.

Blink-182 on Drugs, Barker's Crash: "Human Life Trumps Everything"

August 6, 2009 11:47 AM ET

The fact that Blink-182 are selling out gigs on one of the summer's hottest tours is impressive considering the trio underwent such a bitter split four years ago, Tom DeLonge quit the group and changed his phone number so bandmates Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker couldn't reach him. It's even more remarkable considering Barker nearly died in a plane crash that killed two of his best friends and DeLonge plunged into an addiction to painkillers he can only describe as "insane."

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Barker reveals details about the September 2008 Learjet accident that resulted in 16 surgeries, 48-hour blood transfusions and post-traumatic stress disorder for the first time. "I opened a door, and my hands caught fire. I immediately soaked up with jet fuel and caught fire. And then I was on fire, running like hell," he tells Rolling Stone's Gavin Edwards. "I was running for my family."

Blink-182's Rock Show: Photos of the Band Onstage and Off

Hoppus tells RS he 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. "You feel helpless to do anything other than be there for your friend," he says. DeLonge found out via the TV news at an airport while waiting to board a flight. He landed and mailed a letter and two photographs to Barker: a photo of Blink aboard a submarine in the Middle East and another of himself and his two kids. "One was 'Do you remember who we were?' and the other was 'This is who I am now,' " DeLonge says. "No one knew if Travis was going to live or if he would play drums again. It was a good moment to put the shit aside."

After Barker got out of the hospital, Hoppus says the trio "had two gnarly heart-to-hearts, really opened up and said a lot of things, and after that we were cool, and we don't talk about it. We're guys." But the lessons of the past four years were clear: "When human life comes into the equation, that trumps everything," DeLonge adds.

The band spent two months in the studio working on new and old material and completed a demo for the track "Up All Night." When they hit the road for their reunion tour, they starting selling 28,000 tickets in markets that they used to sell 8,000 (read our review of the tour's opening night in Las Vegas) and discovered they have a new role in the scene, as pop-punk's elder statesmen.

But getting older and cheating death haven't eliminated the band's potty-humor. Says DeLonge: "When Blink plays, there's no difference between that and everyone getting a slow, awesome hand job."

Related Stories:
Blink-182 Get Artistic for Reunion Tour
Blink-182 Return to the Stage: Photos
Mark Hoppus Previews Blink-182 Tour: "Favorite Songs" on "Ridiculous" New Stage

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com