July 1st, the 182nd day of the year
Things in the Blink-182 camp have been pretty wild...and definitely drama-filled. It all started on January 26, 2015, when a report surfaced that founding guitarist Tom DeLonge left the band. Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba filled in for the pop-punk icon at drummer Travis Barker's 2015 Musink Festival in Orange County, California. It was soon uncovered that DeLonge was no longer part of the group; the question became why did he leave? Was he kicked out?
DeLonge tried to clarify things with a Facebook post:
"To all the fans, I never quit the band. I actually was on a phone call about a blink 182 event for New York City at the time all these weird press releases started coming in... Apparently those releases were 'sanctioned' from the band. Are we dysfunctional- yes. But, Christ..... #Awkward."
"I never quit the band. Actually, I was on the phone discussing a possible Blink-182 event in New York City when I heard the 'news.' The ONLY truth here is that I have commitments that limit my availability this year. I love Blink-182 and I'm not leaving."
The following day, it was revealed that bassist Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker no longer had any interest in continuing to work with DeLonge. Barker was perhaps the most brash in an interview with Rolling Stone:
"It's hard to cover for someone who's disrespectful and ungrateful. You don't even have the balls to call your bandmates and tell them you're not going to record or do anything Blink-related. You have your manager do it. Everyone should know what the story is with him and it's been years with it. When we did get back together after my plane crash, we only got back together, I don't know, maybe because I almost died. But he didn't even listen to mixes or masterings from that record. He didn't even care about it. Why Blink even got back together in the first place is questionable."
A few weeks later, Tom DeLonge released a solo song, "New World," effectively confirming what we feared to be true: He was out of the band and working on other stuff. Only a few weeks after that, when Matt Skiba performed with Blink for the first time since DeLonge's departure, Barker made it known that he loved the new lineup, telling Billboard:
"In San Diego during our encore, kids were chanting 'Skiba, Skiba.' It was awesome. I'm glad we did them too because this is a lot of people just to walk out in front of for the first time. It went off just like I thought it would. It was definitely a great feeling to see what I was feeling was reassured by the crowd response and by feedback via the Internet and social media."
Soon after, Hoppus compared DeLonge's departure to a "friendly divorce" in Entertainment Weekly:
"This time when we got the call that Tom was out and that he didn't want to do Blink anymore, it was almost like, 'Oh, okay.' I was crushed because we were set to go into the studio and we were set to do all these things and I was bummed that Tom doesn't want to do Blink. It's like, man, you have this huge, beautiful thing that we spent 20 years building and you just walk away from it...Tom was my best friend for years and years. The thing is, if you think about the people that you were friends with at the end of high school and the beginning of college…how many of those people are you still friends with? We've been in the same van and bus and airplane and backstage room and stage for 20-something years."
In July, Hoppus and Barker revealed that Skiba would become an indefinite member of Blink-182 and that the new trio was in the studio, working on new tunes. Still, there's a part of Tom that feels his story in the band isn't over. He told NME:
"I loved that band, I started that band. That's me. I named the band - that shi*t came from me. [Being in Blink] cannot be the only thing in my life, or can it be the absolute priority. But can it be a part of my life? Absolutely. I love that band. I could not do anything that I'm doing now without the fans of that band. If I did not have the fans of Blink, I would not exist."
When asked if he would ever join Mark and Travis if the opportunity arose, he said:
"No, no, it's much more complex than that. It has to map up with everybody's life. I think if all the roads that we're traveling connect at the same intersection, which is usually a location and a date, then we're good...We haven't spoken since all that shit's gone down - but that's not un-normal. The Rolling Stones would go three years without talking to each other, then Mick and Keith would be hugging and saying 'fuck I missed you'. It's just how it works."
In September, Mark Hoppus shared new songs titles and ideas in a cryptic Instagram. The following January, at the very top of 2016 (also on Instagram) we learned that Goldfinger frontman and pop-punk powerhouse producer John "Feldy" Feldmann was working on the Blink's new record. You might know his work from All Time Low, The Used, Good Charlotte and 5 Seconds of Summer titles.
