The Untold Truth Of Blink-182

Aside from Green Day, there arguably aren't really any other bands that have made more of an impact on pop punk than Blink-182. After their debut album, it did not take long before the rockstars were picked up by a major record label, MCA. Their music was subsequently featured in the now-classic teen movies "Can't Hardly Wait" and "American Pie." After "Enema of the State" was released in 1999, their popularity exploded. 

For many who were initially unaware of punk music, Blink-182 was hugely responsible for introducing them — and perhaps the entire Millennial generation — to the genre. And the band members could not be happier to serve as that gateway for young fans. As bassist Mark Hoppus once said (via Rolling Stone), "The biggest compliment of all is a kid saying we opened up his eyes to a new style of music. We're kind of like Fisher-Price: My First Punk Band." 

But the members are not just pop rock pioneers. With the band's hilarious backstage antics and their numerous fascinating side projects, there is so much more to the story of the reigning punk kings of fart jokes. Here are some of the lesser known details behind Blink-182.

The band was originally just Blink without the 182

After discovering that there was already an Irish band named Blink, the U.S. punk band were forced to modify their name in order to differentiate themselves. But the trio struggled to settle on an addition, deciding not to use the options they came up with (like Blink Jr. and Blink U.K.). This dragged on until the record studio became frustrated with their indecision, so 182 was added at the last minute. As Mark Hoppus said to Rolling Stone, "We just pulled it out of our ass."

In an interview with Amy Schumer on Fuse, Hoppus told the full story and said that the label basically threatened to choose a name for them if they didn't come up with one themselves. "And we just made up the 182, and ever since then we've made up different stories all the time about what 182 means. It was my ideal weight. It was the ship number that my grandfather worked on in World War II. It was the number of times Al Pacino said f*** in 'Scarface.'

However, guitarist Tom DeLonge posted a tweet in 2018 that just added to the mystery. He said, "It's actually— Blink eighteen-two. People have all gotten this wrong for years" (via Spin). The revelation has only increased speculation that there is, in fact, a true meaning behind the number.

Tom DeLonge wanted to be a firefighter before he became a musician

Tom DeLonge loved music as a kid, and was grateful for the beat-up guitar his buddy gave him that got him to start playing when he was 13. On the other hand, the teen had another interest in high school that he originally thought would be a better career option...until he actually started doing it. 

The guitarist told bizSanDiego Magazine, "I was originally going to be a firefighter. I was in the San Diego Cadet Program. They yelled at me to do pushups. Well, then rock and roll seemed better."

DeLonge then wanted to become a rockstar, but could not pull off that dream immediately. He was forced to work in construction, which he despised even more than the cadet training. In his conversation with Rolling Stone, he said, "I hated, hated, hated my job. You know those people who hate their job? That was me." So, when Blink-182 was picked up by MCA, the guitarist instantly quit his day job.

Mark Hoppus met Tom DeLonge through his sister, Anne

The formation of Blink-182 seems to be one of those major events in music history that was destined to happen, mostly because of the great friendship between Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge. That bond began pretty much instantly after they met each other. The fledgling musicians were at the same point in their careers with incredible ambition to make it big, so the partnership was a huge opportunity for both of them.

In 1991, Hoppus transferred to Cal State San Marcos to get certified as a high school English teacher, according to Rolling Stone. While this was happening, his sister Anne was dating one of DeLonge's friends, Kerry Key (via Kerrang! Radio). On only his second day back in town, Anne introduced DeLonge to her brother, and the two immediately became friends. 

The relationship would become a legendary moment for the pop punk world, but the bassist still admits that it was a bit weird just how well he got along with DeLonge. "We make the exact same jokes. Honestly, it was kind of creepy."

Travis Barker is a musical prodigy

Not only did the extraordinarily talented drummer Travis Barker start playing the drums at four years old, but he has also had extensive musical training in many diverse genres, from jazz to madrigals

According to AllMusic, Barker also learned how to play the trumpet and piano, along with receiving vocal training as well. Despite this, the drums remained his favored instrument. In fact, he used the same beloved drum kit all throughout childhood until he turned 15

Early on, the band's first drummer Scott Raynor was kicked out, so Barker quickly stepped in. One can certainly argue that Barker became the most skilled musician of the trio. Even though the drummer is not a founding member of Blink-182, he has been such a key fixture of the band for so long that it's hard to imagine the group reaching the same level of success without him.

