, an Emmy, and a pink slip from NBC, all in the same year. So -- but it was critically acclaimed. And then, had I had the Bob Newhart Show and Newhart. So three.
KING: Bob Newhart is our guest. The book is "I Shouldn't Even be Doing This and Other Things That Strike Me as Funny." He's an extraordinarily American wit.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB: Three days in New York, the most dynamic city in the world, brushing elbows with many some of the great writers of our time. Exciting can't begin to describe the feelings I'm feeling.
MALE: What does?
BOB: Real excited?
FEMALE: That's why we're leaving tonight. We want to have a free day just to enjoy the city again.
BOB: Now, would either of you want anything from New York?
FEMALE: No, thank you.
MALE: I'd like a hammer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB: We're leave Chicago and moving to Oregon. And Oregon is going to be our home.
HOWARD: Oh, OK, let me get this straight. You're giving up your practice. You're moving out of the building. And you're moving to Oregon. And I won't be your neighbor any more, right?
BOB: That's about it, Howard.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We're back with Bob Newhart. What a story. What a life. I wish we had all hour to do it. But the book is extraordinary, "I Shouldn't Even be Doing This and Other Things that Strike Me as Funny." He's had an extraordinary career.
And you still go out and do gigs, right?
NEWHART: I still do. Well, this year, I'll do about 32 stand- ups.
KING: All right, how do you explain your humor? What do you -- what are you doing?
NEWHART: Well, I think of myself as the last sane man left in America. And my job is to go to people and say this is crazy. I mean, you know, this is crazy, right? And then, they say, yes, we know it's crazy. But that's the way we do it.
KING: That's your role.
NEWHART: That's my role, is to point out what I think is crazy out there.
KING: And the little stuttering routine?
KING: Stammering. Was that always part of the stik?
NEWHART: Yes, I did...
KING: Did you stammer as an accountant?
NEWAHRT: Yes, as a kid. And I'm stammering now. I didn't survey comedy and say, oh, look, there's no one stammering out there. Hey, there's a whole new field.
KING: The sitcoms came naturally to you? You did you like acting? You've been in movies.
NEWHART: Well, you know, comedians are actors. You know? I mean, we're always watching people. We're always...
KING: You're observers?
NEWHART: Yes, and making little Mental notes -- Oh, I've got to remember that.
Brando once said about actors, he said, if you want to be an actor, watch candid camera. Just watch real people. Watch them being real. And see what it takes to be real.
KING: You gave up some sitcoms when they were very popular, right?
NEWHART: I left "The Bob Newhart Show" after six years, yes. CBS wanted another year. And I left Newhart after eight years. And CBS wanted a ninth year.
NEWHART: Because I didn't want to limp off. I was very proud of them. I didn't know if we had another year left in them. I'd seen series that stayed on a year too long. And I didn't want that to happen to "The Bob Newhart Show" or "Newhart."
KING: Scripts are hard to come by, right?
NEWHART: Good writing is hard to come by, yes.
KING: Did you participate in the writing of the Newhart shows?
NEWHART: Somewhat. But, no, I kind of left it up to the writers. I mean, they were good. And if they're good, you let them -- I would say there was one time -- I told the story in the book -- when they first approached me to do "The Bob Newhart Show, I didn't want to be -- I didn't want to choke. That wasn't the kind of show I wanted to do where daddy is a dolt and he keeps getting himself in scrapes, and then the wife and the kids get together and huddle and say how do we get daddy out of this.
So I said I don't want to have kids. They said OK. So in the sixth year, they wrote a script where Suzanne is pregnant. And they gave me the script Friday night. And I took it home and read it Sunday. And the producer called Sunday night. He said how did you like the script? I said very funny. He said, oh, you think it's funny? I said it's a very funny script. Who are you going to get to play Bob? That wasn't the show I wanted to do.
KING: How is Suzanne, by the way?
