for those of you who cant see it, i typed it up because i have no life
here ya go
Blink -182: These legendary SoCal pop-punk miscreants influenced a generation to pick up guitars and drums to make soundtracks to their own poop jokes. Just donâ€™t call it a â€œreunionâ€.
Back Together For the Kids
When it comes to having inestimable influence, Blink-182 might well be contemporary punkâ€™s version of the Beatles. Now, after a four-year hiatus, Travis Barker, Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppus are taking care of some unfinished business-gearing up for a late-summer tour, as well as a new record. The only thing they need to work on? Their friendship.
Nestled along Chandler Boulevard in North Hollywood, a nondescript building partially covered by tall shrubbery sites across from the Los Angeles Soccer Club. With no outside signage, itâ€™s easy to drive by without realizing its Opera Music, the recording studio co-owned by Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, two-thirds of newly reconstituted pop-punk royalty Blink-182. However, today is a bit different: The building is surrounded with luxury SUVs, a silver Mercedes and a vintage, white ragtop Cadillac with rims, a tricked-out interior and a Miami Vice-referencing vanity license plate. So much for being inconspicuous.
After AP rings the buzzer, studio engineer Chris Holms ushers us inside, past Barkerâ€™s all-black drumkit set up in the corner, and into a lounge. Clad in a black T-shirt emblazoned with a ubiquitous blue and red â€œFâ€ on it (the logo of Barkerâ€™s Famous Stars & Straps clothing company), 37-year-old Hoppus sits on a black couch, eager to discuss the return of his band. â€œWe honestly think of it as a continuation, not a reunion,â€ he begins, â€œbecause â€˜reunionâ€™ just has such a weird vibe to it, and thatâ€™s not how we feel about what were doing, you know? It is a continuation. We definitely had a band meltdown and took some time to figure things out and come back together in a positive way.â€
Less than a year ago, the idea of a Blink-182 reunion seemed impossible. After a 13-year career, the trio-bassist/vocalist Hoppus, drummer Barker and guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge â€“abruptly and acrimoniously dissolved on February 22, 2005, as a result of constant infighting and distrust, as well as seemingly never-ending touring and promotional schedule. Within months , both Delonge and the team of Hoppus and Barker had new projects, Angels & Airwaves and (+44) respectively. All three members will assert there was no competition between the two new groups, but others arenâ€™t so sure.
â€œIt was interesting to us to find out how bummed out Travis and Mark were about Tom splitting off,â€ says Shawn Harris, whose band, the Matches, recorded three songs with Hoppus in 2006 and opened for (+44)â€™s first tour later that year. â€œThey were really hurt at that time, and I think a lot of that went into the (+44) album. There mightâ€™ve been a tablespoon of vengeance in (+44).â€
Thatâ€™s to be expected considering Hoppus and Delonge were not only bandmates but best friends for close to 15 years. Imagine your worst breakup with a significant other, factor in fractured business relationships (HOppus and Delonge were co-owners in Atticus Clothing and Macbeth Footwear; now, neither are involved in the former and only Delonge in the latter) and then multiply it until the calculator breaks. Itâ€™s no surprise that (+44) released their first song, â€œNo, It Isnâ€™tâ€-with a chorus of, â€œThis isnâ€™t just goodbye/This is I cant stand youâ€-on Delongeâ€™s birthday; or that in one of the first pieces of press on Angels & Airwaves, Delonge was quoted as saying â€œI wouldnâ€™t want to be Mark and Travis when this record comes out.â€ ?Delonge claims he was both misquoted and â€œhyped up on pillsâ€ during that interview.)
â€œ[Tom} cutting everything off a quitting the band through our manager was just really, really hard to swallow, personally, just because weâ€™d been friends for so long,â€ Hoppus says. â€œThat really didnâ€™t sit right with me for a long time.â€
His thoughts on AVA are similar in nature. â€œI think, in all honesty, that the Angels & Airwaves stuff lacked something,â€ he says, tugging on his faux-hawk with both hands, revealing small black tattoos of his wife and childâ€™s names, one on each wrist. â€œAs creative and ambitions as Tom is, I feel like, as a fan of both our songwriting [styles], Angels & Airwaves lacked what Travis and I bring to the table. And I feel like, in a lot of ways, (+44) lacked what Tom would bring to the table.â€
At least Hoppus has listened to Angels & Airwaves; Barker says he has yet to listen to either of AVAâ€™s full-lengths. (Iâ€™ve heard the singles, [but] I wasnâ€™t really listening to that type of music, so it wasnâ€™t really run past me,â€ the drummer admits later in the day.) As time passed, the bad blood thinned out to the point when In mid-September 2008, Hoppus was planning on cold-calling Delonge out of the blue. â€œI was talking to [my] label: They wanted me to do a solo record. I was getting ready to do that and getting songs and everything together,â€ Hoppus says. â€œI wanted to call up Tom and invite him to play guitar on one of the tracks and just say, â€˜Dude, letâ€™s do like Beverly Hilles. 90210 and squash it. Iâ€™m going to do this record. I want you to come and play guitar on it.â€™â€
