The Entire Blink-182 Timeline Explained

With Tom DeLonge's long-awaited return to Blink-182 in 2022, per CNN, attention to the legendary pop-punk trio, who changed the pop culture map with their 1999 blockbuster album "Enema of the State," has skyrocketed to levels not seen since dudes were sporting frosted tips and Dickies shorts that draped past their knees. It's proof that DeLonge, bassist and co-lead singer Mark Hoppus, and legendary drummer (not to mention Machine Gun Kelly collaborator and Khloe Kardashian squeeze) Travis Barker, made an enormous impact when they first blew up on MTV with their irreverent humor and undeniably infectious hooks.

So how did we get here? Where did they begin, and what shenanigans did the "All The Small Things," "I Miss You," and "What's My Age Again?" rockers get up to along the way? Look no further, 30-something millennials who are busting out eyeliner and Atticus flat brims for the first time since their 2004 prom: this is the only Blink-182 timeline you'll ever need.

1992: Blink forms

Ace Showbiz says bassist Mark Hoppus moved to San Diego, California, in 1992, and was introduced to guitarist and fellow lead vocalist Tom DeLonge. After the two irreverent punk rockers agreed to start writing and recording music together, they decided to look for a drummer. Fortunately, DeLonge knew a kid named Scott Raynor from his high school, who agreed to man the kit. With the original lineup secured, they named themselves Blink and released their first two projects — the EP "Flyswatter," recorded sloppily on Scott's boom box, and the smoother-sounding cassette "Buddha" — that same year. "Buddha" managed to move roughly 1,000 copies thanks to Cargo Filter Records. It was a pitiful number compared to the blockbuster success of "Enema of the State" several years later, but more than enough to encourage the guys to keep at it.

Two years later, they'd put out their full-length debut album "Cheshire Cat" on Grilled Cheese Records. It was a bit too rough around the edges to capitalize on that year's mainstream punk rock resurgence, spearheaded by Green Day's "Dookie," but it was an important step in the right direction for the group and earned them more eyes and ears.

It was also just big enough to get them noticed by another group called Blink, who threatened legal action over the name. Not wanting to get dragged into a courtroom slugfest over a name they'd picked for no reason, they slapped an equally meaningless "-182" onto theirs and carried on.

1997: Dammit puts Blink-182 on the map

In 1997, Blink-182 released their sophomore effort: "Dude Ranch." "Josie" is a certified classic, but "Dammit" remains by far the most notable cut off the record. Interestingly, Ultimate Guitar says it was actually bassist/co-frontman Mark Hoppus who wrote the iconic guitar riff for the song, and that the rest of the tune fell into place within 10 minutes. Hoppus said, "...the best songs are the ones that just happen immediately and spontaneously. If you work on a song for weeks and weeks, you're forcing it."

Tom DeLonge shares Hoppus' enthusiasm for the tune, which is about feeling left behind as you watch your pals and ex-lovers move on. "That is one of the best songs we've ever written," he said. "That's probably the best song. It's so timeless and represents our band because it's about growing up, it's perfect." DeLonge considers "Dammit" to be a seminal moment in the band's history, where they finally learned how to write a simple, catchy radio hit. The song peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and became the band's first song to receive widespread national radio airplay.

Tom said: "[When 'Dammit' took off], we were freaking. We couldn't believe what was happening to us. So this time, we said to ourselves, "OK, let's not freak. Let's really try to put out a better album. Let's try to stay up here."

1998: Travis Barker replaces Scott Raynor

There are many conflicting reports and few confirmed details about exactly why original drummer Scott Raynor was fired from the group, but Joe Shooman's book "Blink 182: The Bands, the Breakdown, and the Return" says it likely had to do with his drinking problem. Although it's never been officially confirmed, Songfacts says the song "Man Overboard" has long been rumored to both be about Scott and to confirm this version of events. According to Raynor himself, who sat down with Jason Tate of Chorus, "They [Hoppus and DeLonge] wanted different things than me and at the same time our friendship was put to the test ... it kinda failed."

In any case, this all happened in 1997, while Blink was touring in support of "Dude Ranch." Luckily, their supporting act, the Aquabats, happened to have a very talented drummer named Travis Barker. Shooman claims that once Barker agreed to fill in for Raynor, he managed to learn Blink's entire 20-song set in about one hour, before crushing his first gig with the band.

Needless to say, Barker has been there ever since, drumming masterfully on everything from "Aliens Exist" to "Bored to Death." He's also used his tenure with the group to launch a celebrated career filled with collaborations with everyone from Machine Gun Kelly to Slash to Yungblud and Halsey. Oh, and to marry a Kardashian. They don't just tie the knot with anyone.

1999: Enema of the State turns Blink-182 into superstars

Blink-182 had already seen some success thanks to "Dammit," the lead single off 1997's "Dude Ranch." But although it's a fan favorite and would go on to become one of their signature tunes, the career heights it propelled them to look like a flat desert compared to the peaks they ascended following the release of their third record, 1999's "Enema of the State."

