Interview With Tom DeLonge of blink-182: Older, But Still Not Grown Up

Four years had passed since Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker shared a stage together, but at this year’s Grammy Awards, the members of blink-182 stood together and announced they’d be playing music together again. The trio that had acrimoniously disbanded following the abrupt resignation of DeLonge began communicating again in the wake of a plane accident involving Barker. A breakup became a reunion.

Of course, all three had moved on to different projects in the interim, most notably Angels & Airwaves, headed by DeLonge and +44, featuring Hoppus and Barker. But Hoppus has done production work for a myriad of bands, Barker has been working on hip-hop projects with DJ AM, and DeLonge has been something of an investor-creative director in Macbeth, a shoe company, and Modlife, a web venture for bands.

Now, with all their previous commitments on the side, the band few thought would tour again have embarked on a jaunt throughout the U.S. with Weezer and Taking Back Sunday, in what has quickly become one of the best-selling tours in the worst economy in decades. DeLonge explains.

How has the tour been? What’s the energy like?

Oh the tour’s insane. It’s somehow officially the biggest tour of the summer. Even tonight [Pittsburgh], it’s 20,000 some people, sold out. Last night, 23,000 people as well. It’s fucking crazy. No one understands why dick jokes got so popular. They’re sending down NASA scientists to really try and figure out why it’s so big. But the tour is amazing and the energy is awesome. We’re playing better than we ever have and we’re having a lot of fun. Mark drinks now too so now we’re both up there wasted. We don’t even remember the shit that we’re saying.

Is it a validating feeling? I know a lot of tours aren’t doing very well. Is it like, ‘Shit, I should have done this two years ago?’

I know, you would think. To give you an idea, the promoters bought the shows thinking we’d do 8,000 people a night. The average shows are almost 20,000 a night. No one thought, not the band, not the promoters, not the management, so it’s not like we got together going, ‘Fuck, we should have done this earlier.’ We got back together because Travis had that accident and we thought it would be good to play music again together. But one step at a time and we’re having a lot of fun. It’s great. I’m humbled by it, honestly, because we still are just a punk band at heart. We’re talking the band’s been together almost 20 years now I guess, well, we broke up, but we’ve been around for almost 20 years. It’s just nutty to see this right now. We’re very, very happy it’s working out so well. It’s obviously making the reunion very electric.

You mentioned the accident. Was there a moment of realization between the three of you, that leaving Blink on indefinite hiatus wasn’t the best thing?

No, it wasn’t like that. I honestly think a couple years ago none of us would have expected that we were going to play again. I still have Angels & Airwaves and we have a major release coming up in February, a movie and an album. Mark’s still producing all these different bands. Travis has a big hip-hop cameo big album thing that he’s been making for the past year—he still has DJ AM and himself. All of us still have all these things that are going on and we love them and they’re made for parts of our lives. It wasn’t like we were looking for this to happen. Now I think that this is going on all of us are trying to figure out—how does it fit in? It’s the biggest thing (laughs). It’s a bit of a juggle for myself because Angels & Airwaves is a full-time thing for me.