The Triumphs and Tribulations of Blink-182

The ’90s and early ’00s represented the epitome of punk rock bands. Blink-182 defined the era’s genre displaying their erratic sense of energy and craziness on stage. From listening to the band’s music to seeing their performances, you would get the impression that they embraced teenage agony and ridiculous toilet jokes.

Blink 182 / Travis Barker / Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge / Blink 182
Source: Getty Images

They appeared out of the San Diego Punk-Rock scene and rose to fame. Tom DeLonge, the original vocalist-guitarist and drummer Scott Raynor founded the band in the early 1990s. With all their success and popularity, the band went through tragedies and challenges behind the scenes.

How Did the Band Come Together?

Tom DeLonge, the band’s cofounder, was expelled from his high school after he was found wasted at a basketball game. He had to transfer to Rancho Bernardo High School, where he participated in the Battle of the Bands competition.

Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Tom DeLonge pose for a portrait backstage.
Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

There, he met Scott Raynor. DeLonge became friends with Kerry Key, whose sister was dating Mark Hoppus. Hoppus and DeLonge instantly hit off and began jamming together. They started hanging out and playing music together in Raynor’s room and performed at shows wherever they could get in. They also had a few name changes before officially becoming Blink.

Getting Their First Chance

Cargo Records was at the center of the independent record labels. They gave the band a chance and signed them on a “trial basis” with the help of a friend’s father, who was president of the record label. Only Hoppus was able to sign at the time as Raynor was still a minor, and DeLonge had a separate job.

Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus, and Tom DeLonge pose for a portrait in their dressing room.
Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Their debut album was called Cheshire Cat that took them three days to write at Westbeach Records, and was released in 1995. Their first single was “M+M,” played on local radio station 91X. Cargo Records granted them a small budget to make a music video.

A Random Band Name

It wasn’t intuitive for the band to call themselves Blink-182. They gave the names “Duck Tape” and “Figure 8” chances as band names, but they soon tossed them before calling themselves Blink. The name spurred some trouble as an Irish band had the same name. In fact, the band even threatened to sue if they didn’t change it.

Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus perform on stage.
Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect/Getty Images

Cargo records ‘wasn’t interested in dealing with a lawsuit, so they contacted the band, demanding they change the name. They added a random number, 182, to the end. And there you have it, a new band name. It seems like there was nothing special about the 182.

Moving Record Labels

The band felt that Cargo didn’t believe in them and didn’t give them the support they needed. They began looking for another record label as their popularity grew. When their album Dude Ranch turned gold in 1998, they began touring nonstop. Their crazy schedule caused some disputes among the three band members.

The members of Blink 182 at the Teen Choice Awards.
Photo by SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Raynor was keen on signing with Epitaph, even though MCA offered them creative freedom. After deciding to sign with MCA, DeLonge and Hoppus fired Raynor, who was then replaced with Travis Barker. The story has it that Barker learned their whole setlist in less than an hour.

Hoppus Was Feeling Betrayed

The band saw success, appearing in movies such as American Pie and going on their first arena tour. At this time, their album, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, had gone to number one with hits like “The Rock Show” and “First Date.”

Blink 182 in American Pie.
Source: YouTube

As tensions rose among the band, DeLonge decided to expand his musical tastes into side project called Box Car Racer, where he offered Barker to play the drums. Hoppus, who wasn’t too involved, felt betrayed by the band. Supposedly, DeLonge claimed that Hoppus wasn’t isolated intentionally.

Changing the Tone

In 2003, the trio had changed their sound as DeLonge was experimenting with a heavier sound. The band members had all become fathers at this time, so a change in the band’s vibe was emerging. In November 2003, Blink-182 the album was released following a worldwide tour including Australia and Japan.

Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Travis Barker pose for a studio portrait.
Photo by Nigel Crane/Redferns/Getty Images

The band was facing a brutal schedule that strained their relationship, and fans were noticing. DeLonge, who was experiencing back pains and balancing his family life, stepped away, and their future endeavors were canceled.

