Tom DeLonge: Liam Gallagher is the most punk dude I've ever met

Tom DeLonge
Tom DeLonge (Image credit: Getty)

Tom DeLonge says that punk rock has “nothing to do with music at all.”

The former Blink-182 singer and guitarist recalls how his encounters with both the late Joe Strummer from The Clash and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher inspired him to broaden his musical horizons – a move which earned him criticism from his bandmates later in his career.

In an interview for guitar string makers Ernie Ball, DeLonge says of meeting Strummer: “I asked him, ‘What was it like being in The Clash?’

“He goes, ‘You know, we used to go around saying: Fuck you, we’re The Clash, – but now that I think about it, the Talking Heads were pretty fucking cool. Don’t close your mind.’

“I was like, ‘Wow, the King of Punk is telling me: Open your mind up.’”

Two days later DeLonge met Gallagher backstage at a radio show in Detroit – where the Oasis man told Blink-182 they were the “best” band he’d seen in America.

DeLonge adds: “I asked, ‘You like us?’ and Liam said, ‘I didn’t say that, I said, ‘You’re the best I’ve seen in America,’ and he slammed the door. That was the most punk rock dude I’ve ever met in my life.

“I became the biggest Oasis fan after that, and from that day forward I stopped listening to punk rock music and started listening to everything. From meeting Strummer and having that experience with the Oasis dudes, the band exploded and I never looked back. I had my graduation.”

He continues: “You’ll always get the kids that say, ‘You left us’ or ‘You’re not punk anymore,’ or ‘This is punk and that’s not punk.’ It’s something only you as an adult that went through it can look back and say, ‘Your passion is correct, but your definition is wrong.’

“The punk-rock ethos exists in a form where kids can adopt it, become unique, become individuals and celebrate the fact that they’re outcasts. The more of an outcast you become, the better you feel about yourself. You use it in the wrong way when you try to judge other people for not being something.”

Blink-182’s latest album California featuring Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic last month. It was written after the band split with Tom DeLonge last year.

Aug 19: Mansfield Xfinity Center, MA (with A Day To Remember)
Aug 21: Toronto Molson Canadian Amp, ON (with A Day To Remember)
Aug 23: Syracuse Lakeview Amp, NY (with A Day To Remember)
Aug 24: Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, NY (with A Day To Remember)
Aug 25: Scranton Pavilion at Montage Mountain, PA (with A Day To Remember)
Aug 27: Hershey Park Pavilion, PA (with A Day To Remember)
Aug 28: Pittsburgh First Niagara Pavilion, PA (with A Day To Remember)
Aug 30: Clarkston DTE Energy Music Theater, MI (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 02: Hartford Xfinity Theatre, CT (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 03: Bangor Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, ME (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 04: Saratoga Performing Arts Center, NY (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 08: St Paul Xcel Energy Center, MN (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 09: Tinley Park Hollywood Casino Amp, IL (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 10: Noblesville Klipsch Music Center, IN (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 11: St Louis Hollywood Casino Amp, MO (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 13: Denver Pepsi Center, CO (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 15: Boise Taco Bell Arena, ID (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 16: Spokane Arena, WA (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 17: Seattle Key Arena, WA (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 18: Vancouver Abbotsford Centre, BC (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 20: Portland Sunlight Supply Amphitheater, OR (with All-American Rejects)
Sep 22: Salt Lake City USANA Amp, UT (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 24: Phoenix Ak-Chin Pavilion, AZ (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 25: Albuquerque Isleta Amp, NM (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 28: San Francisco Shoreline Amp, CA (with A Day To Remember)
Sep 29: Irvine Meadows Amp, CA (with A Day To Remember)
Oct 01: Los Angeles Forum, CA (with A Day To Remember)
Oct 05: Santa Barbara Bowl, CA (with A Day To Remember)
Oct 06: Save Mart Center, CA (with A Day To Remember)
Oct 07: Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, CA (with A Day To Remember)

The visions of Tom Delonge

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.