On July 23rd, a reunited Blink-182 will kick off a massive summer tour in grand fashion, performing together on a Las Vegas stage for the first time in five years. Last week, Rolling Stone pulled bassist Mark Hoppus from the band's pre-tour rehearsals — the first ever in the trio's history — and he told us that they've been collaborating with production designer Martin Phillips, who has worked with Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails, as well as Daft Punk, for whom Phillips created the now-legendary Pyramid set.
"We can't wait," Hoppus says. "It's a strange feeling to have, after not touring with Blink for the past five years, to think that in just a few days, we'll be hitting the road and playing all of these sold-out shows. And Martin's production is just ridiculous. All of our techs have been down there to see the stage set up, and they're e-mailing me, going, 'Oh my God, there are so many speakers, just so many lights.' I haven't seen it myself, but the pictures I've seen look ridiculous. Everything kind of moves and joins and separates to make these huge video screens, so its pretty complicated."
Hoppus says Blink-182 have been working hard on the tour, taking the time to put the massive trek together in a "dynamic way." Fans can expect a career-spanning set list, and he promises that Blink will "go out there and play the best that we canâ€¦ and probably still end up making a bunch of mistakes and laughing at ourselves. It will be a good time.
"I think right now people want to go to a show and see the Blink that they remember seeing or the Blink that they never got to see," Hoppus adds. "So, really, it's kind of a reintroduction to the band. We're going to be playing all of the singles, and all of our favorite songs from our past records."
While it had seemed unlikely that the band would regroup following what was a rather cantankerous split, Hoppus says the vibe within the band these days is "really positive and very excited." Blink-182 have been hammering out new material since December, and will be taking a mobile recording studio with them out on this tour, to continue working on what will be their sixth studio offering.
"We have a whole bunch of ideas in various stages of completion," he says. "We'll the record after the tour. Everything we've written so far feels like the next step from the last record. I think Blink will always have this core of what a Blink song is, but we're pushing what that is further and further, trying new ideas and trying to keep it fresh and fun. The response to [the reunion] has been so overwhelming and so humbling. It's so crazy that any band gets a chance in the first place to become successful, so to come back after five years and have a second shot at it is the most amazing thing in the world."
Fans who are unable to catch the band live this summer, actually have some recourse, too — in a bag of Doritos Late Night chips. "We went into a studio a couple of months ago, and shot a performance in front of a green screen, and they had all of these cameras in all these different positions, and using all of these different angles, they were able to put together this 3D 'augmented reality' concert," Hoppus says. On the inside of specially marked bags of the chips there's a symbol which, when pointed at a Webcam, will produce a virtual Blink-182 concert.
"I have seen it in action, and it's awesome," Hoppus explains. "It looks like the concert comes out of the computer screen. And depending on how you hold the bag and how you position it, you can move it closer or further away. If you shake the bag in front of the screen, the walls behind us fall down. It's pretty rad. The people who developed it are crazy way smarter than I am, for sure."
• Blink-182 Get "Artistic" for Reunion Tour