With Travis Barker's peerless and endlessly creative drumming serving as the spine, DeLonge and Hoppus were able to pen some of the most fun, sugary pop-punk anthems disaffected suburban teens-turned-elder-30-something millennials have ever screamed themselves hoarse to. Of course, there were the monster hit singles "All the Small Things," "What's My Age Again," and "Adam's Song," but dig a little deeper and you'll find just as much irreverent inspiration in deep cuts like "Going Away to College," "Dumpweed," and "Mutt."

Kerrang! says the hit-packed, bulletproof pop punk record not only launched the band to dizzying new levels of fame and went on to move 15 million copies, making it the band's best selling album to date, but it also became a key part of the surge in popularity pop punk enjoyed in the early 2000s. Looking back over two decades later, it's considered to be one of the most important modern rock records for this very reason. 

2001: DeLonge and Barker form Boxcar Racer

From 1992 to 1999, Blink-182 transformed from unserious high schoolers playing sloppily recorded punk songs in graffiti-smeared SoCal clubs to bona fide pop superstars. By the time their constant touring in support of 1999's "Enema of the State" wound down in mid-2001, it's safe to say these guys had fulfilled their wildest teenage fantasies and then some.

But they were also growing up fast, despite lyrics in songs like "Dammit" and "What's My Age Again?" suggesting they never would. As evidenced by an interview with MTV, Tom DeLonge, in particular, began to feel restless playing songs about teenage shenanigans in his mid-twenties. Feeling he'd gone about as far as he cared to on the back of irreverent toilet humor, he struck out on a more mature side project called Box Car Racer. And, understandably, not wanting to pay for a studio drummer when he had an equally restless drumming master with an identical touring schedule, he tapped Blink stickman Travis Barker to join him.

Also understandably, though, Mark Hoppus felt left out and hurt that DeLonge and Barker were off writing songs without him. "It was really hard for Mark," DeLonge said. "He thought it was really lame Travis and I went and did that." But he also notes that he didn't know about +44, Hoppus and Barker's own side project they formed years later, until months afterward. Clearly, the divisions that started here would only get worse.

2001-2003: Continued success

"Enema of the State" turned Blink-182 into a household name. Now they had to figure out how to hold onto their status.

In 2001, they put out their fourth album, "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket." With hit singles "First Date," "Rock Show," and "Stay Together For The Kids," not to mention plenty of deep cuts like "Anthem Part 2," "Story of a Lonely Guy," and "Reckless Abandon" that featured all the infectious hooks and earworm melodies fans had come to expect, it was clear the band had another hit on their hands. Stereogum says that although the album debuted at No. 1, Tom DeLonge felt the band hadn't taken any "creative leaps or bounds." In other words, it was a more refined version of what they'd already done on "Enema."

But 2003's self-titled fifth album, as evidenced by the lack of an innuendo pun of a name, was much more his speed. On this album, smash hit "I Miss You" was joined by fellow singles like "Feeling This," "Down," and "Always," not to mention more solid deep cuts like "Violence," "Obvious," and "Easy Target." While it didn't quite achieve the commercial highs of the last two albums, Kerrang! says it was still a success and showcased far more maturity and experimentation than their previous work, which critics praised. Writing for Slant, Scott Shetler said the record "might just be the band's best album to date."

2005: DeLonge quits the band

Band forms. Members bond over early struggles. Band makes it big. Members grow apart, and start squabbling over "creative differences." Band breaks up. It's a tale as old as time, and Blink-182 was, sadly, no exception.

By 2004, the boys in Blink were used to the success of their last four albums, and cracks in the camaraderie had started to show. Hoppus and Barker remained committed to the group, but DeLonge was restless. He told MTV that he was struggling to balance his commitment to his family with the one to the band, and felt Hoppus and Barker were asking too much of him. "My priority was my family," he said, "and my life had to be structured in a way where I had to be around for my daughter ... And they wanted to keep touring." Billboard says that things began to unravel when Blink pulled out of an early 2005 tsunami relief concert due to "unexpected circumstances" — which ended up being DeLonge's departure from the band.

Consequence reports that on February 22 of that year, the group announced an "indefinite hiatus" and that DeLonge didn't speak to his former bandmates for years. Nobody was having an easy time of things afterwards. Hoppus and Barker's new band +44 went nowhere, according to Billboard, and DeLonge made controversially grandiose statements about his new group Angels and Airwaves that he later chalked up to a pain killer addiction, per MTV.

2009: The group reunites

In August 2008, Billboard says Jerry Finn, a longtime Blink-182 collaborator, died of a brain hemorrhage at age 39. Barely a month later, Travis Barker was one of the few survivors of a horrific plane crash, that CBS says was due to all four poorly maintained tires exploding on the runway.

