link-182 was started in 1992 by Tom Delonge (vocals/guitar), Mark Hoppus (bass) and Scott Raynor (drums). This carnoonish punk rock outfit started when they met in college and began distributing demo material around to A&R men at indie labels, leading to them releasing their own Buddha (1994) album featuring much of their demo work collected into it. Their quest for a label remained unsuccessful by the time they released their second self-financed effort Chesire Cat (1995) while still under their original name Blink. But it wouldn't be long that the growing radius of knowledge floated across the sea to the point that an older Irish group under the same name pressured them to change theirs, so they added 182, the 182 supposedly being adopted as the number of times Al Pachino said "fuck" in the movie Scarface.
Dick Lips was the college anthem that helped make their Dude Ranch CD such a success in 1997 and allowing it to climb to 67 US Touring with similarly modeled acts Green Day and NOFX didn't hurt their prospects either. This success got them the attention of 'MCA' who, after a bidding war with 'Interscope' and 'Epitaph', signed them with the offer of artistic freedom.
Travis Barker (ex-Aquabats/ex-Psycho Butterfly) replaced Raynor when he was fired for his drinking habits in time to release Enema Of The State in October of 1999. The album went double platinum making 9 US/15 UK positioning Blink-182 as the most popular punk rock act of the time. The album featured porn actress Janine scantily clad in a nurses uniform for art, not to mention the video for the punk rock rant track What's My Age Again? that showed the band running naked through L.A. and earned them a cameo appearance in the teen movie American Pie. Their follow-up albums continued on the "naked" themes with their first live effort (presumably with them fully clothed) called the Mark, Tom and Travis Show - The Enema Strikes Back (2000) and their biggest charting success to date Take Off Your Pants And Jacket (2001) at 1 US/4 UK proving yet again that these spiky haired punk rock party animals loved to take off their clothes and romp through the park.
Blink-182's hit singles The rock Show, Stay Together for the Kids and First Date continued the band's mainstream success worldwide, with MTV cementing their image as video stars. The act would subsequently win 'Best rock Act' at the 2001 MTV Europe Music Awards and were nominated at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. Finn returned to produce the record and was a key architect of the "polished" pop punk rock sound. His efforts went further than production, as he part adviser, part impartial observer, he helped smooth out tensions and hone their sound.
Tensions: Those tensions grew. Recording sessions were sometimes contentious, as DeLonge strove for heavier guitar-driven rock. With time off from touring, DeLonge felt an "itch to do something where he didn't feel locked in to what Blink was," and channeled his chronic back pain and resulting frustration into Box Car Racer (2002), a post-hardcore disc that further explored his Fugazi and Refused inspirations. Refraining from paying for a studio drummer, he invited Barker to record drums on the project and left Hoppus feeling betrayed. The event caused division within the trio for some time and an unresolved tension at the forefront of the band's later hiatus. Barker also explored hip-hop influences and teamed up with Rancid's Tim Armstrong to form the rap-core outfit Transplants.
Blink-182's fifth album came in 2003. Utilizing experimental elements in their pop punk rock sound and inspired by lifestyle changes (the band members all became fathers before the album was released) and side projects, their eponymous album would arrive that fall through 'Geffen Records', who had absorbed 'MCA' earlier that year. Critics generally complimented the new, more "mature" direction taken for the release, while the singles Feeling This and I Miss You charted high; the latter becoming the group's second number one hit on the Billboard Modern rock Tracks chart. Fans had mixed feelings over the new direction, however. Tensions within the band resurfaced from the grueling schedule and DeLonge's desire to spend more time with his family.
'Geffen' issued a press release in February 2005 announcing the band's "indefinite hiatus." The break up occurred after arguments between the band members regarding their future and recording process commenced. DeLonge was upset over his creative freedom within the group and the lack of time he could spend with his family due to the touring schedule. Hoppus and Barker, for their parts, were upset by his decision as they thought he was taking too long of a break. In addition, DeLonge protested the idea of Barker's future reality television series that was being produced for a 2005 premiere.
During this time, Hoppus and Barker continued playing music together in a band called +44. The recording of the electronic demos were done in Barker's basement and Hoppus' dining room. +44's debut, When Your Heart Stops Beating, was released the following year but failed commercially with mixed reviews.
Barker starred in the MTV reality series Meet the Barkers with his then-wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler. Their subsiquent split, reconciliation and final breakup made them tabloid favorites. Meanwhile, DeLonge disappeared from public eye, making no appearances or interviews and generally 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.
The band members did not speak until August 2008 when 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 4-8 hour blood transfusions. Hoppus was alerted about Barker's accident by a phone call in the middle of the night and jumped on the next flight to the burn center. DeLonge found out via the TV news at an airport while waiting to board a flight, later saying, "Instantly after the plane crash, I was like, 'Hey, I want to play music with him again.'" The trio eventually met up in the hospital, laying the grounds for what was going to be the band's reunion. Eventually, the band appeared for the first time on stage together in nearly five years as presenters at the February 2009 Grammy Awards. The self-produced Neighborhoods followed in 2011.
The reformation was not always a happy one, however. Tensions continued between Barker and DeLonge especially. Finally, in 2015 Hoppus and Barker decided to remove DeLonge from the picture, and brought Alkaline Trio vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba to complete three shows; he would join as a permanent member after the legal issues with DeLonge were settled. The resulting next album, California (2016), saw the act at the top of the charts again, and the first time in the UK. A deluxe edition of California, essentially a double album including songs left off the original album, was issued in 2017.
The band signed a 16-date residency with Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The shows, known as "Kings of the Weekend," was to take place on select weekends between May 26, 2018 to November 17, 2018, but several of the shows had to be either rescheduled or cancelled after Barker developed blood clots in his arms.
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Left to right: Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker,and Tom DeLonge in 2011. Photo by: IllaZilla.
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|RRCA File Code||UC000378|