The band achieved greater success with 1999's multi-platinum selling Enema of the State, which reached number 9 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the singles "What's My Age Again?" and "All the Small Things", the latter of which became the highest-charting song of their career by reaching number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Blink-182 gained popularity for their irreverent sense of humor, and the follow-up album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001) reached number 1 in the United States, Canada, and Germany. The eponymously-titled Blink-182 followed in 2003 and marked a stylistic shift for the group, infusing experimental elements into their usual pop punk formula, resulting in a more mature sound.
DeLonge left Blink-182 in early 2005, sending the band into indefinite hiatus. Hoppus and Barker formed a new band, +44, while DeLonge formed his own act, Angels & Airwaves. Hoppus also pursued a career as a television host while Barker continued working in music as a producer and solo artist. Blink-182 reunited in February 2009 and their sixth studio album, Neighborhoods, was released in September 2011.
Formation and early years (1992–94)
Blink 182 was formed in Poway, California, a suburb outside of San Diego, in 1992. After Mark Hoppus graduated high school in Ridgecrest, he relocated to San Diego to work at a record store and attend college. Tom DeLonge was kicked out of Poway High for attending a basketball game drunk and was forced to attend another local school for one semester. At Rancho Bernardo High School, he befriended Kerry Key, also interested in punk music. Key's girlfriend, Anne Hoppus, introduced her brother Mark to DeLonge in August 1992. The two clicked instantly and played for hours in DeLonge's garage, exchanging lyrics and co-writing songs—one of which became crowd favorite "Carousel." DeLonge recruited friend Scott Raynor for drums, who he met at a Rancho Bernado Battle of the Bands competition. Raynor was by far the youngest member of the trio at 14, and his event account differs significantly: he claims he and DeLonge started the band together, which Hoppus later joined.
The trio began to practice together in Raynor's bedroom, spending hours together writing music. Hoppus and DeLonge would alternate singing vocal parts. The band was initially named Duck Tape until DeLonge thought of the name "Blink". Hoppus' girlfriend was angered by her boyfriend's constant attention for the band and demanded him to make a choice between the band and her, which resulted in Hoppus leaving the band shortly after formation. Shortly thereafter, DeLonge told Hoppus he had borrowed a four track recorder from a friend and was preparing to record a demo tape, which prompted Hoppus to break up with his girlfriend and return to the band. Flyswatter—a combination of original songs and punk covers—was recorded in Raynor's bedroom and landed the band their first shows.
The band's earliest shows were largely in empty clubs, but the band's popularity in the thriving San Diego music scene grew as did California punk rock concurrently in the mainstream. DeLonge called clubs constantly in San Diego asking for a spot to play, as well as calling up local high schools convincing them that Blink was a "motivational band with a strong anti-drug message" in hopes to play at an assembly or lunch. The band found their way onto the bill as the opening band for local acts at SOMA, a local all-ages venue which they longed to headline. The band's equipment was piled into a blue station wagon and Hoppus' manager at the record store fronted him the money to properly record a demo in the studio. In 1993, the band recorded Buddha at local studio Doubletime. Cassette copies of Buddha and T-shirts were compiled by the band and Hoppus' family. Raynor's family relocated to Reno, Nevada; he was briefly replaced by musician Mike Krull. The band saved money and began flying Raynor out to shows, but eventually Raynor moved in with Hoppus for a summer in which the band would record their first album, video and gain even more exposure.
Early releases and touring (1994–98)
The heart of the local independent music scene was Cargo Records, which offered to sign the band on a "trial basis," with help from O, guitarist for local punk band Fluf, and Brahm Goodis, friend of the band whose father was president of the label. The band recorded their debut album in three days at Westbeach Recorders in Los Angeles, fueled by both new songs and re-recordings of songs from previous demos. Although Cheshire Cat, released in 1994, made very little impact commercially, it is cited by fans and musicians as an iconic release. "M+M's", the band's first single, garnered local radio airplay from 91X and Cargo offered the band a small budget to film a music video for it. The band's popularity caught the ire of an Irish techno band of the same name, who threatened with legal action. To avoid a dispute, the band appended "182" to the end of their name, chosen at random. The band clenched a manager, Rick DeVoe, who associated with larger bands such as NOFX, Pennywise and The Offspring.
