Biography

Blink 182

Members: Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker

Active: 1992 - 2005 (hiatus)

blink-182 is a Southern California, pop-punk band that was formed in 1992 by Tom Delonge, Mark Hoppus, and Scott Raynor in the northern San Diego suburb of Poway, California. Travis Barker replaced Raynor on drums in 1998, midway through blink-182's US tour.

The group is known for its catchy melodies, as well as for satirical, and sometimes profanity-laden, toilet humour. Musically, the band plays up-tempo songs with prominent major-chord harmonies, often digitally mixed, to provide a much cleaner sound than typical punk/rock recordings, which generally exhibit distortion and analogue mixes to achieve the opposite effect. The lyrical content of their songs, prior to their last album, are humorous and uplifting.

Although the band is labelled as Blink 182 on albums prior to Raynor's departure, the current and official rendering of the band's name is blink-182. The numbers 182 are added to the band's name to prevent a trademark conflict with the Irish techno group, Blink.

EARLY CAREER

In May 1993 the band, at the time known as "Blink," released a demo tape entitled Flyswatter, recorded in drummer Scott Raynor's bedroom. A boom box was used to record the material, resulting in poor sound quality and according to Hoppus, only around fifty copies were produced. Before the end of the year, the band released another demo tape known as Buddha. Around 1,000 copies were produced by Filter Records.

In early 1994, blink released their debut full-length album, Cheshire Cat, released on Grilled Cheese Records. The album contained many new versions of songs that had appeared on the Buddha demo.

Shortly after the release of Cheshire Cat, blink was threatened with legal action by a techno band in Ireland of the same name. In order to avoid a lengthy lawsuit, blink appended "-182" to the end of their name. There are several rumours as to why these numbers were ultimately chosen, such as their correspondence to the number of times Al Pacino utters the word "fuck" in Scarface, the 1985 Timothy Hutton film, Turk 182!, their representation of Hoppus's ideal weight, or that they represent the position in the alphabet of the letters 'R' and 'B,' referring to the northern San Diego suburb of Rancho Bernardo. However, the band members have dismissed such claims and maintain that the numbers were picked at random. However, in one interview, Barker stated that the "182" was the U.S. radio code meaning 'homicide' (apparently confusing "182," the radio code for conspiracy, with "187"). During the pop punk boom of the 1990s, blink-182 was signed by MCA in 1996 which later became Geffen Records.

DUDE RANCH-ERA 1996-1998

After moving to Encinitas, California, the band recorded the album Dude Ranch in 1996 with producer Mark Trombino. The album was released in 1997 and was commercially successful. The singles, "Josie" and "Dammit" rose to the top of the U.S. airplay charts. However, in 1998 the band experienced a setback. Raynor, who had a serious drinking problem at the time, was reportedly asked to leave the band and go into rehab. However, there are also reports that he departed in order to attend college. Raynor claims he agreed, but that the remaining band members fired him over the phone despite his acquiescence, citing that they were doubtful of Raynor's sincerity. His expulsion occurred midway through blink-182's U.S. tour. He was replaced by Travis Barker, the drummer of blink-182's support band The Aquabats.

BREAKTROUGH AND RISING TO SUCCESS 1998-2002

For the 1999 album Enema of the State, the band hired Rancid and The Offspring producer Jerry Finn, who became the band's permanent record engineer. The album was largely successful, propelling the band to pop punk fame and gaining a significant amount of airtime on MTV and Total Request Live (TRL). This was largely due to the commercial success of the songs "What's My Age Again?", "Adam's Song" and "All the Small Things"; and particularly due to an infamous music video for "What's My Age Again?" which featured the band streaking. Enema of the State sold 7.7 million copies worldwide, which made it their bestselling album to that point. The sound on the album was rooted in the same genre as earlier punk-rock bands such as NOFX, Green Day and The Offspring, but it was digitally mixed and enhanced, and therefore more accessible to the mainstream. Because of this, many fans felt the band had strayed from its punk rock roots.

blink-182's only live album, The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show: The Enema Strikes Back was released the following year in 2000. The songs featured are from the group's first three albums: Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch and Enema of the State. The album also includes one new studio song, "Man Overboard," among the live renditions. Because it is no longer in print the album is strongly sought after by collectors.

