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Blink-182 From Indefi nite Hiatus To Long-Rumored Reunion.
On the morning of September 20, 2008, Mark Hoppus woke up to a call from a close friend. This friend wanted to know if Mark was okay and if there was anything he could do to help. Confused, Mark asked what he was talking about.
Oh my god, said the voice on the other end of the line, you dont know. You have to turn on the news, Mark. When he did, Marks blood ran cold. Rolling across the TV screen was the news that his friend and +44 bandmate Travis Barker was critically ill in hospital, following a Learjet crash in Columbia, South Carolina, which had claimed four lives, among them Travis 29-year-old personal assistant Chris Barker and his 25-year-old security guard Charles Still. The drummers own life hung in the balance.
It was horrible, terrible, says Mark, recall-ing that fateful morning. There were no words at all to describe all the feelings I had. It was just sohorrifi c.
By mid afternoon, Mark was on a plane to
Augusta, Georgia. That same evening he sat by Travis bedside in the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, still in shock, still unable to take in the horror of the situation.
Back in San Diego, readying his band Angels & Airwaves for a fi ve week U.S. tour with Weezer, Travis and Marks former Blink-182 bandmate Tom DeLonge freaked out when he heard the news. As media organizations sought to solicit a statement from him about the tragedy., Tom poured his thoughts instead into a letter to his erstwhile colleague, letting him know he was thinking of him and praying for him. Upon receiving the letter, Travis called his old friend from hospital and the pair spoke at length. A few days later, Mark and Tom spoke too, for the fi rst time in almost four years. And as Travis wounds slowly began to heal in his Georgia hospital bed, so too did the bitter divisions between the three men who together had soundtracked a genera-tions adolescence with their band Blink-182.When Blink-182 announced their decision to go
on an indefi nite hiatus on February 22, 2005, they did so as one of the worlds most successful pop-punk bands, having achieved over 25 million album sales worldwide during their fi ve-album career. Though the use of the word hiatus and the wording of the bands offi cial statement hinted at the possibility of future collaborations While there is no set plan for the band to begin working together again, no-one knows what tomorrow may bring. it read, coyly few truly believed that the announcement spelled out any-thing other than the bands permanent dissolution: after all, post-hardcore fi gureheads At The Drive-In and Fugazi had announced their own hiatuses in 2001 and 2002 respectively, and neither band has shown the slightest inclination of returning to the global stage.
Initially, Blink played down any suggestions that their self-enforced break signalled a schism in their long-time friendships I love those dudes, theyre my brothers, Travis told LA radio station KROQ in the immediate aftermath of
After a four-year hiatus, punk-pop kings Blink-182 shocked the rock world when they announced they were getting back together. But how did the trio heal the rift between them? Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge open up
the split. I wanted to clear up the rumours of us fi ghting with each other of hating each other. Its just not true/ We want to enjoy ourselves and regroup and write a record when its the right time but
cracks soon began appearing in the facade when it came time to pro-mote new projects, namely Toms band Angels & Airwaves and Mark and Travis +44.
In his fi rst major post-Blink inter-view, Tom promised that, within two years, Angels & Airwaves would be the biggest rock act in the world, saying of his former friends, when money and fame entered into the equation, and we were all growing up and having kids, I think we all just grew apart. Mark retaliated by saying your selfi sh nature is destroying everything that the three of us, our crew, and everyone else worked so hard to do. Hopes of a Blink reunion seemed to fade further into the distance with each subsequent interview.
Did I even envisage the day com-ing when wed be back together?, muses Tom today, down a static-fl ecked phone line, as Angels & Airwaves tour bus speeds towards Las Vegas for the third-to-last date on their U.S. tour. In my own mind I did not see this as a reality, no. But then Ive also found that Ive been wrong in my life a number of times about things that I get very emotional about.
Answering the same question at home in LA a few days later, Mark is a little more ambiguous.
I never really knew, he admits, because ultimately it wasnt my decision to put a stop to Blink-182. And people always asked me, when Blink wasnt together, if I thought Blink would ever play together again, and my honest answer was that I could see us never reforming or I could see reforming the next day. It just needed everyones head to be in the same space at the same time.