NEWAHRT: I talked to her the other day. I think they caught it early. And [knocking on wood] if anybody's going to beat it, it's going to be her.
KING: If ever there were two disparate characters to be friends, it's you and Rickles.
NEWAHRT: Rickles and I.
KING: You know, I'm very close to Don too. And how do you explain it? You're nothing alike, nothing.
NEWHART: I don't know. We just have a great time. He breaks me up. I break him up and...
KING: And it's great. You cruise together. You vacation together.
NEWHART: We went to the Mediterranean. We went to Southeast Asia, which was incredible. We went to Munich. We -- Venice is probably our favorite city. We've done that three or four times.
KING: Do you still like stand-up? NEWHART: Yes. I can't imagine not doing it. I just -- it would be...
KING: Walking out on the cold stage. There's three thousand people. Make me laugh.
KING: Do you have them before you go out?
NEWHART: Well, after this many years, there's a kind of affection. But there's always that chance it may not work, that's there's always a chance a bullet could be in the chamber. And you never know until you get out there.
KING: Do you ever have nights --?
NEWHART: I guess I like -- that's why I keep going back.
KING: Do you ever have nights where it doesn't always work?
NEWHART: Oh, sure, sure.
KING: Yeah? You're your own critic of that, right?
NEWHART: I know, when I was first starting out, I played the Windsor Casino in Windsor, Canada. No record, I didn't have a record out or anything. And I died every night two shows a night for a week.
NEWHART: Nothing. I mean, they weren't rude. They just didn't look up. I just -- I did my -- and I had -- I did 18 minutes. One night I was out there and I'm dying again. So I did 14 minutes and I walk off. And I walked by the girls dressing room. They had a line of girls -- and the girls went, oh, he's off. So they start getting dressed. So the manager was German. You have to do 18 minutes. I said but I don't -- I did 14 minutes and I don't have anything stronger coming up. You have the girls need 18 minutes to change. So I went out and did 18 minutes.
KING: Robert, thanks. Bob Newhart the book "I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This And Other Things That Strike Me As Funny." A genuine American classic hero, one of my heroes.
We'll be right back.
KING: Now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE.
William Cope Moyers, his new book is "Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption." There you see its cover. Co-authored with Katherine Ketcham. He is vice president for external fairs at the Hazelden Foundation, former journalist who used to work at a place called CNN. He's also, the son of, of course, of Bill Moyers.
Why did you write "Broken"?
WILLIAM COPE MOYERS, AUTHOR, "BROKEN": Well, you know, Larry, I've been telling my story for 10 years at the Hazelden Foundation, it's a story of hope. And I'm a recovering alcoholic and an addict. So I carry the message. I told the story in the book form this time because I've been telling it for 10 years, reaching out to people, and just thought it was time to try to put it into a book. And try and reach more people.
KING: You were drinking when you worked at CNN, right?
MOYERS: I was sober, in and out, Larry, from '92 to '95 and actually relapsed while at CNN in October of '94. And didn't show up for work one day. That's not very good when you're a 24-hour news station, not to show up for work. So yes I had my struggles while working at CNN.
KING: Was, Bill, your father and your mother always aware of this?
MOYERS: My parents became aware of my addiction back in '89 when I first hit bottom, Larry. I hit bottom in a crack house in Harlem, New York. My parents had no idea, very few parents ever know -- until they know, that their oldest son was an alcoholic and an addict. So I went to treatment at Hazelden in '89. And then went to treatment three more times before finally in '94 while working at CNN, I realized I'd better get myself together here.
KING: Is "broken" an apt word?
MOYERS: It is, you know, Larry, I'm broken, I'm not fixed. I'm healing. That's the point. All these years later, 12 years into my recovery, I'm broken, I'm broken open. I'm flawed, I'm human. And that's OK. From that experience of being flawed and being human, I can begin to recover. So it as appropriate word.
Addiction is a disease that is not curable. It has a solution. The solution is recover and part of that recovery includes recognizing that I have flaws and I am human.
