It happened again. This time, however, it officially seems like the end of an era. Blink-182 is caught in a hellacious battle of words forcing fans to view the band in a new light—a light the trio of Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker are probably not accustomed to. By now, many music fans know about the rift between these old friends, and the back-and-forth attacks they’ve been launching on one another do not seem likely to end any time soon.
On one side there is Tom DeLonge, the charismatic front man with his unique sounding vocals and undeniable craftsmanship for creating catchy hooks. DeLonge claims to have taken a hiatus from the band to pursue other ventures outside of the Blink-182 world. He has said that he has never officially quit but when you hear it from the other two in this story, the perception is markedly different. DeLonge has left Blink before. He formed the underrated Boxcar Racer in 2001 with Barker and has since created the very successful Angels & Airwaves. Ever since the latter began, Blink has never been the same. Their latest album Neighborhoods had Angels & Airwaves written all over it where it didn’t belong. He continued to push the influence of his other band on his work with Blink and it never quite came out as pure as it once did.
The other side of the coin features bassist/co-front man Mark Hoppus and quite possibly the greatest drummer alive today—Travis Barker. These two have been bashing DeLonge at every corner, citing his lack of effort, lack of passion and plain discontentment for the punk music that once influenced them. The duo claims that DeLonge quit the band via his management, similar to the way things ended during their first departure in 2005. They have plans to play a couple of shows without DeLonge at the helm to fulfill contractual obligations, but have been mum on the band’s future.
The only thing we hear these days from either camp is jealous, conniving bitching. Let’s face it, this band has not been relevant for quite some time, so this is basically the best press they’ve had in nearly half a decade. The problem is that with each bitter interview, article, comment or tweet released by one of these members, the band loses credibility. The appeal of Blink in the 90’s and early 2000’s was their camaraderie. They would take the stage and make jokes. They would star in hilarious music videos and their albums were fun. They made it all look so easy. From their album, Enema of the State in 1998 through their self-titled release, Blink-182 in 2003 they were touring the world as best friends and they were the biggest band on the planet. Now we realize that it was all a sham. The laughs, the music, the memories were all just bullshit and in reality, these three couldn’t stand to be around each other.
For fans of the band that have waited for new music, this revelation is two-fold. On one hand, we are glad we know the truth and why we haven’t received anything new since the completely forgettable Dogs Eating Dogs EP in 2012. On the other hand, we just want them to shut the fuck up about it. Stop bashing one another in the media, stop tarnishing your legacy (you have one!) and just ride off into the sunset and go your separate ways without all of this negativity.
If Blink-182 has any future with or without DeLonge, they need to move on from this squabble immediately. Music fans love a good train wreck but this has gotten out of hand in a hurry and has become rather embarrassing. DeLonge is set to release a new solo album of old Blink-182 demos, To The Stars on April 20th. What a cash grab. They couldn’t have released those tracks years ago to their fans who were salivating for new material? Release those songs for free and don’t make us have to pay for it. You’ve already made us pay enough.
For Hoppus and Barker, play the shows you are obligated to play and then reunite as your other outfit +44. Don’t try to carry on as if nothing has occurred and replace your main songwriter. Even if the shows with Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio go well, you will not find the same support as you once did. There is plenty the public now knows and plenty it doesn’t, but one thing is for certain; all three parties are to blame for this hurricane.
The three of these artists are extremely talented in their own right and they will be fine without the others. Blink-182 songs are not the same without DeLonge, Hoppus and Barker together. At this point, fans have been through so much with this band that they are numb to it. It is time for fans to wave goodbye to Blink-182, and more importantly, it is time for Blink-182 to wave goodbye to themselves.