2001 saw blink-182 continuing their commercial success, recording Take off Your Pants and Jacket, which followed the same basic formula of "Enema of the State". When the album was first released, there were several versions with different bonus tracks. These were titled "Take off," "Pants," and "Jacket," each of which were signified by a different sticker on the CD. Each version had two different bonus tracks. The tracks were "Fuck a Dog", "Mothers Day" and "When You Fucked Grandpa", all considered to be joke songs. The more serious numbers were "Time to Break Up", "Don't Tell Me That It's Over" and "What Went Wrong". Because of the different combinations, some long-term fans wanted to collect them all. However, the bonus tracks were only available for a limited time. A European tour (in the winter 2001) in support of the live album was cancelled in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. Rescheduled dates in early 2002 were also cancelled due to Delonge's back problems.

ON BREAK AND POP DISASTER 2002

In the Summer of 2002, blink-182 and Green Day co-headlined the "Pop-Punk Disaster" tour, with support coming from Jimmy Eat World and Saves The Day. Also, a relatively unknown band called Kut u up performed at the beginning of each show mostly outside of the main arena. The band was invited to play by Delonge and Hoppus since the two were friends with band members. Leading up to the tour, Delonge began writing solo material. This was mostly due to the way he felt during the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, feelings which were exacerbated by recent medical problems involving his back.

Delonge slowly started to gather more and more material for a side project and it wasn't until he recruited Barker on drums and long time friend David Kennedy on guitar that his idea came to fruition. Bass would be played by DeLonge and Anthony Celestino on subsequent tours and videos. The project became known as Boxcar Racer, a name inspired by the bomber Bockscar, responsible for deploying the second atomic bomb, Fat Man, on Japan during World War II. The two singles from the self-titled album were "I Feel So", and "There Is". The record also included guest singers Tim Armstrong (Rancid, Operation Ivy, Transplants) and Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory) on "Cat Like Thief" and Mark Hoppus on "Elevator". However, according to recent interviews with Delonge, the formation of Boxcar Racer caused much friction between himself and Hoppus. This was one of the main reasons blink-182 abruptly went on an indefinite hiatus in 2005, as this project made Hoppus feel alienated from Delonge and Barker, although Barker performed on the album strictly because Delonge did not want to pay for a studio drummer. In a recent interview, Delonge stated that he wished he had enlisted friend Atom Willard for drum duties instead, which could have potentially precluded blink-182's disbandment, or at the very least, could have made the separation more amiable.

After Boxcar Racer, Barker was invited to work on a second side project known as Transplants. This band started with Tim Armstrong (Rancid and Operation Ivy) and Skinhead Rob dabbling with musical ideas in Armstrong's basement recording studio. Having already known Barker from Boxcar Racer, Armstrong asked him to assist in the side project. Not long after their formation, Transplants debuted their first self-titled CD on Armstrong's record label Hellcat Records. The first single of the album was "DJ DJ", followed by the wildly successful "Diamonds and Guns". Due to explicit content, the latter was banned from the airwaves. Despite this, an instrumental version of the song is featured on the Garnier Fructis commercial. After playing the Warped Tour, Transplants decided to part ways for the time being.