By 1995, the band borrowed a van from the band Unwritten Law and hit the road for their first out-of-town show in Reno. Taylor Steele, friend of DeVoe, was preparing a national tour to promote his new surf video GoodTimes, and the band signed on for their first national tour, which extended as far as the East Coast. The band purchased their own tour van and embarked on the GoodTimes tour with Unwritten Law, Sprung Monkey and 7 Seconds. Popularity for Cheshire Cat grew in the form of pirated CD copies across the country. The GoodTimes tour continued and the band was whisked away to Australia, with Pennywise paying for the band's plane tickets. Fletcher Dragge, guitarist of Pennywise, believed in the band strongly. He demanded Kevin Lyman, creator of the Warped Tour, sign the band for the 1997 festival, telling him that "they're gonna be gigantic." Australia was very receptive to the band and their humorous stage shows and pranks gained them a reputation, but also made them ostracized and considered a joke. Early shows featured wet T-shirt and wet pants contests. The band slowly built a young, devoted following with indie recordings and an endless series of performances and various clubs and festivals.
After nonstop touring, the trio began recording their sophomore follow-up, Dude Ranch, over the period of a month in late 1996. Discouraged by Cargo's lack of distribution for their first album, Blink-182 signed with MCA Records to handle Dude Ranch. The record hit stores the following summer and the band headed out on their first Warped Tour. When lead single "Dammit" began rotation at Los Angeles-based KROQ, other stations took notice and the single was added to rock radio playlists across the country. Dude Ranch shipped gold by 1998, but the exhaustive touring schedule brought tensions among the trio, and Raynor was fired under alcohol abuse because he refused to go to rehab. Travis Barker, drummer for tourmate The Aquabats, filled in for Raynor, learning the 20-song setlist in 45 minutes before the first show. Barker joined the band full-time in summer 1998 and the band entered the studio with producer Jerry Finn later that year to begin work on their third album.
Mainstream breakthrough and continued success (1999–2004)
With the release of Enema of the State in June 1999, Blink-182 was catapulted to stardom and became the biggest pop punk act of the era. Three singles were released from the record—"What's My Age Again?", "All the Small Things", and "Adam's Song"—that crossed over into Top 40 radio format and experienced major commercial success. "All the Small Things" became a number-one hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, but also became a crossover hit and peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Its video parodied boy bands and pop music videos and won a Moon Man for Best Group Video at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. The album has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and had a considerable effect on pop punk music.
After multi-platinum success, arena tours and cameo appearances (American Pie), the band recorded Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001), which debuted at number 1 in the United States, Canada, and Germany. Hit singles "The Rock Show" and "First Date" continued the band's mainstream success worldwide, with MTV cementing their image as video stars. Finn returned to produce the record and was a key architect of the "polished" pop punk sound, and he served as an invaluable member of the band: part adviser, part impartial observer, he helped smooth out tensions and hone their sound. During time off from the band, DeLonge created the side project Box Car Racer with David Kennedy of Hazen Street, while Barker teamed up with Rancid's Tim Armstrong to form the rap-core outfit Transplants. The side projects, specifically Box Car Racer which Barker was also a member of, caused great division within the band, and Hoppus felt betrayed.
The band regrouped in 2003 to record their fifth studio album, infusing experimentalist elements into their usual pop punk sound, inspired by lifestyle changes (the band members all became fathers before the album was released) and side projects. Blink's eponymous fifth studio album was released in the fall of 2003 through Geffen Records, the band's first with the label. Critics generally complimented the new, more "mature" direction taken for the release and lead singles "Feeling This" and "I Miss You" charted high. The New York Times considered that the album may have been influenced by the growing popularity of emo. Fans were split by the new direction, and tensions within the band—stemming from the grueling schedule and DeLonge's desire to spend more time with his family—started to become evident.