An “Indefinite Hiatus”

“Indefinite Hiatus” was the coined term for the band’s disappearance. DeLonge didn’t appear in public until September 2005. Half a year had passed, and DeLonge emerged with a new project called “When Your Heart Stops Beating” that he claimed was “The Greatest rock and roll revolution for his generation.”

Tom DeLonge performs on stage.
Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images

He eventually confessed to being addicted to painkillers due to his chronic back pain. Blink-182 put out two albums later; We Don’t Need to Whisper (2006) and Empire (2007), certified gold by RIAA.

Moving into Reality-TV

Barker and Hoppus were still making music for their sideband +44 while Barker moved into the Reality TV world with his wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakley, on Meet the Barkers. The show illustrated the struggles they had as a couple, and tabloids became obsessed.

Travis Barker and Shanna Moakley arrive at an event.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Barker collaborated with Adam Goldstein and made some hip-hop remixes as well. Hoppus also decided to shift his focus to a podcast during the hiatus. He produced the notable album Commit This to Memory on Motion City Soundtracks.

Tragedies that Brought the Band Back Together

The band was silent until 2008. Jerry Finn, a friend of the band who also produced Green Day, died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Months later, Barker and Goldstein, who he had been working with, were the only two survivors of a horrendous plane crash.

The plane crash wreckage.
Source: YouTube

Barker endured massive injuries, including third-degree burns and PTSD, after being hospitalized for weeks. Goldstein’s injuries weren’t as severe, but he passed away from a drug overdose a year later. DeLonge and Hoppus rushed to the hospital, which instigated the revival of the band.

Rekindling the Fire

After the back-to-back tragic events, the band began discussing the potential of getting back together for the first time in years. DeLonge asked the guys, “So what do you guys think, where are your heads at?” and Hoppus answered, “I think we should get back on the road and back in the studio and do what we love doing.”

Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker are in the recording studio.
Source: Instagram/@tomdelonge

This was a pivotal moment for the three guys following the events; they began deep conversations about the band’s experiences and the ups and downs along the way.

The 2009 Reunion

At the 2009 Grammys, the band announced their reunion, launching a tour in North America in late 2009 and Europe for a few months in 2010. The tour included household band names, such as Fall Out Boy, All-American Rejects, All Time Low, and Panic! At the Disco.

Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Tom DeLonge speak on stage at the GRAMMY Awards.
Photo by John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

During this time, they released their album Neighborhoods without the guidance of Jerry Finn for the first time. Things didn’t turn out for the best, though. Tensions began rising as the band members were busy balancing their side projects and lacking structure to get their momentum going.

The Aftermath

They went on to do various tours, including headlining the Honda Civic Tour with my Chemical Romance in 2011. The songs from their new album didn’t reflect their classic punk-rock vibe as in the past. Songs such as “Up All Night” and “After Midnight” did alright, but the overall response was lacking, especially on the billboards.

Blink 182 poses for a publicity photoshoot.
Photo by Estevan Oriol/Getty Images

Blink-182 had plans to write an album in 2015, but it kept getting delayed. The dynamics within the band was described as contentious and lacking coherence. Commitment issues for DeLonge were a struggle.

Disengaging from the Band

DeLonge took a step back from the band and once again prioritized other projects, such as Angels and Airwaves, his company investigating UFOS, and conspiracy theories. Hoppus and Barker continued the legacy with the band without him.

Matt Skiba, Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker of Blink 182 attend an event.
Photo by Brian Gove/WireImage/Getty Images

Matt Skiba, the vocalist/guitarist for Alkaline Trio, joined the band instead since Hoppus wanted to work with him for years. He replaced DeLonge in three shows during March 2015. Legal clashes emerged with DeLonge, but he was eventually made an official member of the band.

Moving on Without DeLonge

Following the new addition, the album California was produced. The album reached number one on the Billboard Hot 200 list and was the first to do so since 2001. The positive feedback led to a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album.

