The internet is an all-powerful tool when it comes to promoting your band, but, in the wrong hands it can be harmful. Last night, the three members of Blink-182 became embroiled in a debacle of epic proportions.
If you’re into pop-punk, the idea of Tom Delonge leaving Blink is as big as Bruce leaving Iron Maiden after the Fear Of The Dark tour. Massive band has even bigger falling out? It happens all the time. But it’s the details of this particular story that make for interesting reading.
Let’s get up to speed. Blink-182 have been confirmed for the eight annual Musink festival, which will take place in Orange County, California this March. It was an easy gig for them to get – it’s drummer Travis Barker’s music and tattoo bash. But when the poster for the event was posted on the internet yesterday, they were billed as Blink-182 with Matt Skiba, the velvet-larynxed crooner from Alkaline Trio. Cool! Blink-182 with special guest Matt Skiba! Ace! Not so.
Scene blog Property of Zack released a statement on behalf of bassist Mark Hoppus and Barker. In it, they revealed that Delonge had bailed on all forthcoming Blink projects, both on the road and in the studio. They were due to start work on the follow-up to 2011’s Neighborhoods in the first week of January, but that fell by the wayside. But once that statement went online, fans tripped over themselves in the confusion.
Delonge replied by posting an Instagram pic of Jay Maynard – the tubby, moustachioed dude, web-famous for his homemade Tron outfit. With it, Delonge explained that he didn’t quit the band and the internet imploded. Was the original statement fake? Why did that man make a Tron outfit? What’s happening?
But the fact of the matter is that Tom is not in Blink-182 anymore. Sort of. Last night, US magazine Rolling Stone posted an interview with Hoppus and Barker. In it, the duo point out that Delonge hasn’t legally left the band, but he’s just not concerned with doing anything with them at the moment. They also described him as ‘disingenuous’ and ‘ungrateful’. Ouch. To be fair, he’s released Angels & Airwaves’ fifth studio album, The Dream Walker, and is understandably focusing on that. But after reading that interview, you get the feeling that he’s holding his Blink bandmates over a barrel in the meantime. And they say friendship is a lost art.
But let’s be frank about this, Delonge has long been misguided about his role in the wider world of rock music. I don’t think he understands that standing in a Jesus Christ pose and blathering on like Bono at an Angels & Airwaves show is far more embarrassing and cringeworthy than that Blink song about bestiality.
Perhaps Tom suffers from ‘serious artiste syndrome’ when in reality, he’s a guy in a band that broke through by taking their clothes off in a rock video.
Just to clear things up, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001) and their 2003 self-titled follow-up are as good as music gets. But you can’t stroke your chin to it like you’re listening to The Black Keys. Delonge has long struggled with being that guy.
Mark Hoppus, on the other hand, is an intelligent man who loves and embraces his role as the eternal clown prince of pop punk. That’s why we all think he’s a fucking hero. Travis Barker? He could play for just about any band he wants, but he loves his place in one of the biggest pop punk acts in the world.
Tom, however, gives the impression that’d he rather be anywhere else. It’s for this reason, that the events of the last 24 hours have been a little easier to swallow.
His live performances – both singing and playing – have been scrutinised for years and the idea of Skiba not coming in like a pneumatic drill on I Miss You will be much appreciated. The internet has made this fractious moment in their career far more public than it had to be. While it’s exciting to think about Skiba singing Blink songs in the short-term, it’s impossible not to think that this will be a fatal blow to the long-term future of the band.
Why Delonge face? Because the internet can suck sometimes.