Fans of blink-182 had plenty of reasons to wonder if the band would ever play together again after 2005 found the band splitting in two, with guitarist Tom DeLonge forming Angels and Airwaves and bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker forming +44.
But a series of tragic events in 2008, including the death of longtime producer Jerry Finn and the plane crash Barker barely survived, found the group speaking again. The group reunited in late 2009, and has been on a tear since. The band's brand new album, Neighborhoods, sees release today.
Mark Hoppus spoke with Up on the Sun about the new record, the band's future, blink's unlikely emergence as pop-punk elder-statesmen.
blink-182 is scheduled to perform with AZ Fall Frenzy with Halocene, Matt & Kim, and Jimmy Eat World on Friday, September 30, at Tempe Beach Park.
Up on the Sun: How have you been enjoying the reunion shows?
Mark Hoppus: The shows have been great. They've been really fun. It's super rad to be able to go out and play new songs; the crowds have been amazing. It's really cool right now, because at the shows right now, there are people that have been following Blink since day one, who are bringing their kids to the shows, there's people who have just found out about Blink, there are people who never got a chance to see us before the break. It's kind of a multi-generational thing right now.
That must feel kind of insane?
Yeah, it's really humbling that after this long [we] have this kind of a turnout at the shows.
Was there any worry getting back together that people weren't going to show?
When we did our first tour after the reunion of the band, we didn't know what to expect. We hadn't played music in a very long time, and that was our biggest tour ever. So...it's awesome. I don't know what else to say about.
So how is the new record sounding?
It's kind of all over the place. Some of it sounds like nothing we've ever done before; some of it sounds like old school blink; some of it sounds like stuff from the last record. All of our different side projects that we've worked on play into it as well. All the knowledge we've gained from everything we've done from 20 years in being in bands.
"Up All Night" seems to reflect that. I feel like listening to that song reflects the history of Blink. I hear bits of all the records.
Thank you. That's what we thought, too. It kind of has elements of everything that this record is about, and what we've done in the past, and it's a good bridge.
I feel like a lot of bands, when they get back together don't bother to even put out new records, like Pavement or The Pixies, but it doesn't come across like you guys doing this just to tour and make cash.
I don't think we could do that. Just going back to touring forever playing the same songs, is not something we want to do. Obviously we're going to play the old songs for the rest of our lives, but we always want to be creating new stuff and staying fresh, as well. I think if you were touring just to make a bunch of money it would get old and boring.
I always got the sense that you guys were genuinely having fun. The three of you had a blast onstage and hanging out together.
We do. That's absolutely true. We always said we would do blink as long as it was fun, and luckily, it's still fun. If it wasn't fun -- well, it wasn't fun for awhile, and that's why we broke up the band -- [but] as long as we're having fun we're going to keep doing blink forever.
You got back together a few years ago. Was it difficult to pick up where you left off? There were things said during the break that made people question think you guys would ever get back together.
Uh, yeah. When we were broken up, we were not kind to one another. But we're dudes, I mean, once we got back together in a room, talked on the phone, it was like, 'Yo, we cool? Everything cool? Yeah, I'm good. Alright, cool.' We didn't really even have to talk about [it] really, the stuff that went on during the break. We talked about it in general terms, but there wasn't like...there wasn't a weirdness at all. It felt like home.
It seems that way from the live footage I've seen.
We only do this because we like it. We are very, very, lucky that we don't have to do this band as a job. I've never viewed this band as a job. This is something I've always done-- since day one--just because it was something fun and creative and I like doing it.
Is there a future for + 44?
Yeah, there's definitely a future for + 44. We're obviously not working on anything right now. Blink is my number one priority, and my TV show on Fuse[Hoppus on Music], and my family. But I would love to make another record.
You've championed a lot of bands on your show. Does it ever feel weird introducing bands that you could tell were influenced by blink-182. Do you pick up on that?
Oh, yeah. A band like All Time Low, who I'm actually friends with, they straight up say that they started off as a blink cover band, but that doesn't feel weird. It feels cool that there are bands out there that are doing well that we've influenced. I just want All Time Low to pay me royalties [laughs].
That's a meeting you should have with those guys.
You've championed Best Coast, and Wavves, who have in the past couple years really acknowledged the influence of Blink.
For sure. I definitely feel that. When we first started out, we were written off by everybody. Everybody. We were the joke band. We were "What's My Age Again," we were the guys running around naked, the guys who said curse words onstage and acted like idiots. And all the people that originally liked blink were the outcasts, and the weirdos at their school; somehow all the weirdos and outcasts have grown up and taken over. It feels good that after 20 years of playing music, people are realizing that we try and write the best songs we can, but that we also don't care about making a joke out ourselves as well.
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You guys are taking yourselves too seriously?
There's no joke songs on the record, but we go out and play shows every night, and Tom can't shut his mouth. We take our music as seriously as possible, but at the same time we like to have fun. If we want to do something lame, we'll do it an not second guess ourselves.