Even before Travis plane crash, I think all of us were in the mind space that wed worked through whatever issues wed had before and, not even thinking about the band, I think we were all in a space where we wanted to put all of that negative energy behind us and at least reconnect as humans and friends, Mark adds. And obvi-ously after Travis plane crash any
Were not going back to 1993, but well be playing with spirit and en-ergy people expect from Blink-182, says Tom, But the palette of what we can do now is so much broader. Mark has done so much music with other people over the past few years, Travis is always gonna be the best drummer on earth, and Id like
to think that the last three Angels & Airwaves albums have shown that my writing has developed too. So now, we feel we can do anything. People are gonna love it.Before the album emerges however, theres the small matter of Blink-182s return to these shores, with headlining slots at the Reading and Leeds festivals and arena dates in Scotland and Ireland. When they look ahead to the prospect, Mark and Tom couldnt be more excited.The fact Travis is literally taking a bus for four days across the United States and then getting on a boat and traveling for a week to get to you guys is a testament to how dedicated we are and [how] excited we are, notes Mark. I cant believe were headlining Read-ing and Leeds, Tom laughs. Its such a gigantic honour. Ive spent so long building up Angels & Airwaves that its not in my head that Im in a giant band, so its pretty crazy. Im really excited that your readers care so much and I think its gonna be a fun time.
So what can we expect from the all-new, all-fi red-up Blink-182 in August?
Expect a lot of fun, a lot of bad words and a really good time, laughs Mark. In some ways, it seems like the last fi ve years never happened, he adds soberly, But it seems healthier now than it did. We always appreciated what we had, but when youre caught up in this life you can lose a little bit of perspective. So [to] go away and do other things and then come back, makes us realise how really truly amazing Blink-182 is to the three of us. And that people out there still share that feeling too makes things even better.
Blink-182 are due to headline the Leeds and Reading Festival 2010 on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th respectively.
mood was relaxed, friendly and con-vivial, none of them initially want-ing to acknowledge the elephant in
the room, namely their former band. It was Tom, fi nally, who broached the subject.
He said, Well, how would you guys feel about the possibility of playing music together again?, recalls Mark, and I said, I think we absolutely should, we should put Blink back together and do what weve done since day one. I think everyone had that in their hearts and we moved forward from there.Rumours of a possible Blink reun-ion began to hit the internet as soon as the trio confi rmed in interviews that theyd been spending time together once more. In November 2008, Kerrang! confi dently stated that the trio were back together as Blink-182 and on February 8, 2009, the news was made offi cial from the stage of the Staples Cener in Los Angeles, when Blink appears at the Grammy Awards and Travis
support coming from high profi le acolytes including Fall Out Boy, The All-American Rejects, Panic! At The Disco and Taking Back Sun-day proved the perfect opportunity for the trio to bond further, and as friendships were restored, it also served to confi rm just how much their band meant to generation of rock fans.
That the band has actually gotten bigger since weve been away absolutely blew my mind, state Tom humbly, his voice raising in pitch and volume. Shit, we were doing 40,000 and 50,000 seats in some cities which is insane. Know-ing that that kind of support is still there for us has only strengthened our ambitions.
Work on the new studio album the follow-up to 2003s eponymous last outing begins in earnest this week, in the bands own studios in LA and San Diego. Following the death of the bands long-time producer Jerry Finn in August 2008, Mark predicts that the band will self produce the album, though the option to bring in outside help remains open. Asked to describe the early sketches of songs fl eshed out, already Tom uses the words fast, huge-sounding and totally futur-istic and both he and Mark insist that the time spent apart has only enhanced their capabilities as a unit.
There were no words at all to describe all the feelings I had. It was just sohorrific.
of the arguments or bad feelings toward each other went out of window.
No-one cared about any of the other shit that had happened, Tom agrees, We all just wanted Travis to get better.
In the wake of Travis accident, the fi rst conversation between Mark