Lots of bands downplay the tension that tore them apart when they sign on for highly lucrative reunion tours, but Blink-182 decided to be honest. “We are Blink-182,” Mark Hoppus told the crowd minutes after taking the stage at the group’s reunion gig in May 2009. “And this is our very, very first show after hating each other’s guts for many, many years.”
More specifically, Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker hated guitarist Tom DeLonge’s guts. It’s a complex story, but simply put, DeLonge split the band up in 2005 to spend time with his family and create complex, prog-inspired music with his new group Angels and Airwaves. There were also long-standing simmering conflicts that came to a boil around 2004. Hoppus and Barker carried on as +44, only speaking to Tom via nasty swipes in the press.
“The fans saw me as the villain,” DeLonge told Rolling Stone in 2011. “I’m sure they did. But nothing I ever did was vindictive. I said some bad shit because I got addicted to Vicodin for quite a while because I have a really bad back. I got all hopped up on narcotics and that fueled my fucking belief that I can really change my life and that messed me up for a while.”
Sadly, it took the tragic 2008 plane crash that killed four people and critically injured Travis Barker and Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein to bring the band together. “It’s crazy to think that such horrific events would be what it would take to get us back together,” Barker told Rolling Stone in 2011. “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.”
The group began talking again and soon enough they were thinking about a tour, though Tom was concerned about singing the group’s old songs again. “Angels and Airwaves was light years ahead of anything I’d ever done at that point,” he said. “So I was wondering how I’d be able to play these songs. But as soon as you put that guitar on you forget how fast and loud and fun it is. Every night before I go onstage, I still listen to old punk bands like NOFX and the Descendants for the same reason that I did as a kid. It brings back that eternal youth kind of spirit. It’s awesome.”
Blink-182 went on a triumphant reunion tour in the summer of 2009. Their first show back was a launch party for the T-Mobile Sidekick in Los Angeles on May 14th. Here’s video of “The Rock Show” and “Feeling This.” They are touring again this summer and working on a new album.