Blink-182 are back! Last week we learned the trio, now made up of Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker and Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba, will release their first full-length LP without founding guitarist Tom DeLonge on July 1, the 182nd day of the year. It's called California (literally what is more pop-punk?) and is produced by our favorite guy, Goldfinger frontman John "Feldy" Feldmann (5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low, Good Charlotte.) He has big shoes to fill: After their career-spanning producer Jerry Finn passed in 2008, Blink have been on a long journey of finding out who to trust...and who they are in the modern era.
We hopped on the phone with Feldy to learn all about the first single from the record, "Bored to Death," a new chapter in the Blink story.
"Bored to Death" just dropped. Is that an accurate reading of what the rest of California is going to be like?
I would say yes in so much as we made a classic Blink record and that is a classic Blink song. That, to me, is a hybrid of [their 2004] self-titled [record] and Enema of the State. The album definitely pulls from all that. We even have some Dude Ranch moments, Cheshire Cat moments. We really went back. I'm such a fan, I studied their records a couple weeks prior to starting and we made a very classic Blink record. It's a good indication of what's to come.
Is there a story behind the song?
Of course! It's Blink one-eighty-fucking-two. I've been in a band long enough where Blink opened for Goldfinger. I've known those guys forever, back in the early, early days we toured with them. Watching them grow and become who they are, watching Travis become who he is...this is the shit of legends. When I was growing up it was Keith Moon driving a Rolls Royce into a pool dressed as a Nazi, crazy shit. Not to say Travis has done any of those things, but living through everything he's lived through [surviving a plane crash in 2008]...every single person on that plane being dead...living through that moment, who the fuck lives through that? He's a survivor. Sixty percent of his body burned! A lot of people would've just quit and said, 'I'm done. I've got money.' Travis could've just quit. He didn't need to keep going. Instead he became more of a workaholic and more into his instrument and his career more so than ever. He's become a better drummer, which is impossible because he was already the best drummer, but he beat himself after this crazy shit happened to him.
[With "Bored to Death,"] I came up with an idea for a chorus. I played it for Mark [Hoppus.] I know Mark but I definitely felt like I was auditioning. They were like, 'Show us what you got because we've already written 30 songs, what are you going to help with?' Mark liked it but changed it, he re-wrote it and came up with that "Life is too short to last long" line. It gave me goosebumps on the spot. I thought, "This is it." In my mind I knew I had the job. Then he started playing bass chords and I was like, "Fuck, I'm in love with this guy." That was the first song we did together as a group. [Matt] Skiba came in, he's the new guy, he liked that Mark liked it. He wrote the whole second verse. He came in and sang it in one pass, he's that kind of guy. He crushed it in one take. At the end of the track Travis asked, "Why don't you give me one minute of click and let me just play whatever the fuck I want?" which is how the ending of the song becomes this big crescendo of Travis Barker with these strings and Matt Skiba gang vocals.
["Bored to Death"] was the song where we knew if we got it right, we were going to get it all right. I don't know much about hip-hop but I asked Travis, "Whatever you would do in a hip-hop session, play that in the song." That's how he played that epic drum and bass thing in the verses. It sounded so special, right way.
That Mark Hoppus lyric, "Life's too short to last long." Is that a pre-ejaculation joke? A classic Blink dick joke?
I didn't even think about it! It could be about jacking off, I don't fucking know! I got goosebumps from the line because the whole point of the song is, like, "What does the future hold?" We've got a new member, we're going on the road again for a real tour, with a real label with a real, new album. That song started from a heartfelt place. Mark is probably the smartest guy I've ever met. He could be an English professor at Oxford. He could have that job in the future. Sometimes he writes shit that I get goosebumps because it means something to me but in the back of his mind he's going like, "Haha, it's about jacking off."