Travis Barker only had two hours to learn Blink-182's songs before his first show

In 1998, Travis Barker was first asked to fill in for founding drummer Scott Raynor mid-tour. Fortunately, Barker was on the same tour with his ska band, Aquabats, so he was able to learn all of Blink-182's set list in an incredibly short amount of time. On the other hand, his previous exposure to their music was not the only factor, as there are few musicians talented enough to pull off such a feat.

In an interview with Drum!, Barker recalled the tense yet exhilarating situation. "They came to me, seriously, two hours before the show and they go, 'Can you learn 21 songs and play our set with us?' I was like, 'Well, yeah, give me a tape really quick.' [...] We had been on the last six shows with them, so I kind of got an idea of what they were doing, or what songs they were playing."

Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge were clearly impressed with his performance. Barker added, "I played that show with them and they were just going, 'Wow, we're super stoked. We've never sounded this good. Would you be interested in playing with us?' I went, 'Yeah, if anything ever happens and you ever need somebody, just tell me. I'd be more than happy to. I love your music.'" When Raynor left permanently shortly after, Barker came on board — and as they say, the rest is history.

The band members pretended they got beaten up before performing on Conan O'Brien

Blink-182 love to pull pranks on people, and one of their best was when they showed up on "Conan O'Brien" to perform "First Date" in 2001. When the trio appeared on stage, something was off: The band looked like they had just gotten out of a brawl, which alarmed not just fans, but also their record label.

Years later, the band came clean and admitted that it was all a joke pulled at the last minute. In an interview with Kerrang!, Mark Hoppus said, "It was a prank! Right before we went onstage, they were like, 'Right, blink, you're onstage in 10 minutes – go get made up.' So we go back there, and the make-up artists had this row of photos that she'd done, and some of them showed special effects. She put a black eye on me!" According to Hoppus, he and his bandmates received a ton of calls from various concerned parties the next day, trying to figure out exactly what had transpired.

Blink-182 members were not big drinkers nor party drug users

Despite all the crazy antics of Blink-182, the two wildest members don't use drugs and rarely ever get drunk. DeLonge drinks the most out of the three, but even he's not a big fan. In an interview, the guitarist explained, "I'm not a big drinker at all, I don't like alcohol... But before a show, I like to fill the hole in my heart with alcohol and then get the nervousness and push it down, you know?" He then emphasized one more time, "But I don't like drinking at all."

Mark Hoppus dislikes booze the most in the group. As he told Rolling Stone,  "I used to drink, but it got boring. And on tour, you wake up, you feel like shit, and you've got to travel. But I'm not straight-edge – I have no problem with what other people put in their bodies."

The absence of drugs was not just good for the bandmates' health. DeLonge also figured out a way to use their anti-drug stance to the group's advantage. When the band was new and struggling to get gigs, the guitarist was able to secure shows at churches and schools because he claimed the band had a strong message against drug use.

Blink-182 believe in a higher power

All three of the main members are firm believers in God, or at least some kind of higher power. While Mark Hoppus is not strongly connected to any specific dogma, he admitted to Rolling Stone, "I pray before we go onstage, and I pray at night." Likewise, Tom DeLonge went to church camp as a kid where he found out he loved to play guitar. So, unsurprisingly, he added that he is "a believer in Jesus Christ." But both of them are a bit worried whatever that higher power is, it may not be too pleased with their immature behavior and excessive use of curse words. 

No matter how strong Hoppus' and DeLonge's faith is, it may not compare to the level of Travis Barker because of his near-death experience. When the drummer described his faith to Vice, he said, "Well I got the Virgin Mary tattooed on my foreman when I was 18, 19. and I was brought up Catholic. I definitely pray; I believe in God. I definitely think I was blessed, and I'm here for a reason after being the only survivor of a plane crash. So I'm not at church every day and I'm not pushing religion on people. But I believe in God and I pray and my kids pray." Like Barker, none of the members have any interest in spreading their beliefs to others, but it is a vital part of their lives. 

Mark Hoppus rented studio space for Motion City Soundtrack

When Blink-182 and Motion City Soundtrack went on tour together in Europe, Mark Hoppus asked the band if he could produce their next album. The ecstatic newcomers quickly said yes, so the Blink bassist then rented out the Seedy Underbelly studios in Valley Village, California, for the band to record their next album, "Commit This to Memory."

When Motion City Soundtrack bassist Matt Taylor described the fascinating location that they recorded at for six weeks to MTV News, he said, "It was just a house, and it belonged to the drummer of Toto, Jeff Porcaro, so the drum room was really nice. It was in a neighborhood with a pool, and we were living there like a big happy family." Especially with Hoppus involved, it was no shock that the wild atmosphere was too much for the rest of the neighborhood. Lead singer Justin Pierre added, "The next-door neighbor was always calling the cops on us because we were too loud at night."

