The plot of yesterday’s maybe-split between Blink-182 and founding member Tom DeLonge thickens with an interview given by the trio’s other two members, singer/bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker, to Rolling Stone. In the exchange, Hoppus and Barker refute DeLonge’s claims that reports of the break were inaccurate or exaggerated, and let it be known that DeLonge has been holding the group back for some time now. Some of the meatier items learned from the discussion:
- “Tom. Is. Out.” That’s the exact wording of an e-mail that Hoppus says DeLonge’s management sent back to the band about a week before the trio was supposed to hit the studio to start recording a new album. The manager had also said that DeLonge had no interest in recording and wanted to focus on “other, non-musical stuff.”
- Blink’s lack of a label had been an earlier sticking point. Apparently, frustration had mounted between DeLonge and the rest of the band because he had insisted the group, who split with Interscope in 2012, needed a label before recording a new album. “There were huge e-mails [from DeLonge] in all capital letters, ‘WE NEED A LABEL,'” says Hoppus. The bassist says that the three finally signed with a new label this past Christmas Eve, but that Tom still backed out of the group before year’s end.
- Hoppus and Barker are sick of making excuses for DeLonge. “We always covered up for him before,” says Barker. “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.”
- A post-DeLonge future for Blink-182 might be tricky. Hoppus: “There are legalities involved with this. As Tom pointed out, he technically didn’t quit the band. Then it gets all lawyer-y, which I will leave to the attorneys and managers. I just want to go out and play Blink songs. I want to go out and play the songs that we’ve been spending the last 20 years of our lives writing. That’s what Travis and I want to do.”
- History repeats itself. A recurring theme in the interview is that DeLonge’s behavior leading to this most recent fracture is virtually identical to the group’s first breakup a decade earlier. Hoppus refers to the “Tom. Is. Out.” message as “the exact same e-mail we got back in 2004,” and that the timing of his refusal to join the band after booking studio time is “exactly the same sequence of events that happened when Blink broke up 10 years ago.”
Blink-182 will play the Musink festival in March, with Alkaline Trio‘s Matt Skiba replacing DeLonge on guitar and vocals. Whether the band will be able to stay together for the kids after that remains to be seen.
Update: DeLonge has since offered a divide-and-conquer rebuttal over social media, with a since-deleted tweet captured by Revolt: “A year ago Mark and I spent a week on the phone with managers debating parting with Travis… Don’t pretend there isn’t more to the story.”