Travis Barker shows off his knuckle tattoos that spell out “Self Made.”
Photo by Gregory Bojorquez/Getty Images

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Enema of the State, Blink-182 went on a celebratory tour. Meanwhile, personal projects, such as Barker’s collaborations with other artists like Lil Nas X and Machine Gun Kelly, were taken. Skiba worked with Alkaline Trio to make their ninth album.

What Does the Band Think?

The 20th-anniversary summer tour was joined by Lil Wayne, who Barker befriended in 2004. Forbes decided to get the band’s opinion on the tour, looking back at their history and what their legacy meant to them.

Blink 182 and Lil Wayne pose for a studio portrait.
Source: Pinterest

Mark Hoppus stated, “”So we always have fun on tour. But this time, especially with it being 20 years of Enema of the State, I think it’s going to be a good summer.” Adding a glorious rap artist to the classic punk rock band kept things exciting and fun for the band on tour.

‘Mark’s Cancer Diagnosis

Mark Hoppus shared with fans that he has been diagnosed with cancer. On June 23, 2021, he posted that this was indeed true and that he has been undergoing chemotherapy for three months.

Mark Hoppus shares a picture of him during chemo treatment.
Source: Instagram/@markhoppus

“It sucks, and I’m scared, and at the same time, I’m blessed with incredible doctors and family and friends to get me through it.” Band members have also shared their love and support for Hoppus. Barker said, “I will be with him every of the way on stage and off.”

Putting Up a Fight

Months after his diagnosis, Mark Hoppus has overgone treatment and updated that he is now cancer-free: “I just saw my oncologist, and I’m cancer-free! Thank you, God and universe and friend and family and everyone who send support and kindness and love.”

Mark Hoppus in his backyard / Mark announces he is cancer-free.
Source: Instagram/@markhoppus

Hoppus still needs to be scanned every half a year, but hearing the good news has many fans relieved. Tom DeLonge, his former band member, made sure to follow his progress and stated that he reached the “Last stretch” of the treatment.

Co-Headlining the Tour

Blink-182 and Lil Wayne headlined a tour together that ran from June until September 2019. Neck Deep, a Welsh Pop punk artist, joined them on time. Mashups of “What’s My Age Again and “A Milli” were prepared to headline the tour.

Lil Wayne performs onstage.
Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage/Getty Images

The show didn’t take off as expected as ticket sales were low. There were a few shows that Lil Wayne didn’t perform on, but he wasn’t planning on quitting, as was rumored. General Feedback was positive regardless of the initial setback and unintuitive duo that performed together.

Twenty Year Later

When asked about what it’s like to be playing music from 20 years ago, nostalgia of all the good and bad times arose. Hoppus said, “‘Adam’s Song’ still resonates a lot with me. I struggle with dark times, and that is a statement about doing that.” He described the time when the band was focused, finding their sound.

Mark Hoppus performs onstage at the 2020 iHeartRadio ALTer EGO.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

“For me, everything on the album still holds, and it’s interesting and exciting to this day,” said Barker. He was looking forward to playing all the songs on the setlist.

Looking Back

After so many years, some people might interpret the songs differently. When asked if the band felt different playing the songs after going through so much, Barker responded with, “It’s like a tattoo that I got 15 years ago. Maybe you look at a little differently, but it was still capturing a moment in time…”

Travis Barker performs onstage for the 2020 American Music Awards.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/AMA2020/Getty Images

Skiba reflected on how he was still the “same person;” he just captured some wisdom over the years. The essence of the band is still there; they have just matured with time.

Enema at Its Core

Commemorating the time when the album was made, Blink-182 was asked what stood out to them the most. For Barker, acknowledging that something they made 20 years ago is still relevant meant a lot to him.

Blink 182 pose for photographs backstage.
Photo Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

“I look back at Enema Of the State as a snapshot and think about the Optimism, the excitement, the solidarity of purpose of all three of us in the band really anting to out…” said Hoppus. He reflected on the energy and optimism he experienced during those times.

