Tom DeLonge On Future With Blink-182: “Our Relationship Got Poisoned Yesterday”
Written by James Arnold-Garvey on 28th January, 2015
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Blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker yesterday slammed the guitarist in a candid, tell-all interview with Rolling Stone, calling him “disrespectful and ungrateful”.
DeLonge has now posted a lengthy, detailed and emotional missive to Facebook this morning (AEDT), the first time he has spoken at length about the current crisis in the Blink-182 camp.
After re-affirming his love for Blink-182, DeLonge tells of his own frustrations at trying to “move this band down 50 different paths” in order to continue to grow and develop the Blink legacy.
“I tried to put forth ideas about how we can grow and challenge ourselves to become a better band,” he says. “I’m not sitting around waiting for someone else to do the work. I’m not wired that way.”
He then details what he calls “the big reset”, the period in 2012 leading up to the release of the band’s Dogs Eating Dogs EP. The EP followed on from the band’s comeback album Neighborhoods, which was recorded in a piecemeal fashion with members often recording parts separately, at different times and in different studios.
I tried to put together a band summit in Utah where we’d talk and work things out. It quickly was narrowed down to three hours in someone’s dressing room in a shitty casino. What I hoped would be a positive get-together away from everything turned into an awkward meeting in a smelly convention hall dressing room. But it was there that I told Mark and Travis that as long as we talked, and things were good between us as real friends, that I would be engaged and work passionately. I’d mirror our personal relationship. Exact words.
Then, the EP was the test. Months later, we’re recording those songs. I was in the studio for two months and they came in for around 11 days. I didn’t mind leading the charge, but we had all agreed to give it 100%. And this time- no baggage.
Despite that, we still somehow managed to self-sabotage.
The guitarist says “squabbling and politics” led him to pull the EP from sale for a time, when demand was high. “That moment ultimately broke my spirit,” he said. “I then realized that this band couldn’t lose the years of ill will. It was after that episode that I promised myself I would never be in that position again – to rely on the words we said to each other.”
This seems to be the crux point leading to the situation the band now finds itself in. After pouring time, money and effort into large scale plans for his other project, Angels & Airwaves, DeLonge says those commitments meant contractual demands from Blink-182, including the need to record a Blink-182 album in no longer than six months, could not be agreed upon.
“You can imagine my frustration when I was handed a 60-page Blink contract saying I couldn’t release an Angels album for 9 months and that the Blink album had to be recorded in 6 months, which was impossible for me. Doing so would force me to breach several [Angels & Airwaves] artist contracts.”
He continues: “I can’t just slam the brakes and drop years of development, partnerships and commitments at the snap of a finger. I told my manager that I will do Blink 182 as long as it was fun and worked with the other commitments in my life, including my family.”
This, says DeLonge, was what caused the biggest Blink-182 argument yet. “From their view I was controlling everything. In reality, I was scared to put myself out there again. To repeat the EP experience.”
After yesterday’s Hoppus and Barker-sanctioned press release, DeLonge posted to social media that he had “never quit the band” and was unaware of their intentions. The new statement reaffirms that he was blindsided by the act, and that “at the end of the day, all of this makes me really sad”.
His final words are perhaps the most damning, and convey a sense of finality.
“I know [Hoppus and Barker] very well, and their current actions are defensive and divisive. I suppose they’re doing this as a way to protect themselves from being hurt. Like we all do.
“And even as I watch them act so different to what I know of them to be, I still care deeply for them. Like brothers, and like old friends. But our relationship got poisoned yesterday. Never planned on quitting, just find it hard as hell to commit.”
Last night, DeLonge tweeted, then deleted, that he and Hoppus had discussed splitting with Barker a year ago, a situation which Hoppus has today addressed in an interview with Alternative Press. Hoppus says that the move was briefly considered after tensions arose during the band’s last Australian tour, fuelled by a Twitter spat between Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah and Barker.
Blink-182 previously took an extended hiatus between 2005 and the recording of their last album, Neighborhoods. You can read DeLonge’s full statement below.