MTV summarizes a blog post in which Mark Hoppus described the back-to-back tragedies as "the hardest times" he could remember, but mentioned that both he and Tom DeLonge, from whom he'd been estranged since the group's early 2005 split, had visited Barker in the hospital and seen each other there. After reconnecting, and following Barker's discharge from the hospital, the trio met up and had "two gnarly heart to hearts" where everyone laid out their grievances with the goal of putting it all behind them. According to AltPress, it was DeLonge who asked everyone, "Where are your heads at?" Hoppus replied, "I think we should continue with what we've been doing for the past 17 years. I think we should get back on the road and back in the studio and do what we love doing."

Reuters reported on the trio's appearance onstage at the 2009 Grammys to officially announce their reunion. "We used to play music together, and we decided we're going to play music together again," Barker said. And a press release the band put out after the event said, "To put it simply, We're back. We mean, really back."

2015: DeLonge is out ... again

Blink-182 reunited in 2009 and embarked on a star-studded reunion tour that SPIN says featured the likes of Weezer, Fall Out Boy, All American Rejects, Panic! At The Disco, and other groups they'd helped inspire. But then it was time to record their next record together – and it soon became clear to the guys in the band (and soon, the public) that the interpersonal problems that had caused their indefinite hiatus in 2005 had not gone away.

Billboard says that without Jerry Finn at the helm, the band decided to self-produce "Neighborhoods," the long-awaited followup to 2003's "Blink-182." This, combined with everyone's hectic and often incompatible schedules, led to a chaotic mess in the studio. When the record finally hit shelves, Billboard says it underwhelmed expectations and led to even more tension in the ranks.

Old wounds reopened, and soon DeLonge was restless yet again. In 2015, it was announced he was again out of the band, with Hoppus and Barker blasting him in Rolling Stone. "Why Blink even got back together in the first place is questionable," Barker reportedly said, in an interview where words like "ungrateful" and "disingenuous" were also thrown around. He also alleged that DeLonge didn't actually want to play or record music with him and Hoppus, and that he only rejoined the group for the money.

2017: Blink moves forward with Matt Skiba

The first time Tom DeLonge left Blink-182, the group went on "indefinite hiatus" and didn't play in any form until everyone was back together in 2009. The second time the band parted ways with him, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker decided to soldier on without him. Pensacola News Journal reports that they tapped Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba to fill in on guitar and co-lead vocal duties, after a few successful 2015 gigs with him.

Skiba "came in after we needed him to fill in on a few shows after Tom left," Hoppus said. "He's been a friend of ours for years and years, and he was just the only person we ever thought to have fill in on those shows. It was such an easy transition that we thought, 'let's go into the studio and see what happens there."

What came out of that studio session was "California," the group's seventh album and first without DeLonge. The record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and earned the band their first Grammy nomination. The band's eighth album, 2019's "Nine," debuted at No. 3 behind Post Malone and the Zac Brown Band, according to Billboard. Writing for Pitchfork, Nadine Smith said that the album works surprisingly well, but that Blink-182 only "feels half as fun as the band used to be."

2021: Hoppus gets cancer

In June 2021, Mark Hoppus announced via Twitter: "For the past three months I've been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer." Hoppus told GQ, "I went through this whole period of, like, not why me, but of course me. Why wouldn't it be me? We've had so much good luck and good fortune, and things have kind of fallen into place for me specifically for so long, that of course I was due ... for something tragic."

While he told PEOPLE that he was depressed and suicidal while undergoing treatment — "I was in our living room crying and telling my wife, 'I don't know if I can do this.' ... It was pretty dark." — he fought the good fight and came out the other side. In September 2021, Hoppus tweeted, "Just saw my oncologist and I'm cancer free! Thank God and the universe and friends and family and everyone who sent support and kindness and love."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

2022: Tom DeLonge rejoins the band

Blink-182's first reunion, in 2009, only happened because Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus saw each other in the hospital while visiting Travis Barker after his plane crash. Their 2022 reunion, according to PEOPLE, was made possible by DeLonge visiting Hoppus while he was undergoing chemotherapy. Tragic as both events were, both Barker and Hoppus survived, and both led to a long-awaited reunion with Tom DeLonge.

Pitchfork announced on October 11, 2022, that the band had reunited and was planning a reunion tour and new music. On October 14, the band released their first single, "Edging," and the accompanying video. It was the first new song Hoppus, Barker, and DeLonge had released together since "Neighborhoods" 11 years before.

Amid widespread fan celebrations, DeLonge wrote an open letter on Instagram to Matt Skiba, saying, "it's important for the world to know that I honor him ... I wanted to take a minute and say thank you for all that you have done to keep the band alive and thriving in my absence." Skiba was also a good sport, posting a congratulatory post on the same site in which he wrote, "I am truly grateful for my time with blink and I am truly happy you guys are a band and a family again."

The group immediately announced a 2023 reunion tour, but Loudwire says fans have complained that ticket prices – ranging from several hundred dollars to well over $1,000 – are unaffordably excessive.