KING: Do you know after 12 years why you drank?
MOYERS: Larry, I had -- it's a good question. People ask me that all the time. I have a disease with origins in the brain, alcoholism is a genetic illness. And it also is fed by a hole in the soul. So I had a brain that processed alcohol and other drugs differently than most everybody else. And I had a hole in the soul that sort of longed to be better than my father, better to be -- better than human. That's of course, impossible. So I think you know, for all of those reasons, genetic and hole in the soul, I drank to sort of medicate.
KING: Tough, being -- part of it being Bill Moyers' son?
MOYERS: Part of it, yes, part of it being my experience is the son of Bill Moyers and Judith Moyers, a mother who loves me unconditionally, never gave in, and always was with me. I think that fed it. But that's not why I'm an alcoholic and an addict, any more that that's why I'm in recovery.
Whether I'm a son of Bill and Judith Moyers, or whether I don't have a father or mother at all. Addiction is like a lint brush it, it sort of rolls right through you and picks stuff up as it goes. In my case it, picked the up the fact that I was the son of two parents who loved me unconditionally, I lacked for nothing growing up, but as I said my brain processed the alcohol and the drugs differently.
KING: Brothers and sisters?
MOYERS: Nobody's got the problem, just me.
KING: You have them, but they don't have the problem?
MOYERS: I have a brother and sister and they're not addicted.
KING: Why devote you life to it? Why Hazelden? Why not go back into journalism?
MOYERS: I think I like to help people. I've learned over the last 10 years, working at the Hazelden Foundation that I can help people by sharing my story, in public, at Rotary Clubs, in the news media, in churches, wherever. I try to put a -- an unmask the stigma, if you will, to try to put an accurate face, not just on addiction, but on recovery. I like journalism but I love doing what I'm doing.
KING: Why is it important for the alcoholic to go to AA, to constantly say I am an alcoholic, to confess daily?
MOYERS: Because addiction is an illness that has no cure, it has a solution, and the solution is recovery. I'm the product of four treatments, Larry, but it's not my treatment that keeps me sober, it's my recovery.
For people like us, we have to go to our recovery meetings, we have to connect with our higher power, we have to be able to admit we're an alcoholic and addict, because from that admission comes great strength and great commitment. I've been sober for 12 years, but I've still got the illness of addiction. And if I don't take care of it -- .
KING: Do you desire it?
MOYERS: No, I don't desire it. That's interesting.
KING: If you pass a bar and hear the clinking glass?
MOYERS: Oh, yeah, I ate last dinner in a restaurant, I sat at the bar so I could watch a game. I don't anymore than I desire putting a loaded gun in my mouth. It just is not an option for me. That doesn't mean that I ignore it. I have to be vigilant. I never forget, Larry, how bad it was, and I never forget how good my life is, no matter how hard my life is. KING: Are there moments you want to drink?
MOYERS: Not really. Every now and then I feel sort of uncomfortable in my own skin. Sometimes this hole in my soul, as I talk about in my book, sort of throbs. And I sometimes think about maybe medicating it. But I don't. My life is good, as hard as it is. The only thing more difficult than living life sober is living life drunk. I'm a sober guy. But I've still got to live life on life's terms.
KING: Was it hard to write, kind of a catharsis?
MOYERS: It was tough to write. That's why I have a collaborator, Katherine Ketcham, who helped me with this. Because my own head is a very dangerous place for me to go, and to get down into myself, I had to write, not up here, but down here.
My fathers letters are very prominent in the book, there are roughly 12 letters that my father had written to me over the course of my life, that really I think sort of tie the book together, the journey together. But it was a hard book. Even talking to you about it right now, I feel a grip in my throat about the anguish, the pain, the hurt that I caused a lot of people. Addiction is an illness that affects much more than just a person who has it, it affects all those people around them.
KING: Do you have a family?
MOYERS: I do have a wife, Alison, who is been sober for 17 years, and three children, Henry, Thomas and Nancy.
