Blink-182 are in the midst of a messy public disagreement.
Last fall, the pop-punk pioneers’ singer/guitarist, Tom DeLonge, told us they were “hoping” to release a new album by summer 2015, but the band has been offering vague promises like that for a while. Yesterday, the Musink tattoo and music festival announced that Matt Skiba of Illinois punk stalwarts Alkaline Trio would be filling in for DeLonge at the March 20 to March 22 event in Southern California. What followed was an online back-and-forth that points to a deep and potentially lasting divide between DeLonge and the rest of Blink-182.
Shortly after the Musink details emerged, singer/bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker told KROQ in a statement that DeLonge had left the band “indefinitely” to focus on his other projects. Then DeLonge wrote in an Instagram post that he “never quit the band” and had been on the phone about a Blink-182 event at the time of the earlier press release. Later, Hoppus and Barker acknowledged to Rolling Stone that Barker didn’t “quit” the band in a legal sense, though they added that he had effectively left the group. They also blasted his behavior as “ungrateful” and “disingenuous.”
DeLonge’s last social media post contained a photo of an embrace with a lion and the text, “Me and the band #hugging.” In an email earlier in the day with EW, he maintained he wasn’t quitting the group. “The ONLY truth here is that I have commitments that limit my availability this year,” he said. “I love Blink-182 and I’m not leaving.”
Hoppus and Barker, in their press release earlier in the day, painted a different picture. “We were all set to play this [Musink] festival and record a new album and Tom kept putting it off without reason,” they said. “A week before we were scheduled to go into the studio, we got an email from his manager explaining that he didn’t want to participate in any Blink-182 projects indefinitely, but would rather work on his other non-musical endeavors.”
Blink-182 took a hiatus from 2005 to 2009, returning to tour and release 2011′s Neighborhoods. DeLonge’s other band, Angels & Airwaves, released their album The Dreamwalker last December, along with an animated short film. Hoppus tweeted yesterday: “blink-182 life. For life.”
Be sure to read our features looking back on Blink-182′s breakthrough 1999 album, Enema of the State:
Record Club: Revisiting Blink-182′s Enema of the State
Record Club: How Enema of the State Changed Tom DeLonge’s Life
Record Club: 1999′s Pop-Punk Highlights