Seriously, Blink-182 Is Growing Up
"I think we would have gone down with the ship if we hadn't challenged ourselves to be a better band," Delonge says. "I think when bands don't do that is when they just end up rehashing or putting out the same record over and over again and then no one cares anymore.
"Punk rock is so easy to do that with because the music by itself is by nature a pretty simplistic form of music," he points out, "but the bands that are really good in that genre are the ones that have incorporated other styles of music into that form. If we would have done the same record again, not only would it have helped the demise of the genre, it would have definitely accelerated ours."
Among the album's notable experiments: the brooding "Asthenia" (the title refers to physical and mental deterioration that affects astronauts during lengthy missions) and "I Miss You," a multitracked ballad that topped Billboard's modern-rock singles chart and reached No. 15 on the mainstream pop chart. "It's got about 70 tracks of instruments, all of which are organic/acoustic, none of them plugged-in," Delonge says proudly.
The most unusual track may be "All of This," with guest vocals by the Cure's Robert Smith, the king of romantic gloom and goth-rock despair. Turns out Blink-182's expansive musical tastes embraced the Cure and the members invited Smith to contribute his unique voice to a song Delonge says was inspired by the Cure's 20-year-old song "Love Cats."
"We just sent it over and he did the vocal and sent it back," Delonge says. "To be honest, we weren't even sure it was going to happen because he was taking so much time with it. We were literally hours from having to turn [the masters] in to the factory when it showed up. It gave us all goose bumps to hear Robert's voice on our record, to hear his voice on another song, and to come to the realization that we actually wrote the music to it, because it sounds like a Cure song. We were jumping for joy when it was all said and done."
Perhaps more surprising was the spread In Style magazine did earlier this year on the four-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot home in a gated community north of San Diego where Delonge lives with his interior designer wife, Jennifer (incidentally, his high-school sweetheart), and young daughter, Ava. The magazine noted a signed print, the aptly numbered "B-182" from the Pablo Picasso's legendary Vollard Suite, done between 1930 and 1937 for the French art dealer Ambrose Vollard, who commissioned and published them. It hangs above the fireplace.
In Style was also impressed with the Delonges' entrepreneurship. Jennifer operates Papier Moderne, a high-end boutique specializing in wedding announcements, invitations and stationery, while Tom has several operations going, including a clothing line, Atticus, and shoe company, Macbeth.
"Years ago, Mark [Hoppus] and I started a Web site called Loserkids.com as something to do in our spare time," Delonge explains. The site catered to both Blink fans and a wider punk/skateboard community, selling skate and punk clothing and accessories. Hoppus and Delonge actually started with a T-shirt company, "which grew into a holding company called Atticus, which is actually doing quite well," he says. "As it grew, we brought in a friend, Dylan Anderson, to run it. He came from a shoe company, so we started a shoe company, Macbeth. We have real estate ventures, some technology. We're involved in a lot of different things."
The name of their company? "RLP, for Really Likable People," Delonge says. "It sounds impressive, but what's impressive is we have the ability and the drive to do a lot of creative, interesting things. There's actually a lot of entrepreneurial spirit that exists in the band," he says, pointing to drummer Barker, who owns an independent label (La Salle) and clothing line (Famous Stars and Straps) and recently opened his own franchise in the Wahoo's Fish Taco restaurant chain.
And yet they still have time to make records and tour.
BLINK-182 -- Appearing Friday at Nissan Pavilion with No Doubt. • To hear a free Sound Bite from Blink-182, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8101. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
On their new album, Blink-182's Mark Hoppus, left, Travis Barker and Tom Delonge act more their age.