Blink-182 aren’t in the hilarious 1999 teen sex comedy American Pie for very long. In total, they get something like 29 seconds of screen time. But it’s a really good 29 seconds, and well worth exploring in what could be deemed excessive detail.
While sometimes cameos are sorted at the last minute, Blink-182 were involved with American Pie not only before production, but before it was called American Pie. In a Canadian interview from 1998, bassist Mark Hoppus tells a reporter, “We have a small part where we’re a band playing in the background. It’s called East Great Falls, and it’s about four high school students that are trying to get laid before they graduate, and we’re like a band playing in one of the scenes and we get a couple of lines.”
Many years later, he said: “We were part of that movie before it was even made, when it was just a script getting circulated around Hollywood. A friend of ours brought it to our attention and I thought it was the funniest script I’d ever seen. I think Tom read for one of the parts, or something like that. We were really proud to be part of that film. It’s awesome.”
This is Tom DeLonge’s second appearance in a movie. He is credited as Thomas M. DeLonge for some reason. His first was a year earlier, when he had one line – “All right!” – as Dave the Burger Jungle employee in the horror comedy Idle Hands.
Plotwise, the unnamed band Blink portray are rehearsing when their attention is called to a link that the film’s protagonist Jim (Jason Biggs) has unwittingly sent to “every mailbox in the East High directory”. The link is to a webcam feed set up to watch exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) getting changed, which then becomes a feed of Jim prematurely ejaculating twice. Blink’s purpose in the movie is to get the idea across that a lot of people are watching. The script originally had a group of stoners in place of a band, with a caged monkey.
The band at this point consist of DeLonge, Hoppus and new recruit Travis Barker. New to the band and decidedly quieter than the other two, with the exception of an in-unison “holy shit”, Barker doesn’t really do much in the film. Awkwardly, in the closing credits of the movie, the wrong drummer is named – it says the garage band is Hoppus, DeLonge and Scott Raynor. Raynor had recently been fired and replaced by Barker, and someone at Universal Pictures didn’t get the memo. (The credit right above the band in the end credits is for the character ‘Computer Nerd’, played by an actor named Travis Cody Aimer, which adds another element to the Travis/Scott confusion above.)
The other guy with them is played by actor Danny Spink. Spink also shows up in the sequel, and later appeared in The Butterfly Effect and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. The monkey is portrayed by animal actor Crystal The Monkey, who probably has the most impressive IMDb page of anyone in American Pie, apart from maybe Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge. Crystal has appeared in George Of The Jungle, both Eddie Murphy Dr Doolittle films, The Hangover Part II and the entire Night At The Museum franchise.
Hoppus is 27 here and DeLonge and Barker are 23. Spink is 20 and the monkey is five.
With “Go Trig-boy, it’s your birthday,” Hoppus is reinterpreting a song by Luther “Luke” Campbell of 2 Live Crew, It’s Your Birthday, from 1994. Luke’s song is a celebration of birthdays, grouping people both by month and zodiac sign in a bid to wish everyone a happy birthday, but in doing so, missing out on a lot – he only names four months and nine star signs. 50 Cent’s In Da Club, which came out in 2003, opens with a similar phrasing, which Luke’s manager attempted to sue 50 Cent for. The case was thrown out. 50 Cent currently produces a TV show called The Oath, which stars singer Christina Milian, who is also in American Pie as a member of the choir. It’s a big loop!
Part of this sequence is accompanied by the Blink-182 song Mutt. This was the second version of Mutt – an earlier version, featuring Raynor on drums, had been recorded for the soundtrack to a surf movie. Re-recording it for the American Pie soundtrack marked both Barker’s first work with Blink that was put down on tape and the band’s first collaboration with producer extraordinaire Jerry Finn.
Finn worked on four albums with Blink, and would still be working with them if not for his tragically early death in 2008 at the age of 39. Finn was responsible for honing and developing how they sounded on record, and the stratospheric success of Enema Of The State – and everything beyond it – owes a great deal to his ears, vision and passion. Funny, enthusiastic and capable of bringing out the very best of everything he worked on, he left an enormous hole in the music industry. "He helped shape the sound and direction of Blink-182, from Enema Of The State all the way through to the end," Hoppus said after Finn’s death. "When my son was born, while everyone else was sending us baby blankets and teddy bears, Jerry and his girlfriend gave him a tiny black leather jacket covered in metal studs and Ramones pins. Every day I spent with Jerry over the past 10 years, I feel like he taught me something new about music, or recording, or life."
Blink-182 are probably the band most associated with the American Pie franchise, which is fair enough given the cameo and soundtrack spot, but their music is only on the first two films. The American Pie 2 soundtrack features Everytime I Look For You, and that’s it. It just came along at a really key time – between filming the cameo and the movie hitting cinemas, Enema Of The State had come out and the What’s My Age Again? video was in heavy rotation, making them very recognisable even with clothes on. There were more whoops of recognition in cinemas than anyone could have anticipated.
And now, 22 years on, thanks to DeLonge’s mission to expose UFOs, Barker being on pretty much every record released this year and Hoppus’ status as one of the most beloved men in music, they’re arguably the most famous people in the whole movie. In the complete opposite situation to what happens to Jim in the film, nobody saw that coming.