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Blink-182 performing in 2016. From left to right: Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Matt Skiba.
Blink-182 performing in 2016. From left to right: Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Matt Skiba.
Background information
Blink (1992-1995)
OriginPoway, California, U.S.
  • 1992-2005
  • 2009-present

Blink-182 (sometimes written as Blink 182;[3][4][5] often stylized in all lowercase as blink-182) is an American rock band formed in Poway, California, in 1992. Since 2015, the line-up of the band has consisted of bass guitarist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker, and guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba. Founded by Hoppus, guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, and drummer Scott Raynor, the band emerged from the Southern California punk scene of the early 1990s and first gained notoriety for high-energy live shows and irreverent lyrical toilet humor. Hoppus is the only constant band member.

In its early years, Blink-182 toured heavily behind the band's debut, Cheshire Cat (1995). The group signed with major label MCA Records to co-distribute its second album, Dude Ranch (1997). Raynor was fired midway through a 1998 tour and replaced by Barker. The group's next two releases, Enema of the State (1999) and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001), were enormous successes on the strength of radio and MTV airplay. Blink-182 followed in 2003 and marked a stylistic shift for the group. DeLonge quit in 2005, sending the band into what was termed an "indefinite hiatus". They reunited in 2009, producing the trio's sixth album, Neighborhoods (2011). In 2015, DeLonge again exited and was replaced by Alkaline Trio frontman Matt Skiba, with their resulting seventh studio album, California, being released on July 1, 2016. Their most recent effort titled Nine, was released on September 20, 2019.

According to Alternative Press magazine, Blink-182 is considered a key group in the development of pop punk;[not verified in body] the band's combination of pop music melodies with fast-paced punk rock featured a more radio-friendly accessibility than prior bands. The trio has sold over thirteen million albums in the United States,[6] and over 50 million albums worldwide.[7] In 2011, The New York Times asserted, "no punk band of the 1990s has been more influential than Blink-182", and even as the band receded after its 2005 split, "its sound and style could be heard in the muscular pop punk of Fall Out Boy or in the current wave of high-gloss Warped Tour punk bands, like All Time Low and The Maine."[8]


Formation and initial years (1992-1994)

View of Poway

Blink-182 was formed in Poway, California, a suburb north of San Diego, in August 1992. Guitarist Tom DeLonge was expelled from Poway High for being inebriated at a basketball game, and was forced to attend another school for one semester. At Rancho Bernardo High School, DeLonge performed at a Battle of the Bands competition, where he was introduced to drummer Scott Raynor.[9][10] He also befriended Kerry Key, who was also interested in punk rock music. Key was dating Anne Hoppus, sister of bassist Mark Hoppus, who had recently moved from Ridgecrest, California to work at a record store and attend college. Both Hoppus and DeLonge grew up listening to punk rock music, with both particularly enamored by the Descendents.[11][12]Southern California had a large punk population in the early 1990s, aided by an avid surfing, skating, and snowboarding scene.[13] In contrast to East Coast punk music, the West Coast wave of groups, Blink included, typically introduced more melodic aspects to the group's music.[13] "New York is gloomy, dark and cold. It makes different music. The Californian middle-class suburbs have nothing to be that bummed about," said DeLonge.[13]

"We had a lot of fuckin' fun. We were out all night skateboarding. We were out throwing food and drinks at security guards who were chasing us through malls, skateboarding at four in the morning, eating doughnuts at places making hot doughnuts near the beach, breaking into schools and finding skate spots in dark schools or slaloming down parking garages naked and shit in downtown San Diego."

--Tom DeLonge in 2013, reflecting on the band's foundation[14]

Anne introduced her brother to DeLonge on August 1, 1992.[15] The pair instantly connected and played for hours in DeLonge's garage, exchanging lyrics and co-writing songs--one of which became fan favorite "Carousel".[15] Hoppus, hoping to impress DeLonge, managed to fall from a lamppost in front of DeLonge's home and crack his ankles, an injury that put him in crutches for three weeks.[16] The trio began to practice together in Raynor's bedroom, spending time writing music, seeing movies and punk concerts, and playing practical jokes.[17] The trio first operated under a variety of names, including Duck Tape and Figure 8, until DeLonge rechristened the band "Blink".[18] Hoppus' girlfriend of the time was annoyed by his constant attention to the band, and demanded he make a choice between the band and her, which resulted in Hoppus leaving the band not long after its formation.[19] Shortly thereafter, DeLonge and Raynor borrowed a four-track recorder from friend and collaborator Cam Jones and were preparing to record a demo tape, with Jones on bass.[18] Hoppus promptly broke up with his girlfriend and returned to the band.[19]Flyswatter--a combination of original songs and punk covers--was recorded in Raynor's bedroom in May 1993.[20]

