It’s been nearly 30 years since blink-182 first took us to Sombrero, and we still want to go to the rock show with our favorite Warped Tour band.
Despite all their irreverent teen-like antics, nobody can deny blink-182 is one of the most influential pop-punk bands to come out of the ’90s. With their radio friendly and upbeat melodies, catchy hooks, high energy shows and infectious attitude, they are among the most recognized names in the music biz, which explains why their shows in Inglewood Thursday night and in Irvine Aug. 27 are so highly anticipated.
Just like with any band with longevity, blink’s history includes good times and some not-so-good moments. They’ve survived loss, heartbreaks, plane crashes, lineup changes–and unbelievable success. Despite that jambalaya of an existence, band members remain well-grounded and wickedly funny. Indeed, aside from the great tunes and epic videos, their humor is the reason fans love them so much. Their songs literally make us laugh, cry, smile and recognize that conspiracy theories aren’t dumb.
After all these years, they’re still standing and playing music on their own terms. Mark Hoppus remains on bass and fronts most vocals, Travis Barker still pounds the drums, and Matt Skiba anchors the band on lead guitar and vocals. Collectively, they are electric and remain the juggernauts of the skateboard sub-culture musical genre.
What makes these guys larger than life? Travis is the poster child for everything and anything cool, Hoppus is a real pro at the top of his game, and Skiba is just a great-but-humble musician. It’s the kind of makeup money can’t buy or reconstruct.
Honestly, anyone who is old enough to have gone to the Warped Tour knows about the legend that is blink. For those who don’t, the band came out of Poway and were originally known as Duck Tape and later Figure 8. Believe it or not, before joining blink, Barker was an Aquabat. Also true, in those early days, Hoppus was in the band and then out and then back in again. There was a girl involved in the middle of all that (sadly, her name wasn’t Josie).
Influenced by such greats as Bad Religion, The Cure, Descendents, the Ramones, NOFX, Pennywise and Jimmy Eat World, blink crafted music that has inspired countless fans as they sing about aliens, rocks shows, small things, first dates, Jack and Sally and M&M’s. Not long-ago, Hoppus and Barker agreed that they count their 1994 demo, Buddha, to be their first album, so that puts eight of them in the can.
Not long ago at the Back to the Beach festival in Huntington Beach, we caught up with Hoppus. He told us that he was very excited about the ninth album they were working on, calling what is appropriately titled Nine some of the best work they’ve done in some time. That was a bold statement to make considering the success of their last album, 2016’s California.
Recently, the band announced that Nine will be released on Sept. 20. So far, the Nine singles “Blame It On My Youth,” “Generational Divide” and now “Happy Days” have hit the airwaves to prove Hoppus wasn’t kidding: These tunes are really, really good.
It’s hard to say why the new tunes are doing so well. It could be because we live vicariously through their music and want to see them do well, or maybe they just make us feel like we’re still teenagers. Or perhaps these songs actually sound a little more mature … like those of us who grew up with blink.
Since social media is the “in” thing these days, I took this story idea to one or a thousand people, and asked for their best blink memories. I thought this response from Jose Johnny Corona speaks volumes: “’M+Ms’ is my favorite song. It reminds me of skating around downtown Huntington Beach in the summer with the L.O. crew of friends, body boarding, meeting girls and lots of underage drinking. At one of their shows, I remember looking around and all my friends were there. I felt at home and all was right with the world. Oh, and hot girls, turns out hot girls liked blink, so we went to a lot of blink shows.”
Dan Ardis, former drummer of alt-rock band Midnight Hour, observed, “Travis was simply miles beyond other drummers in the genre, and he really gave the band new musical depth and professionalism that wasn’t there prior to his arrival. His contributions turned them into a legitimate global act. He made Mark and Tom better and brought musical credibility to blink that continues to this day. He’s respected by blinks fans and other musicians alike. Great drummers know how to make the musicians they’re playing with better. That’s Travis.”
Life is good if you’re a blink fan. New tunes are out and more are coming. For OC fans, blink is coming to town. Back in May, the band announced they were going on tour with rapper Lil Wayne. Yes, there have been some bumps along the way, but they’ve worked that all out in traditional blink fashion. The reviews of their SoCal shows have been very, very positive.
If you want to be thoroughly entertained by one of the great acts in alt-rock, slide into your Doc Martens and check out blink on Aug. 27 at FivePoint Amphitheatre. It’ll be a great show with high energy that will make you smile like it’s Halloween on Christmas.
Lil Wayne and blink-182 at the Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, (310) 330-7344. Thurs., 7 p.m. $64-$134; also at FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine, (949) 988-6800; concerts1.livenation.com. Tues., Aug. 27, 7 p.m. $19-$127.