KING: She was an alcoholic, too?
MOYERS: She was. We're both in recovery. But we're no dummies, our children are genetically predisposed. And while they still have not experimented we tell them that they're at risk.
KING: You got to think about that a lot.
MOYERS: Think about it all the time. Particularly in the culture that we live in today. You know, my children have never seen Alison and I serve alcohol in the home because we don't. Yet they know all the commercials for beer because they watch football games on Sundays.
KING: Thanks, Bill. Best to your dad.
MOYERS: Thank you very much, Larry.
KING: William Cope Moyers, the book is "Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption", a very important work. We'll be right back.
KING: Now a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Tom Delonge best known as the guitar player and vocalist in the band Blink 182. He recently formed a new alternative rock band called Angels & Airwaves. Their new album is "We Don't Need To Whisper."
I have it in right front of me. And you see it on the screen.
What -- Blink 182, how did that happen?
TOM DELONGE, GUITARIST, VOCALIST, ANGELS & AIRWAVES: I guess a lot, like most bands do, you're with a bunch of friends when you're a kid and you have a dream of not having a real job. We get together and we're skating around and come up with the name Blink. And we play in a garage, and the next thing you know, we were trying to make each other laugh and the songs actually got kind of good, and we're doing it in front of 20,000 people a night and wondering what happened.
KING: Anything behind Blink 182?
DELONGE: Well, it was just Blink, and there's a band named Blink from Ireland. And so we were either going to face a lawsuit for the name, or just change it a little bit. So we added a number. And the number meant nothing, but kids, you know, had a lot of fun trying to figure out what it was.
KING: You all grew up where?
DELONGE: In San Diego.
KING: And you play guitar and -- well, you're the lead singer. You were the lead singer for Blink 182.
DELONGE: I started the band.
KING: Your interest in music started early?
DELONGE: Yeah, it did. My parents really weren't into music though. My mom listened to a lot of gospel kind of stuff. And my dad only listened to talk radio. I kind of found it to be an escape, I guess. I would just lock myself in my room. I remember at one time, my dad came in, I had like this thing on my hair. I was dyeing it purple, jamming on an electric guitar, and he just about lost his lid, you know. That's pretty much what it was. He would come in and say, you know, play something different, you know?
KING: Are you first a singer who plays a guitar, or a guitarist who sings?
DELONGE: First a singer. I always realized that I can either focus all my attention on being the best guitar player, or the best singer. But if I knew both, you know, I could probably go a lot further. To me the guitar is a vehicle to carry a message. So, I always concentrated on that.
KING: Do you write from San Diego proper.
DELONGE: Yeah, San Diego born and raised, still live there.
KING: And what happened to Blink 182? DELONGE: Well, I think when you're in a band, it's just as much of a business as it is a family. And when I start the band, when I was 16 years old. And now I'm 30. You do a lot of changing between those years.
And when I look back at it, in hindsight, I think the three of us were just completely different people, with different priorities. But, you know, it was an incredible learning experience and an incredible time for myself. I think just having families and knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life it, really makes you kind of really look at things through a different kind of prism.
KING: Was it a sad breakup?
DELONGE: Yeah, it was a real -- it was a tough time. I didn't want the band to end, and I didn't want anything other than that band to be the biggest band in the world. But it became really apparent to me that first and foremost, I needed to be a certain type of father and a husband, to my family, and I wasn't able to do it in that situation.
So I'm a guy that works like -- I work off being able to see things, you know? And I couldn't see that happening any more. But I saw something really special happening in a new life, in the next part of my life. That's when Angels & Airwaves happened.
KING: We'll get to that in a minute. Were you married young?
DELONGE: I got married -- well, I've been with my wife since I was 21, and got married when I was 26. I guess, kind of, I've been married since I was 21 it seems like.
KING: Two children?
DELONGE: I have two children. I have a four-year-old daughter and a five-week old boy.