The band became a mainstay at all-ages venue Soma San Diego during their early years; this poster is from 1994.[21]

The band began booking shows, and were on stage nearly every weekend, even at Elks Lodges and YMCA centers.[22] DeLonge called clubs constantly in San Diego asking for a spot to play, as well as local high schools, convincing them that Blink was a "motivational band with a strong antidrug message" in hopes to play at an assembly or lunch.[22] San Diego at this time was "hardly a hotbed of [musical] activity", according to journalist Joe Shooman, but the band's popularity grew as did punk rock concurrently in the mainstream.[20] They quickly became part of a circuit that also included bands such as Ten Foot Pole and Unwritten Law, and Blink soon found its way onto the bill as the opening band for acts performing at Soma, a local all-ages venue. "The biggest dreams we ever had when we started was to [headline] a show at Soma," Hoppus said later.[23] Meanwhile, Hoppus' manager at the record store, Patrick Secor, fronted the group money to properly record another demo at a local studio Doubletime.[24] The result was Buddha (1994), which the members of the band viewed as the band's first legitimate release.[21][24] That year, however, Raynor's family relocated to Reno, Nevada, and he was briefly replaced by musician Mike Krull.[25] The band saved money and began flying Raynor out to shows, and he eventually moved back and in with Hoppus in mid-1995. During that time, the band would record its first album, first music video, and develop a larger following.[26]

Early releases and touring (1995-1998)

Blink-182 at the Showcase Theater in Corona, California, in 1995

The heart of the local independent music scene was Cargo Records, which offered to sign the band on a "trial basis," with help from O, guitarist for local punk band Fluf, and Brahm Goodis, a friend of the band whose father was president of the label.[27] Hoppus was the only member to sign the contract, as DeLonge was at work at the time and Raynor was still a minor.[28] The band recorded its debut album--Cheshire Cat, released in February 1995--in three days at Westbeach Recorders in Los Angeles, fueled by both new songs and re-recordings of songs from previous demos.[29] "M+M's", the band's first single, garnered local radio airplay from 91X, and Cargo offered the band a small budget to film a music video for it.[30] Meanwhile, the record also drew the attention of Irish band Blink. Unwilling to engage in a legal battle, the band agreed to change its name.[31] Cargo gave the band a week, but the trio put off the decision for more than two afterward. Eventually, Cargo called the trio, demanding that they "change the name or [we'll] change it for you," after which the band decided on a random number, 182.[32][33]

The band soon hired a manager, Rick DeVoe, who had worked with larger bands such as NOFX, Pennywise and the Offspring.[31] In addition, the group drew the attention of Rick and Jean Bonde of the Tahoe booking agency, who were responsible for "spreading the name of the band far and wide."[31][34] In late 1995, the trio embarked on their first national tour, promoting the surf video GoodTimes with Unwritten Law, Sprung Monkey and 7 Seconds. GoodTimes was directed by filmmaker Taylor Steele, who was a friend of DeVoe. In preparation for the trek, the band members purchased their own tour van, which they nicknamed the Millennium Falcon.[35] The GoodTimes tour extended outside the States with a leg in Australia; the trio were financially unable to go, but Pennywise's members paid for their plane tickets.[36]Fletcher Dragge, guitarist of Pennywise, believed in the band strongly. He demanded that Kevin Lyman, founder of the traveling rock-based Warped Tour, sign the band for its 1996 iteration, predicting they would become "gigantic."[37] That year, the band toured heavily, with several domestic shows on and off the Warped Tour, trips to Canada and Japan, and more Australian dates. Australia were particularly receptive to the band and its humorous stage antics, which gained the band a reputation but also made them ostracized and considered a joke.[8][38]

The group playing the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles in 1996