Past vs. Present

Hoppus spoke about the work they were doing (2019) while still being proud of the music they made in the past: “We want people to come to the shows for everything—the new stuff, the old stuff, everything in between and being vital of the moment right now.”

Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Matt Skiba of blink-182.
Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images

He mentioned wanting to play songs throughout all their albums and not just the classics such as “All the Small Thing” and “Rock the Show” and speaking to Travis about not being remembered just for material they wrote 20 years ago.

Cheshire Cat

The official release date by Cargo Music was on February 17, 1995. The album was made by the three original band members Delonge, Hoppus, and Raynor. Fun Fact: The album was available when the band was still only called Blink.

Blink 182 at the 1998 KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The San Diego Skate Park scene took a massive liking to the song. The most known tour they went on to promote the album was the Good Times Tour in 1995. In 2001, the album sold more than 250,000 copies, which was impressive for that time.

Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

MCA Records released the band’s fourth studio album on June 12, 2001. The band did a play on words with the title hinting at male masturbation. The cover went along with the title displaying a pair of pants, a jacket, and an airplane (“take-off”).

Blink 182 during MTV New Year's Eve Bash 2000
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

To maintain the band’s momentum with their previous album, it seems MCA pressured them to cultivate a similar sound. The album did exceptionally well and covered topics having to do with teenage experiences, such as going on your first date.

First-Hand Insight into the Plane Crash

Traver Barker shared his traumatic experience after the plane crash in 2008. Adam Goldstein and himself were the only two survivors while four other people on board died. Charles, Barker’s security guard, and his assistant Chris Baker were two of the four members on the plane.

Travis Barker sits on the stage before a show.
Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Barker reflected on how he was since scared to see an airplane in the sky and that he couldn’t even walk down the street. He also mentioned that the horrific event gave him the wake-up call he needed to end his abuse of drugs.

Who is Travis Barker Dating?

Rumors sparked that Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian began dating sometime in 2021. To support the rumors, On July 11, 2021, Travis and Kourtney were captioned displaying PDA at the UFC match. Later, on August 17, a photo was taken of the couple heading off to Cabo.

Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian pose in a loving embrace on the tarmac.
Source: Twitter

This was the first time he would get on an airplane since 2008. They were spotted smooching on vacation in Italy over the summer when attending a Dolce and Gabbana show. Other photos in recent months have confirmed that the couple is dating.

A New Sci-Fi Series

Tom Delonge is working on a new sci-fi TV series called Strange Times. The project is a collaboration with TBS that combines his love for skateboarding and paranormal activity. Aaron Karo and himself will be the official executive producers.

Jack Samson and Lizzie Broadway pose for a poster of Strange Times.
Source: Pinterest

His massive interest in UFOs led him to open his own company surrounding the topic, which later spurred his interest in developing a TV show. “This is a dream I’ve had for over ten years, and its’ finally a reality,” said DeLonge. An official release date has not yet been provided.

People Thought He Was Crazy

‘It’s no secret that Tom DeLong has a reputation for being spontaneous and caring less about ‘people’s opinions. One day he sat in front of his computer and watched a YouTube Video about extraterrestrial life after searching “Black triangle UFOs.”

DeLonge stands looking out the window, lost in thought.
Photo by Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine/Future/Getty Images

“The Phenomenon” is what he calls his obsession and will gladly share all he knows about it. For Example, a triangular aircraft hovering over Belgium in 1990 or reports about interesting, mysterious airships viewed in the west in 187; the list goes on and on.

Neighborhoods After 8 Years

This was the first album they had made in eight years since their previous release. Blink-182 released material for the first time since the “Indefinite hiatus” to pursue personal ventures. The recording was done in different studios.

Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus, and Tom DeLonge pose together.
Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

This time around, the album’s focus was on death, isolation, and confusion. Feedback after the release was varied. Some saw the natural transformation of the band, while others found it dull and lacking. Due to the lack of album sales, the band eventually left their record company, Interscope.