KING: Does the daughter see you work?
DELONGE: Yes. We put the studio in my house and she runs in and she tackles me as I'm doing guitar tracks. I'm like, stop! I'm trying to play in time. It doesn't matter.
KING: You're interested in things other than music?
DELONGE: Lots of things.
KING: Lou Dobbs was here and you were talking about reading him, and watching him. You're -- so you expand?
DELONGE: I do. I consider myself, you know, a humble student of the world. You know, I didn't go to college. I went to a couple semesters of junior college. But I got really heavily involved in wanting to understand the workings of the world. And wanting my band to change the world. You know, so I had to figure out how to do both really well and I don't know if I'm doing that. KING: OK, how do you start up a new band? What do you do?
DELONGE: First thing I did was set out really strong list of parameters that I had to have a fit into what I wanted to do. I had to make sure I did it with people that understood that family and friendship and respect and all those things come first.
Number two, all of them have to have the same goal as myself. This band has to be larger than life, not for fame, not for money, but to change the way people think. Because at the time, you know, the war was going on, the economy sucked, and all these things were really negative. I so bad wanted to redefine.
KING: Make a statement.
DELONGE: Make a statement, but redefine America. I thought no one could put up a flag. I was traveling around Europe and all these people wanted to argue with me about our foreign policy. And I so bad wanted the next generation of kids to know they can define America any way they want.
KING: So how did you -- how many -- did you say it has to be three pieces or four pieces. Or could it have been five?
DELONGE: It could have been anything. It just had to feel right.
KING: How many are in it?
DELONGE: There's four of us.
KING: How do you find people? It's you're a band, right?
DELONGE: Yes, it's my band. Actually, you know, I had people calling me from bands that sold millions of records. It couldn't be this thing that seemed like it was a contrived marketing tool. So, I formed it the same way I formed my first band, through friends and mutual friends.
KING: All in San Diego, too?
DELONGE: Yeah, actually. Well, one guy lives un LA, but he's from San Diego.
KING: Why did you name it Angels & Airwaves?
DELONGE: I've mixed up basically our intentions, like a noble idea of what we wanted the band to do, and the platform, which we were going to use, you know, the airwaves. And then we would take a logo, it was AVA, which is like an upside down A for a V, which is my daughter's name, Ava. So she became the muse for the project, because she was the reason that I quit in the first place.
KING: Then what do you do? Well, you were known, right?
DELONGE: Yes. KING: You were known from the first band and you're a well-known name in the rock world. You go in and record first? Do you get a contract first?
DELONGE: I was already under contract. We went in the studio, most bands write their songs and they go and record them. I looked at the studio as an experiment where we would close all the blinds. And we would put up imagery from Stephen Ambrose books, of World War II everywhere. And then I put up big flat screen, like these Stanley Kubrick science fiction movies.
So, then you'd have this juxtaposition between like the most hatred or the worst that the world can offer, but this endless hope, you know, of a human imagination, you know, of the future what it could be like.
And then right in the middle, we would write a love song. Then you have this love song that contains these polar opposites.
KING: All this without a contract?
DELONGE: Well, I was under contract, but no one knew it was. I could have very easily gone in there and --
KING: So, it's the same company that did the first band?
DELONGE: Yeah, Geffen Records, that's who I was a part of.
KING: David Geffen?
KING: Not bad.
DELONGE: Not bad.
KING: We'll be right back with Tom Delonge. Also, at the end of the next segment, you're going to hear the band and him sing. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Tom Delonge of Angels & Airwaves. The new CD, they're first CD is "We Don't Need To Whisper" All songs have a war emphasis?
DELONGE: Well, it's basically -- the record is a metaphor about the breakup of my last band, about a person finding himself in a situation that he didn't see coming. And it was a negative one. And finding the light on the way out.
