With the recent news of unrest in the Blink-182 camp, Already Heard Senior Editor and longtime fan Sean Reid explains why now is the best time for the pop punk legends to call it a day.
For the best part of thirteen years I’ve held Blink-182 in high regard. During my mid to late teen years, they were my favourite band. They were the first band that I went out of my way to buy every album; I once spent £18 on a Australian import version of ‘The Mark, Tom and Travis Show’ because, at the time, it was a limited edition release on these shores. I remember playing ‘Take Off Your Pants and Jacket’ and ‘Untitled’ to death on my stereo. They were also the first band I ever saw live (on February 10th 2004 at Nottingham Arena) and, like many, I was in shock when they went on “indefinite hiatus” a year later.
In the years that followed, I paid close attention to the bassist Mark Hoppus’ and drummer Travis Barker’s new band +44 and I gullibly fell for Tom DeLonge’s proclamation that his new band, Angels and Airwaves would change the music world; it didn’t and still hasn’t.
Nevertheless I was over the moon to hear the trio would be reforming in February of 2009, yet 5 years on I’ve had my fill of Blink-182 and I think its time to put this once great band to rest.
Their “comeback” album suffered greatly. First of all the making of the album was pushed back due to touring demands with DeLonge’s continuing involvement with Angels and Airwaves being a factor. Whilst the decision to self-produce the album in separate studios didn’t help matters, and when ‘Neighborhoods’ finally arrived in September of 2011, the end result was a disjointed record that lacked consistency. Sure it was admirable that the trio, to an extent, picked up where they left off and not opted for the nostalgic route of uptempo, power chord songs of teenage lust. Nevertheless in hindsight ‘Neighborhoods’ wasn’t Blink-182 at their finest.
Blink-182 – O2 Academy Brixton, London – 08/08/2014. Photos by Connie Taylor Photography.
In a live setting, the results were mixed. At Leeds Festival in 2010, they delivered a boisterous set of fan favourites and hit singles yet 4 years later at the same festival, their act prove to be tiresome with DeLonge especially going through the motions. Their performance was messy, at times incoherent and simply disappointing. It was at this point that I realised Blink-182 aren’t the band I once loved.
So with the news of the fragmented relationship between DeLonge and Hoppus and Barker, it is time for all those involved to cut their losses and move on to other projects. This is something DeLonge has done and I don’t blame him. Why spend your time doing something you’re simply not interested in? Last year’s Leeds Festival performance showed he doesn’t care. Sure it’s a good payday but when you’re in your 40’s and you’re having to sing about fucking dogs in the arse and perform scripted dick jokes, you have to question yourself. If your heart isn’t in what you are doing, then why bother?
As for Hoppus and Barker, their persistence that Blink-182 should (and needs to) continue isn’t right. For me, and I’m sure many others, Blink-182 has to be Mark, Travis and Tom and no one else. The thought of Hoppus and Barker roping anyone that is noteworthy in the coming months and years just to continue the band’s “legacy” comes off as desperate. How many times have we seen “influential” bands reform with different members just to squeeze out a last penny of that cash cow? The answer is plenty of times and it’s sad to see each and every time. I don’t want to see Mark and Travis with whoever on guitar in their 50’s playing ‘Take Off Your Pants and Jacket’ for its 20th anniversary in front of a disappointed crowd for a pay day. It’s simply a sad thought that would probably spoil my teenage memories.
If Blink-182 is to go on without Tom DeLonge, they would become a shadow of their former selves and would tarnish their reputation along the way. It’s sad to see the bands inner tensions become public knowledge but whatever happens in the coming weeks and months, it’s for the best. Like a destructive divorce, the fall out of the trio’s arguments will be messy and fans won’t want to hear all the details, yet in this day and age of mass social media and widespread “clickbait” press it is inevitable.
As a longtime fan, I can’t blame DeLonge for wanting to focus on other projects. Blink-182 just isn’t the band they once were and he clearly realises this. Whilst Travis Barker’s questioning their 2009 reformation is thought provoking. Should of they have even reformed in the first place? I have no doubt that the financial gain was a key motive but it is clear the scars of their fall out from 10 years ago are still there, and now years of pent up frustration has been made public. It’s not good to hear but why should they continue if they can’t get along? It’s simple – they shouldn’t. There is simply no point dragging along this limping horse, just put it out of its misery and call it a day.
All good things must come to an end and for Blink-182 now is the time to end. Otherwise we have a fragmented band who are clutching at straws to keep their reputation in tact, and no one wants to see that.
Words by Already Heard Founder & Senior Editor Sean Reid. You can follow Sean on Twitter: @SeanReid86.