Forget the fart gags and the world’s worst break-up – the veteran gross-out pop-punk pranksters, back with a mature, “darker” new album, are all matey now.
Hello, Mark. You and the rest of Blink recorded your new album ‘Neighborhoods’ in separate studios. Should we assume, then, that relations are still a bit rocky?
“Oh no! What we would do is we would exchange ideas, we’d record the outlines, the skeletons of songs, and then Tom [DeLonge, guitarist/singer] would take ideas to his studio in San Diego and Travis [Barker, drummer] and I would take ideas to our studio in Los Angeles and we would work on them, then we’d meet up, either later that week, or in a couple of weeks, depending. Then we’d listen to each other’s ideas, make comments and go from there.”
But did it not feel a bit… weird?
“That’s the tension we need in Blink. I think it is the way forward for us. It’s the way we can all work together and explore all of our ideas. In the past, when we’ve all been in the same room, you’re recording your parts while the other guys are sitting around waiting and this way enables each of us to explore every single idea we might have, in our own time, in our own comfort space. One of us will have an idea and then the other one will suggest something different and want to change it. That tension is what makes Blink sound like Blink.”
The band’s break-up was pretty bitter by anyone’s standards. Do you have any regrets over what happened?
“I think it was really necessary for it to happen. It worked out in a really bitter and ugly manner, with a lot of animosity, a lot of ill will going around. But we had to get to this place by going through that disaster. I think we all learned about Blink, we all learned about ourselves and each other and really came to terms with who we are as a band.”
That all sounds very philosophical. So what’s your relationship with Tom like now?
“It’s very different now. Tom and I are still great friends, but when we started out we were kids touring in a van and with a singularity of purpose that we just wanted to play music as fast and as loud as we could. Now we are grown men with families. We still love touring and playing as fast and as loud as we can, of course, but we’re in a different place than we were before, we’re not stuck in a van together for 24 hours a day, we can take breaks and see our families and go on the road and act stupid out there.”
Still making poo jokes now you’re almost 40?
“We’ve had people say to us that they think the songs sound more mature, which is probably right, but we’ve tried to stay away from that word [mature], because every album we’ve released after ‘Enema Of The State’ has been called ‘the mature Blink record’. But I think, lyrically, it’s a little darker than the stuff we normally do, I think the songs are more intricately structured, I think the parts are more well written.”
Did you ever think about being one of those bands who didn’t release new music but toured all the time for money?
“No, never. That’s exactly why we postponed the tour. We were not going to go out on tour and just play old songs. We wanted to remain vital and we wanted to remain current. We never want to be one of those bands that just tours and plays old stuff. For me, and for the other guys in the band, that wouldn’t be exciting and neither would the shows. Believe me, when we were talking about postponing the tours, people were screaming at us going, ‘Just play the old stuff, people won’t care’, but we stood our ground and we said we want better for us and better for the people who come to the shows.”
What was the thing you missed the most in the years off from the band?
“I think I missed the most what Travis and Tom both bring to Blink-182, I missed the tension between the three of us, the creativity that comes from the fact that we all bring different things to the band and we’re all so very different from each other. And anytime I would write a song outside of Blink, I would always think, ‘How would Tom play guitar on this?’ and I can’t ever second-guess what he’s going to do. So that exchange of ideas was what I missed the most.”
How does it feel reading that you’ve been a huge influence on a new generation of bands?
“It’s a huge honour. When people say that we’ve influenced a band in any way that’s awesome. I still feel like we’re trying to find our own sound, so if we inspire other bands to do something, then that’s a huge compliment.”