"Indefinite hiatus", side projects, and Barker's plane crash (2005–08)
In February 2005, the band issued a press statement announcing their "indefinite hiatus." The band had broken up after arguments regarding their future and recording process. DeLonge desired to work only at his San Diego home and record his contributions there. Unresolved feelings from the Box Car Racer side project emerged too, creating rifts. The band abruptly canceled a performance at a Music for Relief benefit show after rehearsals grew more heated. Jordan Schur, the former president of Geffen Records, reportedly told Barker: "any press you do, make sure you say everything is cool," opting to instead issue a statement calling the band's break-up an indefinite hiatus. DeLonge would later recall back to the events in an interview: "My biggest failure was the breakup of Blink. That was a failure of friendships, businesses and communications. In our hearts, we thought that was forever and gone. What's funny is, at the time, I looked at it as a triumph."
In the interim, Hoppus and Barker continued playing music together in +44. Barker starred in the MTV reality series Meet the Barkers with his then-wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler. Their later split, reconciliation and subsequent breakup made them tabloid favorites. Meanwhile, DeLonge disappeared from public eye, making no appearances, granting no interviews and remaining silent until September 2005, when he announced his new project, Angels & Airwaves, promising "the greatest rock and roll revolution for this generation." DeLonge later revealed he was addicted to painkillers at the time, recalling "I was losing my mind, I was on thousands of painkillers, and I almost killed myself," not realizing his statement sounded highly ambitious. During the hiatus, Hoppus shifted his attention to producing albums and hosting his podcast, HiMyNameisMark, while Barker launched a shoe line and worked on three other musical projects—the Transplants, +44, and TRV$DJAM, a collaboration with friend Adam Goldstein (DJ AM).
The band members did not speak for many years, until 2008. That August, Jerry Finn suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was taken off life support. On September 19, Barker and Goldstein, were involved in a plane crash that killed four people, leaving the two the only survivors. Barker sustained second and third degree burns and developed post-traumatic stress disorder, and the accident resulted in sixteen surgeries and 48-hour blood transfusions. DeLonge reached out to Barker, and eventually started visiting him in the hospital together with Hoppus, laying the grounds for what was going to be the band's reunion. Eventually, an arrangement was made for the trio to meet up at Hoppus and Barker's Los Angeles studio in October 2008. The three opened up, discussing the events of the hiatus and their break-up, with DeLonge asking what is next for them, to which Hoppus replied they "should continue with what [they've] been doing for the past 17 years.". Regarding Barker's incident, in 2010 Tom DeLonge stated that "if that accident hadn't happened, we wouldn't be a band. Plain and simple. That was fate."
Reformation, Neighborhoods, and Dogs Eating Dogs (2009–present)
Eventually, the band appeared for the first time on stage together in nearly five years as presenters at the February 2009 Grammy Awards. The band's official website was updated with a statement: "To put it simply, We're back. We mean, really back. Picking up where we left off and then some. In the studio writing and recording a new album. Preparing to tour the world yet again. Friendships reformed. 17 years deep in our legacy." The Blinkumentary, a documentary film about the band's reunion, is also in production. Blink-182 embarked on a reunion tour of North America from July to October 2009, supported by Weezer and Fall Out Boy. A European festival tour followed from August to September 2010, and another spring European tour was scheduled for 2011, but was cancelled in order to complete the band's promised comeback album. In the midst of the band's reunion tour in August 2009, DJ AM was found dead by a friend in his New York apartment. Though Goldstein had been prescribed medication for pain following the crash, the medical examiner reported that he died from "acute intoxication" listing several prescription drugs and cocaine. The following night's Hartford, Connecticut show was difficult for the band; as the band played "Down" in tribute, the three began crying. Subsequent dates were rescheduled over the next week in order to allow the news to sink in.
