Pity the fans of pop-punk band Blink-182. In the course of two days, they have found out that their favorite band’s singer and guitar player, Thomas Delonge, was out of the group “indefinitely,” only to hear from DeLonge himself that he was still an active member and had never quit.
Blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker announced the news on Monday that the third member was out of the band for the foreseeable future. They named Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio as his replacement for the upcoming Orange County Festival, which the group is headlining.
Disappointment for Blink-182’s faithful led to a surge of newfound hope when, just hours after the statement by Hoppus and Barker, DeLonge himself responded, saying that he had not quit the band. His statement said that he had actually been in the middle of talking about a possible New York City show for the band when he learned that he had quit. He explained that his availability to play with the group this year was limited by “commitments,” and nothing more. Posting on social media later, DeLonge referred to the initial statement by the other two members of the band as “weird” and wondered whether it had even been true.
As fans breathed a sigh of relief, Rolling Stone published an interview with Hoppus and Barker which seemed to put a definitive end to the conjecture. Among the adjectives the two use to describe the third member of Blink-182 are “disingenuous” and “ungrateful.” Barker also confessed that it was only due to the plane crash he survived in 2008 that the band reunited after the last break they took from each other in 2005.
According to Hoppus and Barker, DeLonge had not spoken to either one of them for months and had been communicating only via e-mail. Although the two men say they have spent almost two years trying to make a new Blink-182 record, DeLonge refused to use any of his own money to do so and would record only if they signed a major recording contract. Both men interviewed claim to have undergone extreme measures to get DeLonge to agree to record new music, to no avail. As it turns out, DeLonge had not actually quit Blink-182, and Hoppus and Barker admitted they had simply grown tired of covering for DeLonge’s absences, especially given the fact that it was his manager who called the band to tell them of his inability/unwillingness to make new music or perform with the band.
The last strike – for now – occurred on DeLonge’s Facebook page in a post addressed to “The Fans,” in which he says that he was not happy with the timetable offered in the contract for a new album, saying that completing it in six months would be “impossible.” He also balked at a nine-month delay before he could release a new album with his other project, Angels & Airwaves. He explains that he told his bandmates he would “be engaged and work passionately,” but that ultimately, they were not as committed to a new album as he was. DeLonge makes it clear that he has no intention to quit Blink-182, adding that he “still care[s] deeply for [Hoppus and Barker],” even though their relationship is now “poisoned.”
Blink-182 is scheduled to headline the last day of the three-day, Barker-co-owned MusInk Tattoo & Music Festival, which will take place in Costa Mesa beginning March 20 at the Orange County Fair & Events Center. The remaining two members of the band will take the stage with DeLonge’s replacement. As for going forward sans their former bandmate, they vow to do what they have wanted to do all along: “play shows, record music….and have a good time doing it,” which may be the best news for Blink-182 fans yet.
By Jennifer Pfalz
Image by Jen – License