February 29, 2016


John Feldmann On Blink-182: Travis Barker Is 'The Best Drummer To Have Ever Lived'

John Feldmann (@johnfeldy on Instagram)
John Feldmann (@johnfeldy on Instagram)

Last weekend marked the 20-year anniversary of Goldfinger's debut full-length. Back then, powerhouse producer John Feldmann was making his talent known, penning songs that were full-on punk rock cloaked in unapologetic pop melodies. It became his trademark; you knew when you're listening to a Feldy record. 

Two decades later, the man is still not slowing down, working with everyone form All Time Low and 5 Seconds of Summer to...Blink-182? It's true! Feldmann is producing the band's next LP, their first without founding guitarist Tom DeLonge (Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba has stepped in). We called Feldy to learn what we can expect from the release. It might surprise you.

FUSE: What's working on the new album been like?
Feldmann: There was a task at hand. It's a new version of Blink, so it can't be Alkaline Trio. It can't be a Blink cover band with Matt [Skiba] trying to sound like Tom [DeLonge] and me trying to recreate something. It needed to be something in the new zone, a new band, but keep the legacy going because I love Blink. I want that fun. My wife said early on, 'When I think of Blink, I think of going to have a good time and partying and having a great, fun show.' Keeping that essence of her being a fan, I wanted to have all that. It's been a great experience, overall, positive.

You're a big-drums guy. What's it been like working with Travis Barker?
I'm a huge fan of drummers. I saw Stewart Copeland [of The Police,] who is one of my favorite drummers, last year. He's an older gent. I don't think he really cares as much as he used to so as a kid, never having seen the Police—no, that's not true, I saw Synchronicity when I was in high school and he was fucking great—but it's just different. After working with Travis, I think he may be the best drummer to have ever lived. [Led Zeppelin's] John Bonham was great. He was fantastic. Dave Grohl, even when he plays with Queens of the Stone Age, you know it's Dave but Travis has this thing where he loves hip-hop so much. When I'm like, 'If you were in an EDM band, what would you play to make this chorus explode?,' and he plays the drums like I programmed it. It's very bizarre. The way he can stylistically move from one genre to the next, flawlessly, to take a real punk rock song and bridge into some dubstep moment that you would never even think it was dubstep...but in my head when I hear him play it I'm like, 'What the fuck is that?'—no one can do that. No one can do what he does.

It's a two-way street. He loves hip-hop and that community has really embraced him.
He's homeys with all those guys—DreEminemKendrick Lamar, everybody. He's tight with everybody. It's crazy. 

Have you known the Blink guys for a while?
Blink opened for [Goldfinger] in '95 at the Troubadour [in Los Angeles]. We did a tour with them, a SnoCore, which was [Warped Tour founder] Kevin Lyman's thing. It was sort of at the beginning on Warped Tour, must've been '97. It was a snowboarding tour. We were headlining, Reel Big Fish right before us, then Blink. They were the opening band. That was a three-week tour. I definitely spent time with them. That was before Travis [Barker] joined the band. The Aquabats opened for Goldfinger for four-to-six months on a tour with Save Ferris, and Travis would ride with us on the bus. I had known Travis from the Barn in Riverside. He'd be in his Aquabats costume, crowdsurfing, handing out flyers for the Aquabats, full promoter. Back then he was a teenager hanging with us. When I first started dating my wife in '96, '97, she was on the road with us so we'd known him for 20 years. 

Working with them must be easy. You know them pretty well.
I hadn't talked to any of them for at least 12 or 13 years. I had never worked with them professionally. We were part of the same pop-punk bands from the '90s. I worshipped Jerry Finn, who was their one and only producer their whole career. I'm sure part of it was that I'm more of a peer than I am someone who could be looked to as a mentor and a partner. I'm probably four or five years older than those dudes, so it ended up working out amazingly.

Revisit our interview with Feldy about the 20th anniversary of Goldfinger's self-titled debut album right here.