In an interview with PunkVideosRock.com at Travis Barker's annual Musink Festival, the Blink-182 drummer told host RobertHerrera3 that the new album is complete! He said, "It’s just a matter of picking what 12 to 14 songs are gonna be on the album. I think we wrote 26 or 27 — so right now everyone’s just pushing for their favorites.” Get ready, guys!
A few weeks later the band shared what might be the official album art. The images arrived in a series of Instagram posts, check them out here. Turns out they were the clues to the image. Hooray!
On April 2016, after the first song from the album, "Bored to Death" leaked with the official lyric video, Blink-182 as it exists now, Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker and Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba paid a visit to KROQ to release the track officially and explain what happened. They did one better: They revealed the album will drop on July 1st, the 182nd day of the year, and that it's titled California. How fitting!
The following day, April 28, Blink paid yet another visit to KROQ to announce the album's tracklist (see below.) The official art surfaced (above) and they announced a huge North American tour with All Time Low, A Day to Remember and the All-American Rejects. See all the dates here.
It's hard to know what the album will sound like for certain, but Feldy told us in an interview that we can expect classic Blink, but upgraded. He explained:
"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."
There might even be some EDM and dubstep influence in there? Or hip-hop? Definitely some genre-melding. When describing Barker's incredible talent he told us:
"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."
If anything, we know what it won't sound like: Barker told YouTube personality Mr. Wavvy that when Tom was still in Blink, he wanted to group to mature into a U2, Coldplay-esque sound. The guys didn't want that and are staying true to their essence.
After organizing a karaoke press night in their native Los Angeles April 29 (you can read our interview with the band here,) the Blink boys sat down with Forbes to talk about their new music and we can an inside look into some more sounds. Mark Hoppus told the publication:
"Well songs like 'Rabbit Hole,' that have this big anthemic gang vocal at the end of it. There’s a song called 'No Future,' there are a lot of really energetic, anthemic, angst-y fun rock songs I can’t wait to play live. This album is really rich with sing-along melodies and sing-along choruses. When I go to a show I want to sing along with the band. I still have that energy of going to see Bad Religion at the Palladium and wanting to sing every single word and I think this album has a lot of that for people."
On April 27, 2016, the first song from the record, "Bored to Death," leaked. Hours later the band officially released the single and lyric video, you can watch/listen below. It's important to note that this is our very first taste of Blink post-Tom DeLonge. The next day they shared, "Built This Pool," a 15-second track that has Hoppus scream-singing "I wanna see some naked dudes / That's why I built this pooooool."
On June 7, the band revealed they were going to drop another new track, bright and early, via Zane Lowe's Apple Music Beats 1 program. On June 8 the world was gifted "Rabbit Hole," a shiny, summery pop-punk tune. Check it out below.
2. Bored to Death
3. She's out of Her Mind
4. Los Angeles
6. Built This Pool
7. No Future
8. Home Is Such a Lonely Place
9. Kings of the Weekend
10. Teenage Satellites
11. Left Alone
12. Rabbit Hole
13. San Diego
14. The Only Thing That Matters
16. Brohemian Rhapsody
John Feldmann - Duh. When you work with the superstar producer, you're definitely collaborating with him, too.
David Hodges - Of Evanescence fame! Hodges now works as a songwriter (he's responsible for some of the darker moments on 5 Seconds of Summer's Sounds Good Feels Good), and has been seen in the studio with Matt Skiba and Feldmann.
Got that? Good. Now check out some of our other complete guides:
- The 1975 Complete Guide: Everything You Need To Know
- The Complete Guide to Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo Album
- The Complete Guide to 5 Seconds of Summer's Sounds Good Feels Good
- The Complete Guide to Zayn Malik's Debut Solo Album, Mind of Mine