By March 1996, the trio began to accumulate a genuine buzz among major labels, resulting in a bidding war between Interscope, MCA and Epitaph.[39] MCA promised the group complete artistic freedom and ultimately signed the band,[40] but Raynor held a great affinity for Epitaph and began to feel half-invested in the band when it chose MCA.[41] The group, discouraged by Cargo's lack of distribution and faith in the group, held no qualms about signing to a major label but were fiercely criticized in the punk community.[39][42][43] After nonstop touring, the trio began recording their follow-up LP, Dude Ranch, over the period of a month in late 1996 with producer Mark Trombino.[44] The record saw release the following June, and the band headed out on the 1997 Warped Tour. "Dammit", the album's lead single, received heavy airplay on modern rock stations.[45]Dude Ranch shipped gold by 1998, but an exhaustive touring schedule brought tensions among the trio.[45] Raynor had been drinking heavily to offset personal issues, and he was fired by DeLonge and Hoppus in mid-1998 despite agreeing to attend rehab and quit drinking.[46][47]Travis Barker, drummer for tour-mate The Aquabats, filled in for Raynor, learning the 20-song setlist in 45 minutes before the first show.[48] By July, he joined the band full-time[47] and later that year, the band entered the studio with producer Jerry Finn to begin work on their third album.[38]

Mainstream breakthrough and continued success (1999-2004)

The music video for "What's My Age Again?" depicts the band running naked through the streets of Los Angeles.[33][49]

With the release of the group's third album Enema of the State in June 1999, Blink-182 was catapulted to stardom and became the biggest pop punk act of the era.[38][failed verification] Three singles were released from the record--"What's My Age Again?", "All the Small Things", and "Adam's Song"--which became major radio hits.[50] "All the Small Things" became a number-one hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and also became a crossover hit, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The band's relationship with MTV cemented their status as video stars; all three singles became staples on the network and TRL mainstays.[33][51][52]Enema of the State was an enormous commercial success, although the band was criticized as synthesized, manufactured pop only remotely resembling punk, and pigeonholed as a joke act due to the puerile slant of its singles and associating music videos. The album has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and had a considerable effect on pop punk music, inspiring a "second wave" of the genre and numerous acolytes.[38][53]

Following that success, as well as their first arena tour and cameo appearances in film and TV (American Pie), the band recorded their fourth album, the comically-titled Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001). It became their first number one album in the U.S., Canada, and Germany, and spawned the singles "The Rock Show", "Stay Together for the Kids" and "First Date".[8] Jerry Finn returned to produce the record and was a key architect of the "polished" pop punk sound; according to journalist James Montgomery, writing for MTV News, the veteran engineer "served as an invaluable member of the Blink team: part adviser, part impartial observer, he helped smooth out tensions and hone their multiplatinum sound."[54] Recording sessions were sometimes contentious, as DeLonge strove for heavier-sounding guitar riffs.[55] With time off from touring, he felt a desire to broaden his musical palette,[11][56] and channeled his chronic back pain and resulting frustration into Box Car Racer (2002), an LP that emulates his post-hardcore influences, such as Fugazi and Refused.[57][58] He invited Barker to record drums for the project, in order to refrain from hiring a studio musician. Box Car Racer rapidly evolved into a side project for the duo, launching the singles "I Feel So" and "There Is", in addition to two national tours throughout 2002. Though DeLonge claimed Hoppus was not intentionally left out, Hoppus felt betrayed,[59] and the event created great division within the trio for some time and was an unresolved tension at the forefront of the band's later hiatus.[60] In the meantime, Barker also parlayed his love of hip-hop into the rap rock outfit Transplants, a collaboration with Rancid's Tim Armstrong.[38]

Tom DeLonge (front), Mark Hoppus (center), and Travis Barker (back) in 2003

The band regrouped in 2003 to record its fifth studio album, infusing experimentalist elements into its usual pop punk sound, inspired by lifestyle changes (the band members all became fathers before the album was released) and side projects. Blink-182 was released in November 2003 through Geffen Records, which absorbed sister label MCA earlier that year.[61] The worldwide touring schedule, which saw the band travel to Japan and Australia, also found the three performing for troops stationed in the Persian Gulf during the first year of the Iraq War.[62][63] Critics generally complimented the new, more "mature" direction taken for the album and its lead singles "Feeling This" and "I Miss You" charted high, with the latter becoming the group's second number one hit on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.[64] Fans, however, were split by the new direction, and tensions within the band--stemming from the grueling schedule and DeLonge's desire to spend more time with his family--started to become evident.[38]

Hiatus, side projects, and Barker's plane crash (2005-2008)

