Blink-182, pronounced "blink one eighty two") is an American rock band. Since 2015, the lineup of the band has consisted of bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker, and guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba. Founded by guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, Hoppus and drummer Scott Raynor, the band emerged from the Southern California punk scene of the early 1990s and first gained notoriety for high-energy live shows and irreverent lyrical toilet humor.
In its early years, Blink-182 toured heavily behind the band's debut, Cheshire Cat (1995). The group signed with major label MCA Records to co-distribute its second album, Dude Ranch (1997). Raynor was fired midway through a 1998 tour and replaced by Barker. The group's next two releases, Enema of the State (1999) and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001), were enormous successes on the strength of radio and MTV airplay. The eponymously titled Blink-182 followed in 2003 and marked a stylistic shift for the group. DeLonge quit in 2005, sending the band into what was termed an "indefinite hiatus". They reunited in 2009, producing the trio's sixth album, Neighborhoods (2011). In 2015, DeLonge again exited and was replaced by Alkaline Trio guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba. The band's seventh studio album, California, was released on July 1, 2016.
Blink-182 is considered a key group in the development of pop punk; the band's combination of pop music melodies with fast-paced punk rock featured a more radio-friendly accessibility than prior bands. The trio has sold over thirteen million albums in the United States, and over 50 million albums worldwide. In 2011, The New York Times asserted, "no punk band of the 1990s has been more influential than Blink-182," and even as the band receded after its 2005 split, "its sound and style could be heard in the muscular pop punk of Fall Out Boy or in the current wave of high-gloss Warped Tour punk bands, like All Time Low and The Maine."
Formation and early years (1992–1994)
Blink-182 was formed in Poway, California, a suburb outside of San Diego, in August 1992. Guitarist Tom DeLonge was expelled from Poway High for attending a basketball game drunk and was forced to attend another local school for one semester. At Rancho Bernardo High School, DeLonge performed at a Battle of the Bands competition, where he was introduced to drummer Scott Raynor. He also befriended Kerry Key, who too was interested in punk music. Key's girlfriend, Anne Hoppus, introduced her brother, bassist Mark Hoppus—who had recently moved from Ridgecrest to work at a record store and attend college—to DeLonge on August 1, 1992. The two clicked instantly and played for hours in DeLonge's garage, exchanging lyrics and co-writing songs—one of which became "Carousel". Hoppus, in trying to impress Delonge, managed to fall from a lamppost in front of DeLonge's garage and crack his ankles, an injury that put him in crutches for three weeks.
The trio began to practice together in Raynor's bedroom, spending hours together writing music, attending punk shows and movies, and playing practical jokes. Hoppus and DeLonge would alternate singing vocal parts. The trio first operated under a variety of names, including Duck Tape and Figure 8, until DeLonge rechristened the band "Blink". Hoppus' girlfriend was angered by her boyfriend's constant attention to the band, and demanded he make a choice between the band and her, which resulted in Hoppus leaving the band shortly after formation. Shortly thereafter, DeLonge and Raynor borrowed a four-track recorder from friend and collaborator Cam Jones and were preparing to record a demo tape, with Jones on bass. Hoppus promptly broke up with his girlfriend and returned to the band. Flyswatter—a combination of original songs and punk covers—was recorded in Raynor's bedroom in May 1993. Southern California had a large punk population in the early 1990s, aided by an avid surfing, skating, and snowboarding scene. In contrast to East Coast punk music, the West Coast wave of groups, Blink included, typically introduced more melodic aspects to the group's music. "New York is gloomy, dark and cold. It makes different music. The Californian middle-class suburbs have nothing to be that bummed about," said DeLonge. San Diego at this time was "hardly a hotbed of [musical] activity", but the band's popularity grew as did California punk rock concurrently in the mainstream. DeLonge called clubs constantly in San Diego asking for a spot to play, as well as calling up local high schools, convincing them that Blink was a "motivational band with a strong antidrug message" in hopes to play at an assembly or lunch.
The band was on stage nearly every weekend, even at Elks Lodges and YMCA centers. The band soon became part of a circuit that also included the likes of Ten Foot Pole and Unwritten Law, and the band found its way onto the bill as the opening band for local acts at Soma, a local all-ages venue located on Market Street which the band longed to headline. Big-name acts such as NOFX and Green Day played on the main floor, while smaller acts were relegated to the basement, an area referred to as "the Dungeon". The original location closed its doors and relocated before the band would be promoted to the main stage (which required a 100+ crowd to attend). "Soma was like home away from home. All the punk kids who didn’t give a fuck about football games and proms or whatever came to hang out at Soma," claimed Hoppus. The band's first big show on the main floor took place on a Thursday, where the band opened for Face to Face. Hoppus' manager at the record store, Patrick Secor, fronted him the money to properly record another demo at local studio Doubletime. The result was Buddha (1994), which the members of the band viewed as the band's first legitimate release. By this time, the group had branched out to venues such as the Soul Kitchen in El Cajon, but Raynor's family relocated to Reno, Nevada, and he was briefly replaced by musician Mike Krull. The band saved money and began flying Raynor out to shows, but eventually Raynor moved in with Hoppus for a summer in which the band would record its first album and music video and gain even more exposure.
Cheshire Cat (1995)
Dude Ranch (1997)
Enema of the State (1999)
Mark Hoppus – bass guitar, vocals (1992–2005, 2009–present)
Travis Barker – drums, percussion (1998–2005, 2009–present)
Matt Skiba – guitar, vocals (2015–present)