UNTITLED ERA 2002-2005

After taking some time off in 2002, recording of the next record began in late 2002/early 2003. A more laid back approach to song writing was taken. The result was a more mature sounding record than anything blink-182 had attempted before. The band released its fifth studio album blink-182 on November 18, 2003. Described as "a self-meditation on romantic decay", the album featured the hit singles "Feeling This" (previously named "Action", as released on the game: Madden2004), "I Miss You", "Down", and the 1980s-influenced "Always". Travis Barker has confirmed that the band left the album untitled (rather than self-titled) to represent a new blink-182. It showcased a style of music deeper than anything blink-182 had done previously, but still managed to receive significant airplay on radio stations and Fuse. Critics have deemed their sound similar to that of The Police and U2, although members of the band claim they took most of their influence from The Cure, whose front man Robert Smith had appeared on "All of This". Listeners called the riffs heavier and the lyrics more profound. During late 2003, the band embarked on what came to be known as the "Dolla Bill" tour. The name stemmed from the inexpensive ticket costs for attendance. The tour was largely popular with fans as the band played more intimate venues and ticket sales were heavily controlled to prevent touting. Also, special "meet and greets" were arranged before some of the shows. The tour would also visit The SOMA in San Diego, a venue where blink-182 would go to watch and play gigs during their early years. A tour with No Doubt in the summer of 2004 was also very successful.

2005-PRESENT

On February 22, 2005, many fans were shocked and when blink-182 announced they were going on an "indefinite hiatus". Expectedly, rumors soon began to accumulate regarding the band's break up. The only band member to speak outright was Barker. He eventually stated that he was not the only person in the band and indicated that there were two other band members reporters could question. The other two band members didn't speak outright. Delonge did not give an interview until September of the same year, while Hoppus refused to make any kind of comments during the first few months, and has still yet to give any in-depth response on the situation, which has seemed to have affected him somewhat. Fans soon began to suspect that there was a disagreement that alienated Delonge and Hoppus. Kerrang! soon printed an article that seemed to confirm the suspicion, but Delonge denounced it on his "In-studio journal" on his "Macbeth" podcast, saying not to believe anything unless it comes from any of the band-members own mouths.

In the wake of the hiatus, Geffen Records released a career long "Greatest Hits" compilation in November 2005. Two previously unreleased tracks were also included, "Not Now" (from the European version of the untitled album) and "Another Girl Another Planet" (a cover song originally by The Only Ones, recorded for the theme song to the reality show Meet the Barkers). The album immediately reached No. 6 on the United States top selling records. There are three versions of the Greatest Hits CD. One has a bonus track: Aliens Exist (live) with a bonus DVD, and the other version has two bonus tracks: "Go" and "I Won't Be Home For Christmas" along with the DVD.

As main reasons for the "indefinite hiatus", the band credit the mounting tensions between Delonge and Hoppus, caused by Delonge's desire for a break with his family and Hoppus' feelings of betrayal from DeLonge's Boxcar Racer side-project. Today each of the band members has his own musical agenda. Delonge is currently working with his outfit Angels and Airwaves, whose debut album We Don't Need to Whisper was leaked in April 2006 and is being released on May 23rd, 2006. Transplants broke up after the Warped Tour, however Barker and Skinhead Rob emerged immediately with a new project, called Expensive Taste with rap superstar Paul Wall. Hoppus and Barker are finishing work on their +44 debut album, rumored to be called "Break the Record". Barker has also trademarked the name The Phenomenons for a new band.

STUDIO ALBUMS

1994 - Cheshire Cat
1997 - Dude Ranch
1999 - Enema of the State
2001 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
2003 - Blink-182

EP'S

1995 - They Came to Conquer Uranus
1996 - Wasting Time

DEMOS

1992 - Flyswatter
1993 - 2nd Demo
1993 - Buddha (original version)
1994 - Buddha Promo
1998 - Buddha (CD Version)

LIVE ALBUMS AND COMPILATIONS

2000 - The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show: The Enema Strikes Back (live)
2005 - Greatest Hits (compilation)

VHS/DVD'S

2000 - Probed Unauthorized
2000 - The Urethra Chronicles
2001 - Man Overboard/Adam's Song
2002 - The Urethra Chronicles II: Harder Faster Faster Harder
2003 - Riding in Vans with Boys
2005 - Greatest Hits

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