That phone cal never came to fruition. Instead, a week later, on September 19, 2008, Barker was involved in a horrific Learjet crash in South Carolina that killed four of the six people on board. Only Barker and musical partner Adam DJ AMâ€ Goldstein managed to escape the wreckage, each covered in second- and third-degree burns. Barker was hospitalized for nearly a month at a burn center in Augusta, Georgia. A government investigation as to the cause of the crash is still ongoing, but the leading theory, based on cockpit recordings, is a tire blowout caused by the runway accident. Due to a pending lawsuit against the private jetâ€™s owners, Goodyear and an airplane maintenance company, Barker is largely unable to comment on the events that happened that night (at multiple points during the conversation Barkerâ€™s manager, sitting on the floor of the lounge, cuts off questions deemed too legally sensitive). What he can say is he got himself through his hospitalization with â€œpositive thinking.â€ And that despite myriad surgeries, including one on his left wrist, he still plays â€œexactly the way I used to.â€
Sitting in the same spot on the studio couch were Hoppus sat earlier, Barkerâ€™s slight frame is draped in an oversized grey-and-blue shirt, with a skullcap mashing down his hair. He is incredibly soft-spoken and reflective on his lifeâ€™s recent events, and above all resonates sherr happiness at the idea of being alive. As a result, the 33-year-old drummer doesnâ€™t seem to dwell on the past. â€œI was never sitting around going, â€˜Yo, I want Blink-182 to get back togetherâ€ Barker says. â€œYou have to be friends in order to be in a band together, and at that point we werenâ€™t friends. I was so content with everything I was doing [during the hiatus].â€ He gestures to the studioâ€™s outdoor patio, indicating the location where Hoppus first brought up the idea of reuniting Blink to him and Delonge in late 2008. â€œI was just kind of cruising at that point,â€ Barker says. â€œ I was still really, really, really recovering, and it was just cool to talk to my friends again.â€ His attitude toward the impending tour-and, in theory, new album-seems to be one of the cautious optimism.
When asked if he would have any issue with Hoppus and Delonge reuniting without him, he casually replies, â€œIf it was a decision they wanted to do, I would totally do that. If they felt like touring and I didnâ€™t feel like touring, or they wanted someone else, of course.
â€œWeâ€™ll see how it is,â€ he continues. â€œIf [the reunion is] the funnest thing in the world, then Iâ€™ll continue doing it.â€
And if its not?
He begins to smirk. â€œI never do anything thatâ€™s not funâ€
An hour earlier, Hoppus expressed his enthusiasm for what Blinkâ€™s immediate future holds. â€œWeâ€™re doing something [for upcoming tour] that no band have ever been able to do before,â€ he begins. â€œWhen you buy a ticket, $20 will get you a seat. Twenty dollars. No ticketing charge, no parking charge, no service fees, nothing. Like, a $20 bill will get you into the Blink show.â€ His eyes widen with excitement, drawing attention to the crowâ€™s feet developing around them-a sign that, while Hoppusâ€™ energy level about Blinkâ€™s future might match (or even exceed) that of his fanbase, he is no longer the teen who wrote â€œM+Mâ€™sâ€ â€œWe met with the production designer the other day who did Kanye [West]â€™s tour, Daft Punkâ€™s tour and has worked with Nine Inch Nails. We really want to walk out onstage and blow peoples minds.â€
Clearly, Hoppus is expecting big things out of this reunion. When questioned about the possibility of completing the tour and not having the energy (or desire) to continue with a new album, he quickly shoots down the doubt. â€œI donâ€™t think so-I mean, I donâ€™t feel like that now, [but] talk to me in six months,â€ he says. â€œI really feel like during the tour, weâ€™re going to be doing soundchecks and playing instruments backstage and shooting ideas off of one another and weâ€™re going to come out of the tour on the other side, ready to get back into the studio and record the next album.
â€œI donâ€™t feel like there is a time schedule on [a new album],â€ he continues. â€œIf it takes us a year to write the next record, it will take a year to write the next record. I donâ€™t feel pressure to have it out by any certain time. We just want it to be great, no matter what it is or how long it takes us.â€
While Blinkâ€™ fanbase remained strong during the hiatus years and their musical influence is massively widespread (turn to p.85 to read Alex Gaskarth of All Time Lowâ€™s testimonial), many people seem to forget that the band went out on 2003â€™s untitled album, an incredibly ambitious disc that flipped the script on what Blink-182 could sound like. At any given moment, there are probably dozens of bands worldwide running through covers of â€œDammitâ€ or â€œAll The Small Thingsâ€; itâ€™s far more rare to find a group attempting â€œStockholm Syndromeâ€ or â€œobvious.â€ Granted, the untitled album went platinum, but 1999â€™s Enema Of The State sold five times as many copies. Add in an increased level of digital piracy, relatively new bands like Fall Out Boy and the All-American Rejects claiming the mainstream pop-punk mantle, and one as to wonder if Blink must have lost their pop-culture mojo-and question how they will regain it.
â€œI definitely want to push where the last album went and go further with that,â€ says Hoppus. â€œ[That] is kind of why we decided to do a tour first and the record the record, because I feel like people want to go out and see the Blink that they remember. They want to hear â€˜The Rock Show.â€™ They want to hear â€˜Stay Together For The Kids.â€™ They want to hear the songs that they know.
â€œRelevancy, I think, is in our own minds,â€ he continues. â€œIf we record this album and people like it, then thatâ€™s a success. If it sells 100,000 copies, thatâ€™s fine. If a young band come up and blow us away, theyâ€™ve probably earned it. Weâ€™ve got to stay on our toes, and weâ€™ve got to get the chops out for this tour, Weâ€™ve got to get out there and show everybody what weâ€™re all about. Itâ€™s on us.â€