Their Most Recent Album

The band was asked how the success of California, one of their latest albums, allowed for them to progress. Hoppus responded with what it meant to make the Blink-182 song, “I felt like California was us resetting the clock back to one and at the same bringing it around full circle generationally….”

Matt Skiba, Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker pose before an interview.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

He focused on how California was a new album that connected to new fans while still holding onto what made the band special; how it could reach audiences in 2019 and 2020 with a balanced sound.

Nine and Not Eight

The band put out the album in 2019 and considered it to be their 9th studio album, counting their demo, “Buddha,” released in 1994. The theme reflects world events and is attributed to being gloomy and dark.

Blink 182 pein a still from a music video.
Source: YouTube

The album did well, many applauding the classic sound the band was known for. It was successful worldwide, reaching top charts in the UK, Germany, Australia, Austria, and Canada. The band recorded in their personal homes as well as collaborating with their producer John Feldmann.

Blink-182’s Style

For the most part, Blink-‘182’s music has been placed in the pop and punk rock category — the combined changes in power chords, distorted electric guitar, fast tempos, and catchy melodies. In the early stages, the band was influenced by the skate-punk culture that was happening when they were young.

Blink 182 performs on stage.
Photo by Christina Radish/Redferns/Getty Images

Blink-182 mentioned that one of their most prominent influences was rock group The Descendants. Other legendary names they took inspiration from included the Beatles, the Ramones, the Beach Boys, Stiff Little fingers, Bad Religion, and many more.

What Did They Write About?

Delonge and Hoppus oversaw writing lyrics, which later switched over to Skiba and Hoppus. One of the most prominent themes in their music is the lack of maturity and having a good time in their youth. Hoppus mentioned that the lessons and experiences we have as kids and teenagers could also be felt later in life.

Blink 182 at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

Falling in love and getting your heart broken can be adult realities. Later albums gave more of a dark and depressed mood, such as Neighborhood, followed by California that aimed at finding ones’ identity.

A New Wave of Pop Punk

When the new millennium emerged, Blink-182 revitalized pop-rock and made it mainstream again. Green Day was also a popular band at the time, but Blink-182 was unique because of its polished productions.

Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 perform in concert.
Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images

At one point, the New Yorker referred to the band having “emerged as a touchstone, spawning more imitators than an American Rock band since Nirvana.” The band reawakened the spirit of the American teenager. As their songs aren’t overcomplicated, learning to play them was a popular trait inspiring kids to form their bands.

Quarantine Song

One of the most recent songs by Blink-182 is “Quarantine.” The song, as it hints, is about the boredom experienced during isolation due to COVID-19. Hoppus wrote and sang the song. Barker and Brian Lee were also credited with adding lyrics to the music.

Mark Hoppus, Matt Skiba, and Travis Barker perform Quarantine from their homes.
Source: Twitter

Brian Lee, who helped write the song, is famous for working with top-notch pop artists like Justin Bieber, Camila Cabello, and Post Malone. Matt Skiba didn’t receive acknowledgment for the song because he didn’t want to come to the studio because of the virus.

Happy Days

Amidst the struggles of the pandemic, Blink-182 fans are keeping busy and staying optimistic, as evident by their new music video for “Happy Days.” The members of the iconic band are seen jamming and how they are keeping busy at home.

The artwork that was made for the Blink 182 Happy Days zoom event.
Source: MTV

They also included clips of fans toasting over zoom and healthcare providers stopping their challenging workdays to dance for a moment. The song is part of their 2019 album “Nine” which promotes staying strong and cheerful during the difficult period.

Matt Skiba

When Skiba joined that band, he was attributed to helping record albums California and Nine. What started as just filling in for DeLonge turned into a full-time adaption into the band. His first solo tour was called The Pleas of Peace Tour, where he played an acoustic version of the Alkaline Trio songs, respectively.