The band played a prank on MCA Records executives

When Blink-182 were recording new music for their album, "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket," executives from their record label came to the studio to see the progress. The previous album, "Enema of the State," was a huge success, so they were eager to see what the trio could come up with next. But as a joke, the band only played the obscene bonus songs, "F*** A Dog" and "When You F***** Grandpa," and the suits were absolutely horrified.

In an interview with Music Radar, Tom DeLonge told the hilarious story and said, "I remember the label came down to hear the big follow-up and those were the only songs we played them. Oh my God, they lost their minds. We had this song about f******* Hitler – we changed it to 'when you f****** grandpa', but it originally was, 'When you f****** Hitler did he tell you that he loved you?' They lost it."

Blink-182 were rarely in the studio together when recording 'Neighborhoods'

In 2011, Blink-182 released their first album in eight years, "Neighborhoods," after the band had announced an indefinite hiatus back in 2005. But even though the group had gotten back together, they were still used to working apart, and pretty much continued to do so. 

In an interview with MusicRadar, Tom DeLonge described the bizarre situation and said, "Mark was in his studio in LA, I was in San Diego, everyone was so busy. Out of recording for a year, we were only in the studio as all three of us together for a total of one or two weeks. We only wrote songs together for three days. The rest was emails."

When Alternative Press asked if it was weird to record an album in such a way, Mark Hoppus replied, "No, it's just kind of the way that recording works now, and the way that we work as artists." He added that their working arrangement for "Neighborhoods" was similar to the one they followed for their previous album.

Tom DeLonge almost made his children's book ridiculously raunchy instead

In 2013, Tom DeLonge released the children's book he wrote, "The Lonely Astronaut on Christmas Eve." It was a surprise to many (partly that the rockstar had the maturity to pull off such a project). On the other hand, the achievement made much more sense after the guitarist admitted that he had a tough time deciding on whether to make it X-rated or not.

As DeLonge told Alter The Press!, "I kid you not, it was a hard decision not to make it a children's book and just make it really f***** up and NC-17! We really did battle that discussion about if we should just put a bunch of dicks in it and make it really weird or make it just cool and real? I thought the cool and real one would be more unexpected to be honest, that's why."

Band members have made a few cameos in films

Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge, and Travis Barker all made an appearance in "American Pie," and the bassist was especially excited to be involved early on during pre-production of the film. Hoppus told FilmsActu, "We were actually part of that movie before it was even made, when it was just the script getting circulated around Hollywood. A friend of ours brought it to our attention and I thought it was the funniest script I've ever seen. And I think Tom read for one of the parts or something like that, but we were really glad to be part of the film and that was awesome."

Individually, DeLonge also had a brief part in the horror comedy "Idle Hands" as a Burger Jungle worker named Dave who is more than happy to go on break like a typical fast food employee. Interestingly, the guitarist's later replacement, Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio, got the opportunity to be in one of Christopher Nolan's greatest films. The new member joked on Instagram, "Pretty sure that my skills sealed the deal on the success of 'The Dark Knight'" (via Alternative Press). The caption was also accompanied with a blurry screenshot of his cameo as part of the crowd out for blood, trying to seize Coleman Reese (Joshua Harto) while he tries to escape GCN Studios.

There are always shenanigans while Blink-182 is on tour

Before Blink-182 rose to the top of the pop punk world, they learned from the best (meaning, veterans like Pennywise) while on tour. And even decades later after having families with kids, they continue to joke around with other artists, like when the master pranksters got rapper Asher Roth first with a gigantic drape that blocked his stage, which was followed by a group of male strippers.

When talking with Spin, Tom DeLonge recalled a humorous occasion when Blink pranked Jimmy Eat World using bursts of bright light. The guitarist explained, "We did it just randomly in the middle of a song. [Frontman] Jim [Adkins] would be singing about a girl and we'd just hit it. That was partly Green Day's idea, too."

Jeremy McKinnon, the lead singer of A Day to Remember, confirmed that while Blink has toned it down, they are still up to their typical hijinks. In an interview with MusicFeeds, the ADTR frontman mentioned that Mark Hoppus will often crack jokes and insult other bands, but it's all done in good fun. McKinnon added, "He came out a few nights, messing around and throwing toilet paper into the crowd... He [waited] 'til we played our acoustic song, which is like this super dramatic moment, and came out by himself and just starts throwing toilet paper in the middle of this serious song and everybody just cracked up. So yeah, they're still those fun-loving guys you'd expect."