Blink-182 are once again in a state of chaos. Word came out yesterday that Tom DeLonge had left the band and would be replaced with Alkaline Trio guitarist/singer Matt Skiba for the handful of upcoming gigs they have on the books. Tom responded on Instagram, saying he “never quit the band.” He also claimed he was just on the phone about some sort of Blink event in New York City.
To cut through the confusion, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus got on the phone with Rolling Stone to give their side of the story. “It’s hard to cover for someone who’s disrespectful and ungrateful,” Barker said. “Everyone should know what the story is with him…when we did get back together after my plane crash, we only got back together, I don’t know, maybe because I almost died. But he didn’t even listen to mixes or masterings from that record. He didn’t even care about it. Why Blink even got back together in the first place is questionable.”
Hours later, DeLonge responded via Twitter. “A year ago Mark and I spent a week on the phone with managers debating parting with Travis,” he wrote. “Don’t pretend there isn’t more to this story.” He has since deleted that tweet.
It’s very hard to know where things are going from here. There could be a legal fight over the name rights. There could be another break-up. They also could decide to put their differences aside and carry on as a trio, though right now the Hoppus and Barker are unsure if they’d even take DeLonge back. “We’ve done everything that we could to give Tom what he says he needs,” Hoppus told RS. “It’s been years of pushing back and I have to tell you: It feels humiliating to be in a band where you have to be apologizing for one person all the time.”
Just months ago, Blink-182 were on tour and fans had little reason to think such huge problems were brewing behind the scenes. Sure, they recorded their lone post-reunion album (2011’s Neighborhoods) in separate studios, but they put out an EP in late 2012 and seemed pretty happy onstage. Also, DeLonge took the blame for the original breakup. “The fans saw me as the villain,” he 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.”
All that seemed to be behind them this summer when they headed over to Europe for a tour that hit mainly festivals. On October 11, they played their lone U.S. date at the Wine Amplified Festival in Las Vegas. Their setlist relied largely on hits like “What’s My Age Again?,” “All the Small Things” and “The Rock Show.” They wrapped up with their breakthrough 1997 song “Dammit.” Here’s fan-shot video of the performance. At the end, they broke out “Family Reunion,” which is basically just a 30-second chant of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” routine. If this is truly the last time the classic trio plays together, it’s appropriate they went out with their single most juvenile song.