The recording process for Neighborhoods, the band's sixth studio album, was stalled by their studio autonomy, tours, managers, and personal projects. The band members produced the record themselves following the death of Jerry Finn. DeLonge recorded at his studio in San Diego while Hoppus and Barker recorded in Los Angeles. Completion was delayed several times, which Hoppus attributed to the band learning to work by themselves without Finn, and both DeLonge and Hoppus expressed frustration during the sessions at the band's cabal of publicists, managers and attorneys (which DeLonge described as "the absolute diarrhea of bureaucracy"). A result of the band's split was each member hiring his own attorney, and during the sessions the band had four managers. In addition, Barker was releasing a solo record, DeLonge was involved in Angels & Airwaves, and Hoppus had to fly to New York City once a week to film his television show Hoppus on Music. DeLonge was also diagnosed with skin cancer in 2010, which was cleared. He later expressed dissatisfaction at the method of recording for Neighborhoods, conceding that it led to a "loss of unity" within the band. The album was released in September 2011 and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200.
Blink-182 headlined the 10th Annual Honda Civic Tour with My Chemical Romance, which ran from August to October 2011, with additional dates scheduled in Canada with Rancid and Against Me!. In 2012 the band embarked on a worldwide 20th Anniversary Tour. They were scheduled to headline the Bamboozle 2012 Music Festival but cancelled when Barker had to undergo an operation for tonsilitis. Blink-182 is currently at work on a seventh studio album, to be recorded as a group rather than in separate studios. They left Interscope Records in October 2012, becoming an independent act. The band also released Dogs Eating Dogs, an EP, in December 2012. The band toured Australia in February to March 2013 as part of the Soundwave festival as well as 4 sideshows along the east coast with punk acts The Vandals and Sharks. Barker, who still suffers a fear of flying, did not attend; Brooks Wackerman of Bad Religion filled-in for Barker's position for the Australian tour.
Musical style and influences
Blink-182's music can be described as pop punk, a fusion music genre that combines elements of punk rock with pop music, "combining frustration and fast, sunny hooks." The New York Times writes that the band "[took] punk's already playful core and [gave] it a shiny, accessible polish." Blink-182 emerged from a "nurturing, often slapstick" Southern California punk scene, playing with groups like Guttermouth, NOFX and The Vandals, but the band's sound was criticized when they achieved mainstream popularity by several punk acts who wished to not be associated with their music. The band's sound evolved with their 2003 self-titled effort, which incorporated emo and post-hardcore influences into deeper, darker pop territory. The band's newest material, Neighborhoods (2011), combines arena rock, hip hop and indie rock inspiration.
Common lyrical themes include love, family, friends, and relationships. In greater detail, this includes "adolescent aimlessness, broken hearts and general confusion over the care and feeling of girls." Lyrics in singles such as "What's My Age Again?" reflect age and maturity, while more serious compositions such as "Stay Together for the Kids" touch on the subject of divorce. DeLonge said in a 1999 interview that the goal is to remain sincere and relatable, noting that the band takes their lyrics very seriously. Despite this, the band gained a reputation for occasional lyrical toilet humor (Take Off Your Pants and Jacket). As the band members grew older, lyrical themes began to reflect the realities of adulthood, including relationship woes, daily pressures and unexpected hardships, most prominently explored on Blink-182 (2003). On Neighborhoods, darker lyricism continues: themes concerning depression, addiction, loss and death were inspired by Barker's plane crash and the death of producer Jerry Finn.
The band has cited The Cure, the Descendents, Screeching Weasel, Bad Religion, Pennywise, NOFX, The Undertones, The Vandals, and Buzzcocks as influences.
Blink-182 were one of the most popular groups of the turn of the millennium, and spearheaded the second wave of pop punk and its journey into the mainstream. The glossy production instantly set Blink-182 apart from the other crossover punk acts of the era, such as Green Day. Cheshire Cat is often cited by bands and fans as an iconic release and Dude Ranch has been called a "genuine modern punk classic." Enema of the State catapulted the band to stardom, creating what New York described as a "blanket immersion among America's twenty-some million teenagers." At the band's commercial peak, albums such as Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and Enema of the State sold over 14 and 15 million copies worldwide, respectively. The band was featured alongside Green Day, Rancid, Bad Religion, NOFX, and The Offspring in One Nine Nine Four (2009), a documentary examining punk rock in California.