In February 2005, Geffen issued a press statement announcing the band's "indefinite hiatus."[65] The band had broken up after members' arguments regarding their future and recording process. DeLonge felt increasingly conflicted both about his creative freedom within the group and the toll touring was taking on his family life.[66] He eventually expressed his desire to take a half-year respite from touring in order to spend more time with family. Hoppus and Barker were dismayed by his decision, which they felt was an overly long break.[67] Rehearsals for a benefit concert grew contentious, rooted in the trio's increasing bitterness toward one another.[68] DeLonge considered his bandmates' priorities "mad, mad different," coming to the conclusion that the trio had simply grown apart as they aged, had families, and reached fame. The breakdown in communication led to heated exchanges, resulting in his exit from the group.[60]

DeLonge briefly disappeared from public eye, making no appearances, granting no interviews and remaining silent until September 2005, when he announced his new project, Angels & Airwaves, promising "the greatest rock and roll revolution for this generation."[69] He later revealed he was addicted to painkillers at the time for his chronic back pain, noting that his grandiose statements seemed outlandish.[70] The group released two albums in 2006 and 2007: the RIAA gold-certified We Don't Need to Whisper and I-Empire.[71] In the interim, Hoppus and Barker also continued playing music together in +44.[72] +44's debut, When Your Heart Stops Beating, was released in 2006 but stalled commercially and received mixed reviews.[73] Meanwhile, Barker starred in the MTV reality series Meet the Barkers with his then-wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler. The couple's later split, reconciliation and subsequent breakup made them tabloid favorites.[74] Barker also launched a shoe line and worked on hip-hop remixs, as well as with the Transplants and TRV$DJAM, a collaboration with friend Adam Goldstein (DJ AM).[69] During the hiatus, Hoppus shifted his attention to hosting a podcast and producing albums (most notably Commit This to Memory by former tour-mate Motion City Soundtrack).[75]

The band members did not speak from their breakup until 2008.[76] That August, former producer Jerry Finn suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died.[77] The following month, Barker and Goldstein were involved in a plane crash that killed four people, leaving the two the only survivors.[78] Barker sustained second and third degree burns and developed posttraumatic stress disorder, and the accident resulted in sixteen surgeries and multiple blood transfusions.[79] Goldstein's injuries were less severe, but the following year, he died from a drug overdose.[80] Hoppus was alerted about Barker's accident by a phone call in the middle of the night and jumped on the next flight to the burn center.[79] DeLonge quickly reached out to his former bandmate, mailing him a letter and photograph.[73][79] The trio eventually met up in the hospital, laying the grounds for what was going to be the band's reunion.[81] Eventually, an arrangement was made for the trio to meet up at Hoppus and Barker's Los Angeles studio in October 2008. The three opened up, discussing the events of the hiatus and their break-up, and DeLonge was the first to approach the subject of reuniting.[81] Hoppus remembered: "I remember [Tom] said, 'So, what do you guys think? Where are your heads at?' And I said, 'I think we should continue with what we've been doing for the past 17 years. I think we should get back on the road and back in the studio and do what we love doing.'"[82][83]

Reunion years (2009-2014)

The first live performance of the group's reformation in 2009

For the first time in nearly five years, the band appeared on stage together as presenters at the February 2009 Grammy Awards, and announced their reunion.[84] The trio embarked on a reunion tour of North America from July to October 2009,[80] with a European trek following from August to September 2010.[85] Barker, suffering from a fear of flying after his accident, traveled via bus domestically and by an ocean liner for overseas dates.[86] The recording process for Neighborhoods, the band's sixth studio album, was stalled by its studio autonomy, tours, managers, and personal projects. DeLonge recorded at his studio in San Diego while Hoppus and Barker recorded in Los Angeles--an extension of their strained communication.[11][87] The self-produced album--their first without Jerry Finn since Enema of the State[54]--was released in September 2011 and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200.[88] Its singles--"Up All Night" and "After Midnight"--only attracted modest chart success, and label Interscope was reportedly disappointed with album sales.[89]

