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Exclusive Interviews: Inside the Ups and Downs of Blink-182

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Travis Barker

Walk me through your day so far today.
I woke up. I had a lot of phone call meetings for stuff going back home with my companies. And then I went to the gym, made myself some shakes and I rushed back over to do my flying drum riser gag to make sure everything's cool. Then I stuff my face, do whatever press is given to me and then I practice until the time to play.

It seems like the three of you have so many different demands on your time these days. Back in the day, you guys were able to focus on nothing but the band.
Yeah, we'd eat, sleep and breathe Blink. We didn't have kids. Musically, Blink is still our priority. 

Did you guys have real different tastes in music back in the 1990s?
It was always very diverse. I remember on one of my first Blink tours. I think it was still in the area where they didn't even know if I was going to be in the band. I was listening to King Diamond and Tom was like, "What the fuck is this?" The next day it was Slayer and he was like," Dude, this metal shit . . . Why the fuck do you listen to that?" I was like," This is what I grew up on." I think that we learned a lot about everyone. I showed him Tribe Called Quest and all these hip-hop bands. I think as much as we always seemed the same back then, we were so very different. 

I was talking to Mark and he said that he was surprised by how dark some of the lyrical themes on the album album are. Do you think it's a dark record?
Yeah, in some ways. I mean, what we all just went through was pretty dark. We still have fun and still have goofy songs, but I think for this album there's a lot of seriousness. We all went through a bunch of dark shit. 

That's an understatement on your behalf.
Yeah. I looked Death right in the face. I didn't write lyrics on this album, but I can understand why they're dark.

It seems like the tragedy really brought you guys together.
Yeah, absolutely. It's crazy to think that such horrific events would be what it would take to get us back together. But at the same time, it's a huge eye opener. I never thought in a million years that Blink would be back together. I always say that four days before my accident, Adam and I were playing the MTV Video Music Awards. Our little duo of drummer and DJ reached heights we never thought were possible. I was so stoked, and then obviously what happened to me…

I'm in a hospital. Shit's not going so good. I get transferred to L.A. I get to the point where I can actually read and I see a letter from Tom. I don't have the same feelings that I had six months earlier if he had written me a letter. I'm sitting on a bed and the doctors are talking about possibly amputating my foot and I'm reading this letter from Tom and there's a picture of his kids. It was heavy. I wasn't bummed at all. I had no ill will. I had no fucked up feeling towards him. I wanted to reach out to him.

A lot people wouldn't be able to bounce back like you have after going through something like that.
I think it was my kids. If I didn't have kids, I think I would have went the other direction. I mean, when I got out of the hospital I was on 21 forms of medication. The doctor said that I would be on half of them for the rest of my life. I was on 5150 watch for two weeks…suicidal, crazy. I then slowly went off my meds. I had my kids looking up to me and wanting me to bounce back…Just to be given a second chance, knowing my partners didn't get that. I had to make the most of my time.

Do you see Blink as your top priority right now?
Yeah, but unfortunately I can't do as much touring as I would like because I don't fly. It's an obstacle. I'm working on it though. I'm trying to get hypnotized, trying to talk to a doctor who retrains your brain. Maybe he'll help me fly again one day.

You can obviously just take a boat to Europe.
Yeah, but I want to go to Australia. But that would take me 31 days on a boat. I don't know if I can do it. It's a little harsh, but I want to go there so fucking bad. I want to go to Brazil. I've never been to South America. I've never had this obstacle in front of me before. I love playing the drums. I love touring. It's so fucked.

You're eating a pretty healthy meal right now. Looks like just broccoli and meat.
It's vegan, so it's all fake meat. I've been vegan since I got out of the hospital. It's another eye opener. It changed my life in a number of ways. I mean, I run every day now. I never ran before. In the hospital, I promised myself that I ever walked again, that I would eat well and swim every day.

Before the plane crash, I was battling a painkiller addiction. For years. I can proudly say I didn't even take any pain medication after I got out of the hospital. They told me I'd be on some of the medicine for the rest of my life, but I got off all of them. They made me a completely different person.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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