Note by Andres: The majority of this editorial has absolutely nothing to do with Green Day. I know it will somehow frustrate some of you that we'd spend time on another band on our site. Worry not, you can go spend 10 minutes in the photos section looking at Green Day or reading one of our nearly 4,000 other news entries about Green Day. But really, you should read this. @jack__yates did a pretty awesome job writing it up.
Before I start, let me make one thing perfectly clear — I love Blink. I have in my music library both their deep, unknown cuts and the radio anthems that have become pop-punk classics. I consider 2001's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket a front-to-back masterpiece within its genre (check out "Online Songs," "Stay Together for the Kids," and "Please Take Me Home" if, by some miracle, you haven't already). I fully commend and respect them for making pop-punk so accessible and fun for the masses during its decade-long hay day. If there were a Grammy for "Most Well-Placed Dick Jokes in a Catalogue," Blink-182 would win that shit, no problem. Their musical humor aside, Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and (especially) Travis Barker are all tremendous musicians and brilliant songwriters within their realm, and have undoubtedly written some of the most recognizable and catchy pop-rock riffs of their time. With the deserved accolades now out of the way, here are my thoughts about the current state of the band.
Though a fair amount of our readers are probably familiar with Blink-182, I'll give a brief summary of the band's tensions here; my reaction makes no sense without the background. Tom DeLonge, the co-lead singer and lead guitarist, left the band indefinitely in early 2005 over recording disputes and a desire to spend time with family amidst an arduous touring schedule. This lead bassist/singer Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker to form their own amazing side project, +44. The band as a whole did not speak again until a tragic plane crash nearly took Barker's life in 2008. The band recorded their 2011 comeback full-length release, Neighborhoods, completely separate from one other, sending song files back and forth. Tensions between the three band members rose during the release process of their 2012 Christmas EP, Dogs Eating Dogs, when recording was repeatedly disrupted.
Now, just yesterday, countless major music outlets reported on a press release effectively stating that Tom DeLonge had quit the band. After DeLonge himself posted on Instagram that he'd "never quit," Hoppus and Barker did an impromptu Rolling Stone interview that set the record straight and an extremely interesting look into the overall mindset of the band). Travis Barker had this to say about DeLonge: "It's hard to cover for someone who's disrespectful and ungrateful. You don't even have the balls to call your bandmates and tell them you're not going to record or do anything Blink-related. You have your manager do it."
It looked as if 2015 would be a huge year for Blink. They were working out the specifics of a forthcoming new album, which sounded as if it would be a triumphant return to their mid-2000's stylings. A world tour was almost sure to follow, with a select few dates even booked for this spring. Now, it looks as if Blink-182 may not truly be Blink-182 ever again. Hoppus and Barker equivocally say that they're interested in furthering the band they've been part of for 20 years, but DeLonge ever taking part again seems completely out of the question after yesterday's events. Meanwhile, he has posted a lengthy open letter about the situation, attempting to credit his departure to his "finding it hard as hell to commit." Blink-182's engagements this spring will include Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba as a replacement for DeLonge. Beyond that, however, the promised new album and a successful future at all are both in doubt.
A recurring theme with roots in all of the band's turbulence: they've grown up. They each have families of their own that have taken up the space formerly reserved for the testosterone-fueled bonds that brought them together. Friendships based on filthy humor, insane antics and fast punk music haven't lasted into adulthood for the three members. In their prime, Blink-182 did what they did extremely well, but they can no longer agree on exactly how or when to do it. The idea really isn't so far-fetched when you think about it. All three have matured, each branching out musically in unique ways through countless other projects and endeavors. So, with busy schedules contributing to a complete lack of time to spend together, it isn't hard to see how the coordination of new Blink projects could devolve into sorry, impersonal exchanges between managers and agents. When things go wrong, as they did on such a monumental scale yesterday, this lack of communication becomes even more toxic and dangerous to the very fiber of the band itself.
Green Day, without a doubt, have never been a novelty band to the extent that Blink-182 were. While still a pop-punk group, Green Day is located on the opposite end of the genre's spectrum among the more roots-oriented punk groups. Sure, Green Day have enjoyed their fair share of onstage antics, joke songs and the like in the past, but it has always been more about the music. Billie Joe doesn't write radio singles about masturbation anymore, and presumably, he realizes that people no longer expect him to. Green Day's music was always the focus, from when Billie Joe and Mike first performed in the late eighties to when American Idiot became the band's second mega-hit album. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the personal relationships that support and make up Green Day have never deteriorated to the point of complete collapse, as those behind Blink-182 seem to have done. Billie Joe, Mike and Tré have never fallen out of touch with each other indefinitely, never publicly broken up, and certainly never bashed one another through managerial press releases. Their families are friends who hang out together and make dedicated efforts to publicly support each other, rather than tossing veiled insults in public view. You'd never see Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge exchanging Instagram selfies like Billie Joe and Mike did last night! Blink-182 and Green Day handled adulthood in two wildly different ways. In these efforts lies the difference between a band's bright future and the lack of one altogether.
Written by @jack__yates