The band continued to tour in the early 2010s, "despite growing evidence of remaining friction" between the members, according to AllMusic biographer John Bush.[90] They headlined the 10th Annual Honda Civic Tour in North America from in 2011 with My Chemical Romance,[91] and launched a 20th Anniversary Tour the next year. For that tour, the band played in Europe twice,[92] North America,[93] and Australia; drummer Brooks Wackerman filled-in for Barker, as he was not yet ready to fly.[94] Additionally, the trio pursued a tenth anniversary celebration of Blink-182 with a series of shows,[95] and played the Reading and Leeds Festivals; it was the band's fourth appearance at the festival and second headlining slot.[96] The band also parted ways with longtime label Interscope,[97]self-releasing their next project, Dogs Eating Dogs, an EP.[98] DeLonge's final performance with the group was at the Wine Amplified Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 11, 2014.[99]

Blink-182 performing in 2011

The reunion of the band has been characterized as dysfunctional by both Barker and DeLonge.[100][101] Hoppus commented on this era of the band in a later interview: "Everything was always very contentious. There was always just a strange vibe. [...] I knew there was something wrong."[101] In his memoir, Can I Say, Barker claims DeLonge's behavior on tour was "introverted" until "money started coming in," after which "he'd get excited about Blink." He states DeLonge abruptly quit sometime in mid-2014, and rejoined the following day.[102] The group planned to begin writing their seventh album in January 2015,[103] which had continually seen delays.[104] "I'd do interviews and I just felt awful for fans because they were promised albums for years and we couldn't do it," Barker later said.[101] A record deal was finalized and sessions were booked before DeLonge's manager informed the band he intended to spend more time on "non-musical activities" and indefinitely depart the group.[105] In his own statement, DeLonge remarked that he "Never planned on quitting, [I] just find it hard as hell to commit."[106] After these events, Barker summarized the band's reunion: "Why Blink even got back together in the first place is questionable."[105]

Lineup change and Skiba era (2015-present)

Hoppus and Barker decided to continue on without DeLonge, and enlisted Alkaline Trio vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba to "fill in" for three shows in March 2015.[107] Hoppus and Skiba had been wanting to work together musically for several years, so he was the first and only person considered for the role.[108] After legal battles with DeLonge were worked out, Skiba joined Blink-182 as an official member and began preparations for new music.[109] Initially, it was not made clear as to why DeLonge left the band until Barker revealed in 2019 that the guitarist wanted to pursue his company To the Stars... Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time, which is devoted to investigating UFOs.[110] DeLonge said "from every ounce of my being" that he was meant to do this.[111]

The resulting album, California, was produced by John Feldmann. He was the group's first new producer since longtime collaborator Jerry Finn.[112]California was recorded between January and March 2016. The band, as well as Feldmann, would regularly spend "18 hours" in the studio a day, aiming to start and complete multiple songs in that timeframe.[113] "We all wanted to write the best record that we could [...] It does feel like a new beginning. It feels like when we used to tour and sleep in the van because that's all we wanted to do is play rock music," said Hoppus.[114]

Upon its July 2016 release, California became the band's second number-one album on the Billboard 200, and first in 15 years;[115] it also reached the top for the first time in the United Kingdom.[116] Its lead single, "Bored to Death", became the group's first number one single in 12 years.[117] The band supported the album with a large headlining tour across North America between July and October 2016,[118] and a European leg in June and July 2017.[119] A deluxe edition of California--essentially a double album including songs left off the original album--was issued in 2017.[120][121]California earned the band their first nomination for Best Rock Album at the Grammy Awards.[122] Critical reviews of the album, however, were mixed; many considered Feldmann's input and the throwback nature of the songs as formulaic.[123][124]

The trio moved from independent service BMG to major-label Columbia for their eighth studio effort, Nine (2019).[125] While Nine builds upon their partnership with Feldmann, it also utilizes additional outside producers and songwriters.[126] Musically, the LP augments the band's pop punk sound with hip hop-inspired programming, as well as electronics.[127] In the interim, the trio embarked on a celebratory tour marking the twentieth anniversary of their breakthrough effort, Enema of the State.[128] In recent years, each member has explored side projects as well. Skiba returned to Alkaline Trio for their ninth album, Is This Thing Cursed? (2018), while Hoppus formed Simple Creatures, an electropop outfit with All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth, with whom he released two EPs throughout 2019. Lastly, Barker has focused his energies in collaborating with rappers Lil Nas X, Machine Gun Kelly, and XXXTentacion, among others.[126] Blink have also worked with several artists, jointly issuing singles with XXXTentacion,[129]Lil Wayne,[130] Goody Grace,[131]Steve Aoki,[132]Powfu,[133]Oliver Tree,[134] and the Chainsmokers.[135] That same year, The New York Times Magazine listed Blink-182 among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[136]