The band never received particularly glowing reviews, with many reviewers dismissing them as a joke act based on the humorous slant of their music videos. British publication NME was particularly critical of the trio, begging them to "fuck right off," and comparing them to "that sanitised, castrated, shrink-wrapped 'new wave' crap that the major US record companies pumped out circa 1981 in their belated attempt to jump on the 'punk' bandwagon." Nevertheless, subsequent reviews of the band's discography have been more positive. Andy Greenwald of Blender wrote, "the quick transformation from nudists to near geniuses is down-right astonishing." James Montgomery of MTV called Blink-182 one of the "most influential bands of the past 20 years," writing, "despite their maturation, Blink never took themselves particularly seriously, which was another reason they were so accessible."
The new generation of punk rock and emo fans found the Blink sound "hugely influential," with Montgomery writing, "... without them, there'd be no Fall Out Boy, no Paramore, or no Fueled by Ramen Records." In 2011, The New York Times asserted that "no punk band of the 1990s has been more influential than Blink-182," stating that even as the band receded after their 2005 split, "its sound and style could be heard in the muscular pop punk of Fall Out Boy or in the current wave of high-gloss Warped Tour punk bands, like All Time Low and The Maine." For example, bands such as Panic! at the Disco and All Time Low originated covering Blink-182 songs. "Anyone in our genre would be lying if they said they weren't influenced by Blink-182," said Joel Madden of Good Charlotte. The band's influence extends beyond pop punk groups, as well: Mumford & Sons, Owl City and Best Coast have acknowledged the band's influence, and critics have noted traits of the band's sound in Japandroids and Wavves.
Mark Hoppus – bass guitar, vocals (1992–2005; 2009–present)
Tom DeLonge – guitar, vocals (1992–2005; 2009–present)
Travis Barker – drums, percussion (1998–2005; 2009–present)
Scott Raynor – drums, percussion (1992–98)
Album: "Flyswatter" (1992)
Point Of View
The Longest Line
Album: "Buddha" (1994)
Romeo & Rebecca
Point Of View
My Pet Sally
Toast & Bananas
The Girl Next Door
Album: "Cheshire Cat" (1994)
Does My Breath Smell
Toast & Bananas
Romeo & Rabecca
Ben Wah Balls
Just About Done
Album: "Dude Ranch" (1997)
A New Hope
Album: "Enema Of The State" (1999)
Don't Leave Me
Going Away To College
What's My Age Again?
All The Small Things
The Party Song
Album: "The Mark, Tom and Travis Show" (The Enema Strikes Back!) (2000)
Don't Leave Me
Going Away to College
What's My Age Again?
All the Small Things
The Country Song
Man Overboard (album version)
Album: "Take Off Your Pants And Jacket" (2001)
Anthem Part 2
Happy Holidays You Bastard
Story Of A Lonely Guy
The Rock Show
Stay Together For The Kids
Everytime I Look For You
Give Me One Good Reason
Please Take Me Home
What Went Wrong [Bonus Track]
Fuck A Dog [Bonus Track]
Time To Break Up [Bonus Track]
Mother's Day [Bonus Track]
Don't Tell Me It's Over [Bonus Track]
When You Fucked Grandpa [Bonus Track]
Album: "Blink 182" (2003)
I Miss You
The Fallen Interlude
All Of This
Here's Your Letter
I'm Lost Without You
Not Now [UK Bonus Track]
Album: "Greatest Hits" (2005)
Dammit (single edit)
Josie (single edit)
What's My Age Again?
All the Small Things (single edit)
The Rock Show
Stay Together for the Kids
I Miss You
Down (single edit)
Another Girl, Another Planet (The Only Ones cover)
Album: "Neighborhoods" (2011)
Ghost On The Dance Floor
Up All Night
Heart's All Gone
This Is Home
Love Is Dangerous
Fighting The Gravity
Even If She Falls
EP: "Dogs Eating Dogs" (2012)
When I Was Young
Dogs Eating Dogs
Pretty Little Girl