So, I wrote a record that spelled out a story about that same thing, but using the idea of the conflict of love and war. And but the war is more of a personal struggle, but I really referenced World War II because to me that was the last time a war happened, that wasn't so controversial, in the sense we knew why we were there.
KING: We all supported it.
DELONGE: Yeah, we all supported it.
KING: Is it doing well?
DELONGE: It's doing really well. It's only been out a few months. We've had as many nominations and awards as I had in my whole career with my other band.
KING: A lot of airplay?
DELONGE: A lot of airplay.
KING: Geffin people are happy?
DELONGE: Every one is happy, yeah.
KING: You write all the songs?
DELONGE: I sure do.
KING: Do you write all the time?
DELONGE: Always. Yeah, I assure you, I write -- I play guitar all day long and whenever I'm out somewhere I'm soaking up --
KING: You supported John Kerry, right? You were involved.
DELONGE: No. That's a good story. Actually, I was up really late, it was like 2:00 in the morning somewhere. And I was probably drinking a little bit, after a show and I'm sitting in a hotel. And this guy comes on, and starts -- he has a speech. It was amazing it speech about foreign policy and national security. I'm going this guy needs to be president.
I went back and researched and it was John Kerry. He wasn't running yet. He didn't announce he was going to run. I put this huge big collage on the wall in the studio so MTV and all these people would come in, and they go who is this guy. And I'm going, he needs to be president. He announced he's going to run. I called up and I said, hey, I know who this guys is, I want to help out. I went to Iowa, and he was last on the list to win Iowa. A week later when I left out of that motor home, with his stepson, Chris Heinz we became good friends, and he was winning.
KING: Are you going to get involved in 2008?
DELONGE: How could I not, is how I look at it. The thing that really makes me frustrated is everybody's pretending as though you're either blue, or you're red. And anybody that says they're either one is just so naive to me.
KING: Is your band touring?
DELONGE: Yes, we leave in a few days and we'll be touring all for the rest of the year.
KING: Do you like that?
DELONGE: It's fun and it's an escape.
KING: But it takes you away from your family.
DELONGE: That's the hardest thing. That's one of the reasons this works well, is because I'm able to set my own schedule. When you're on tour, it's not reality, because you're in these cities for one night and then you move. That's one of the greatest things about being in a band. Because you can run around and act like you're 16 for the rest of your life, and you can break things and throw food all over the dressing room.
KING: Do you do songs from Blink or not?
DELONGE: No, I don't. But kind of, in the sense where I'll make little references to them throughout the set. No, I don't run from my past.
KING: Are they all working, those two others from Blink?
DELONGE: Yes, they are. They have a band together. It's different from what I'm doing, I guess, in the sense, like musically it's different. And probably what they want to set out to do, you know, I think mine's -- I have much more of a spiritual kind of thing with what I'm doing.
KING: For more information, by the way about the band, and or to check out their tour dates, next month, you go to Angelsandairwaves, all one word, angelsandairwaves.com.
In a moment we'll hear Tom perform one of the songs from the album, "Distraction." What's behind this song?
DELONGE: It's the second song on the record and it spells out being in a city and these planes are coming in and bombs are dropping all around you. I was looking at this photo, it might are have been from Dresden, or something, I don't know. It was the most horrific photo I've ever seen, a city burning, concrete melting. It's a haunting image.
I was thinking about holding my daughter. What would you do if that is happening to you whether it's in Iraq now, or back then, and you were somewhere in Europe. And you're trying to tell a toddler, that these deafening explosions are nothing. So to me it was being in the middle of that situation and finding your way out. KING: By the way to hear this song, "Distraction" in its entirety, you can download it off i-Tunes and all proceeds will go toward the 9/11 fund.
Thank you, Tom. Best of luck.
DELONGE: Thank you very much.
KING: We'll be following your career and we'll see you in the 2008 election. Tom Delonge, the album is "Angels & Airwaves." That's the album is called "We Don't Need To Whisper". The group is Angels and Airwaves. And here's Tom from the album with "Distraction".
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