Matt Skiba of Blink-182 performs in concert.
Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images

His solo single was debuted with Kevin Second from 7 Seconds to Mars in 2002. He was even responsible for launching the band Heavens in 2006 with bass player Josiah Steinbrick from the band F-Minus.

Blink-182 Perform with Goody Grace

Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live with pop singer Good Grace in a collaboration called Scumbag. Grace launched the performance, later being joined by the band members. The artists released the original track in October 2019.

Travis Barker, Good Grace, and Mark Hoppus pose together.
Source: Pinterest

Goody Grace was thankful to have had the opportunity to perform with the band posting on social media: “Thank you @blink182 for being the most legendary band I ‘could’ve ever had play with on my tv debut performance, just the beginning.” What a way to launch a career.

A Fan Favorite

According to a poll done by Rolling Stone in 2016, ‘fans’ favorite song at the time was “Dammit” which was about the pain of seeing a new guy with the girl that you’re in love with. This fostered the making of Enema of the State.

Fans cheer as rock band Blink 182 performs live in concert.
Photo by Yui Mok – PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

Next in line was “Adam’s Song,” which is essentially a teenager’s suicide song expressed in a song. It was indeed a different vibe than what the band had been putting out at the time. The list goes on to list eight more songs.

Recognition for their Music

Other than the Grammy nomination previously mentioned, Blink-182 has gathered 18 awards and 29 nominations over the years. They have received two MTV Europe Music Awards, three Teen Choice Awards, and six Sand Diego Music Awards.

Blink 182 receive the Best Rock Video award at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images

In 1999, they received a nomination for Modern Rock Track of the Year for the Billboard Music Awards. The following year, they won the Favorite Group-New Artist Blockbuster Entertainment Award. Other notable nominations include Alternative Rock Band of the Year and Alternative Rock Song of the Year – iheart Radio Music Awards.

American Pie Fiasco

Blink-182 made a brief appearance in the infamous first American Pie movie. The band assisted in contributing to the teenage vibe of the film with their sound. Mutt was the song that made the soundtrack and the scandalous scene.

Blink 182 in American Pie / The wrong credit at the end of the movie
Source: Twitter

Setting their efforts aside, Travis Baker wasn’t adequately credited for participating in the movie. Firstly, in the song credit credits for Mutt, his name was spelled ‘Travis Bakor’ and listed Scott Raynor as part of the cast instead of him. Nice; they probably should have double-checked.

Creating Clothing Brands

In the early 2000s, DeLonge and Hoppus created a famous clothing brand called Atticus. The popular symbol was an upside-down bird that displayed the band’s subtle yet known cool factor. As a result of their success, they launched a shoe brand called Macbeth. I’m sensing a theme here.

Blink 182 band members pose together; DeLonge is wearing an Atticus shirt.
Photo by Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance/Getty Images

Even though both brands were a huge success, the band members sold their shares a couple of years later. Barker has kept the inspiration alive with his own clothing brand called Famous Stars and Stripes, which male celebrities have worn.

Never Too Serious

One of the most remembered parody videos in the ’90s was Blink-182’s “All the Small Things.” The band imitates and poked fun at all the pop stars in the era. Some of the scenes included choreographed backup dancers, romantic slow-motion stares on the beach, and fancy white suits.

Blink 182 in their
Source: YouTube

They laughed at all the significant starts, including NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin, and Britney Spears. Years later, another hit group, One Direction, used the same beach they filmed at to display their video’s same boy-band romantic mood.

Featured Talk Show

It turns out Hoppus also moved into the TV show business, but not for reality TV this time. Comedian Amy Schumer was the co-host. Celebrity musicians would be guests on the show, and the hosts would focus on silly panel discussions, new music, mainstream bands, and up-and-coming artists.

Mark Hoppus and Amy Schumer do a TV interview.
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

“I am stoked to join the Fuse family and have a show where I can talk about a topic that I’m passionate about, music,” said Hoppus. The show was initially released in 2010 and lasted just about two years.