On August 7, 2020, the trio released a new single titled "Quarantine". Skiba is absent on the track due to lack of a home recording studio.[137] Later in the same month, Hoppus stated that the band was working on a new EP scheduled for release in late 2020.[138]

Musical style, lyrical themes, and influences

Blink-182's musical style is mainly considered pop punk,[33][141][142][143] a genre that combines influences of pop music with traditional punk rock. Throughout the band's career, though their sound has diversified, a large component of the band's music favors fast tempos, catchy melodies, prominent electric guitar with distortion, and power chord changes.[144] Earlier albums by the band have also been tagged with the label skate punk,[90][145][146][147] owing to the skater subculture that was important to their youth. In addition, the band has also been classified under the umbrella of alternative rock as a whole.[148][149][150] The band have claimed punk rock group the Descendents to be their greatest influence on a number of occasions.[11][12] They have also named the Beatles,[151]the Ramones,[152]the Beach Boys,[153][154]the Cure,[155]Depeche Mode,[156][157][158]U2,[12]Stiff Little Fingers,[12]All,[159]Dinosaur Jr.,[160]NOFX,[161]Bad Religion,[162]Refused,[58]Fugazi,[57]Screeching Weasel,[163]The Vandals,[164]The Queers,[165] and Jimmy Eat World as inspirations.[166]

Common lyrical themes for the band involve relationships,[33]suburbia,[167] toilet humor,[168] and teen angst.[169] Hoppus and DeLonge, and later Skiba, split songwriting duty, and much of their lyrics tend toward autobiography.[170] According to Nitsuh Abebe, of New York, the band's biggest recurring topic is maturity--"more specifically, their lack of it, their attitude toward their lack of it, or their eventual wide-eyed exploration of it".[171] One of the band's biggest singles, "What's My Age Again?", specifically addresses the Peter Pan syndrome,[172] while "Dammit", the band's first mainstream hit single, contains the hook "Well, I guess this is growing up."[173] Albums such as Take Off Your Pants and Jacket near-exclusively deal in toilet humor and teen-centered lyrics, leading Rolling Stone to dub it a concept album chronicling adolescence.[174] For Hoppus, these themes were not exclusively adolescent: "The things that happen to you in high school are the same things that happen your entire life. You can fall in love at sixty; you can get rejected at eighty."[175] Mid-career albums, such as Neighborhoods (2011), explore darker territory, such as depression and loss.[176] More recent efforts, like California (2016), aim for universality[169] but also focus on miscommunication and loss of identity.[177]

Musically, the band's sound has progressed throughout their 25-year career. Tom DeLonge's guitar style, which trades solos for riffs,[178] is often down-stroked and power-chord heavy, with large amounts of palm muting. His later work guitar work heavily delves into effects,[178] exploring ambience and delay prominently.[179] Many Blink songs center on the I-V-vi-IV progression.[180] As a bassist, Hoppus is known for his well-defined midrange tone. Since the band is a trio, he approaches his role as a combination of being a rhythm guitarist and bassist.[181] Early albums, such as Cheshire Cat (1995) and Dude Ranch (1997), were recorded with original drummer Scott Raynor, and consist of fast-paced, double-time songs. Drummer Travis Barker diversified the band's sound rhythmically when he joined in 1998. Throughout their discography, Barker's drumming references a myriad of musical genres, including Afro-Cuban music,[182]bossa nova,[183]reggae,[184] and hip hop.[168] Barker grew up playing in marching band, and it still influences his drum fills and kit setup.[185]

Blink-182 were considered more radio-friendly than their predecessors. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times writes that the band "[took] punk's already playful core and [gave] it a shiny, accessible polish."[8] Luke Lewis, writing for Total Guitar in 2003, summarized it aptly: "They wrote catchy songs, radio stations played them."[178] The band's biggest hit, "All the Small Things", was written partially because DeLonge figured the label might want a song for radio. "It was obvious from the beginning it would fit that format," he told Lewis. "There's nothing wrong with that. We don't want obstacles between us and our audience."[178] However, the band's conventional appeal, as well as partnerships with MTV, boardsport companies, and clothing brands, led to accusations that they were betraying the independent spirit of punk rock.[186] DeLonge commented on the band's mainstream appeal in an interview in 2014:

