Members of Blink-182 Discuss Overcoming Years of Acrimony

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Travis Barker

I was just talking to Tom about all the demands on his time. The same goes for you. You're being pulled in so many directions with Blink and your solo record and everything else.
Tours are easy though, man. It's less busy out here. I just throw myself in practicing all day. I don't get to just sit around and play around on my drums at home. There's a lot more responsibility at home, so a tour is like the opposite for me. It's like a breath of fresh air.

It's a pretty long tour. There must be some days you'd rather be home.
Yeah, I'm not a good traveler. I don't like traveling, period. I like being at places and I like going places, but I don't like forms of transportation. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be there. That's the only thing that trips me out. I love tour, but I don't like traveling at night or driving long hours. But I love tour. If my kids could be out there full time, I'd probability never go home. I mean, like first days of school for my kids, I wish I was there for that to make sure the kids get acclimated and stuff. But this is sorta my home.

Do you think that the new songs are fitting in well with the old songs in the set?
Absolutely. Especially now that the album leaked. I mean, there are fortunate and unfortunate sides to that. The fortunate side is that people know the music now, which is super cool. The whole time after you record an album, you're just waiting for the release date. You're waiting for fans to hear it and stuff. Leaks suck, but at the same time it's cool all these kids are getting familiar with the new tunes. One of the best things about this tour is being able to play new music.

The album kept getting pushed back and some fans were worried that meant there were problems.
I think it was more like miscommunication. No one was really telling them…after our last tour Tom had a commitment to make another Angels album. So that had to be done. We always give each other space. While he was making that album, I was doing a tour for my album. Mark was doing his television show. On the Lil Wayne tour, I would get music and I would just go rent a studio on my day off and go play drums. But it wasn't until we really got home and got focused for like the last four months that it really took a turn and the best material started really coming out.

The fact you guys were working in a separate studio than Tom freaked some fans out.
I mean, I can see anyone tripping like…change freaks people out. But realistically, when we recorded albums back in the day we didn't have kids. Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was written in my warehouse in a room there. We got together for a week and a half and wrote and recorded them in a couple of days. It was such a different writing process. A lot of this stuff was not written in a room together. We all have different ideas. I bring beats to them. "Which one pops out to you? Which one do you want to write to?" It's changed over the years. If it didn't change, things would suck. It's evolution. Things are supposed to change. We see this as a positive. A strength is that we're able to get ideas down without going, "Okay, we gotta book a studio and I'm going to try and remember this in my head a week from now."

It's about a million to one shot for a band to become as big as Blink. To have that happen, and then just throw it all away forever would have been terrible.
Especially over nothing. When we look back, we see…I'm sure it's happened to other people in other fields. You get so consumed with work. You're playing shows every day and you're doing tour after tour like we were ten years ago, and there's no communication. Everyone's burnt. The air was so thick around us back in the day you could cut it with a knife. It was so bad right before we broke up. At the time, if we had better management or some way to communicate, we would have all been in a better place. When we look back now, after my crash when Tom and Mark finally came to my house, about thirty seconds went by and Tom and Mark are telling dick jokes. It's like, "Look, you dickheads didn't talk to each other for six years and now everything's completely fine." You realize how petty some shit was we were all fighting over.

The only thing that's changed for us is that we all have different dressing rooms and we have our families on the road with us. Everything else is the same. It's the same great energy we had playing onstage back then. It's not one of those weird situations where it's The Eagles and everyone hates each others guts and they can't stare at each other on stage. We never experienced any of that.

But there must have been some frustrating moments making the album.
Maybe little things, more with miscommunications. I think at one point Mark and Tom were really ready to work again and I was on a Lil Wayne tour. Then when I'm ready to work and I get home, Tom's doing an Angels album. Or Mark's doing his TV show. But that's just the effect of being apart for seven years. We all started getting our own things going on. It was hard to pick up and tell me, "Hey man, fuck your solo album" or "Tom, screw Angels and Airwaves" or "Mark, your show's not important right now." All those things were established and kinda got popping before the band was recording an album again.

There must have been moments that you'd get material back from Tom and it was not quite the sound you wanted. 
Maybe sometimes, but I think that was a result of having a couple of different studios. But then if you were producing something and we were working on an album together you could make something and it might be a little too much in the direction you usually go. So, I'd come in and balance it out and Mark balances it out. That's what we're here for. That's what Blink's here for.

I'm sure some fans just want the sound of old Blink. They want hear "Dammit Part 2."
Yeah, I feel that. But we could only write so many songs for this album. There will be other albums. This was just the first group of songs. I actually look forward to the next album even more because hopefully we won't have our hands on so many other projects at the time. Maybe it will be like our last self-titled album where we spend a year just working on it. I have no idea, but I do feel like we gave our fans a little bit of everything that they expected. At the end of the day, it can't be like a self-indulgent Blink album where we're just doing all this experimental new stuff. I feel like there's a lot of old with the new.

Did you worry when the band got back together that tension would remain, and that Mark and Tom wouldn't totally be a unit again?
Well, those two were like husband and wife back in the day. I'd always tell them that I'd never seen two males that weren't homosexual so close. And no diss to homosexual people. I like heterosexual people, homosexual people, whatever. But I'd never seen two friends so close or anything like how Mark and Tom were. I always played the middle between them. And I still do. I'm really close to Mark and I'm really close to Tom. It's like a couple, but there's three of us. So we all have to spend time being friends, just being cool, maybe talking about stuff that has nothing to do with the band. It's just like any relationship.

• Inside the Ups and Downs of Blink-182

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