Punk rock was becoming polished. NOFX [was] a punk band we grew up listening to, and they had a record called Punk in Drublic, and it was awesome. It was game-changing; it sounded good. We wanted to take it to the next level. [...] There had never been a pop punk band that sounded like nursery rhymes on steroids, on the mainstream level at least. And that's what I used to have daydreams of. I used to think the radio could use that, could use a band that was really powerful and catchy and fast and youthful and angsty.[161]


"These three snot-nosed San Diego punks bottled suburban angst and distilled it into bright, shiny pop songs that might as well have been state-issued to every American teen. During their height, Blink permeated nearly every aspect of popular culture, making them arguably the most influential pop-punk band ever."

--Alternative Press, 2015[187]

Blink-182 was one of the most popular rock bands at the turn of the millennium, and spearheaded the second wave of pop punk and its journey into the mainstream.[188] The glossy production instantly set Blink-182 apart from the other crossover punk acts of the era, such as Green Day.[8] Its third LP Enema of the State catapulted the band to stardom, creating what New York Abebe described as a "blanket immersion among America's twenty-some million teenagers."[171] At the band's commercial peak, albums such as Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and Enema sold over 14 and 15 million copies worldwide, respectively.[38][189] According to Kelefa Sanneh of The New Yorker, Blink-182 gradually "emerged as a touchstone, spawning more imitators than any American rock band since Nirvana. Their seeming ordinariness convinced a generation of goofy punks that maybe they, too, could turn out deceptively simple songs as well constructed as anything on the pop chart. And their prankish camaraderie made fans feel like members of their extended social circle."[190] Most Blink-182 songs are fairly straightforward and easy to play on guitar, making them perfect practice for beginner musicians. Lewis of Total Guitar notes that this was key in influencing a generation of kids to "pick up the guitar and form bands of their own."[178]

Despite this, the band never received particularly glowing reviews, with many reviewers dismissing them as a joke. British publication NME was particularly critical of the trio, with reviewer Steven Wells begging them to "fuck right off," comparing them to "that sanitised, castrated, shrink-wrapped 'new wave' crap that the major US record companies pumped out circa 1981 in their belated attempt to jump on the 'punk' bandwagon."[191] Nevertheless, subsequent reviews of the band's discography have been more positive. Andy Greenwald of Blender wrote, "the quick transformation from nudists to near geniuses is down-right astonishing."[192] James Montgomery of MTV said that "despite their maturation, Blink never took themselves particularly seriously, which was another reason they were so accessible."[38] A new generation of rock fans found the Blink sound "hugely influential," according to Nicole Frehsée of Rolling Stone.[193]

In 2011, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times asserted that "no punk band of the 1990s has been more influential than Blink-182," stating that even as the band receded after its initial 2005 split, "its sound and style could be heard in the muscular pop punk of Fall Out Boy or in the current wave of high-gloss Warped Tour punk bands, like All Time Low and The Maine."[8] Montgomery concurs: "...without them, there'd be no Fall Out Boy, no Paramore, or no Fueled by Ramen Records."[38] Maria Sherman of The Village Voice took this a step further, writing "Apart from the sound, Blink's ideology has been popularized [...] their presence is everywhere."[194] "When it comes to having inestimable influence, Blink-182 might well be contemporary punk's version of the Beatles", wrote Scott Heisel in a 2009 Alternative Press cover story on the band.[195] The same magazine later ranked Blink the fourth of the "30 Most Influential Bands of the Past 30 Years," just behind Radiohead, Fugazi, and Nirvana.[187] Bands such as Panic! at the Disco and All Time Low originated covering Blink-182 songs,[196] while You Me at Six, and 5 Seconds of Summer have also named the band as influences.[103]"Anyone in our genre would be lying if they said they weren't influenced by Blink-182," said Joel Madden of Good Charlotte.[197] The band's influence extends beyond pop punk groups as well: the band has been cited as an influence by Avril Lavigne,[198][199]Best Coast,[8]DIIV,[200]FIDLAR,[201]Grimes,[194]Male Bonding,[194]Neck Deep,[202]Mumford & Sons,[203]A Day To Remember,[204]Owl City,[205]Charly Bliss,[206]Tucker Beathard,[207]Joyce Manor,[208]Wavves,[14] and the Chainsmokers;[209] the latter even mentioned the band in the lyrics of their number-one hit song "Closer".[209]




Awards and nominations



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