"Neighborhoods," Blink-182's sixth full-length, was released on Tuesday (Sept. 27), exactly seven years, 10 months and nine days after the band put out their previous self-titled album. In between the two releases, the pop-punk icons experienced a painful split in late 2004; the death of longtime producer Jerry Finn; and drummer Travis Barker nearly perished in a Sept. 2008 plane crash, a terrifying moment that eventually served as a catalyst for the band's reunion. After heading out on a massive comeback tour in 2009, Barker, bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge pieced together a dark, infectious full-length, led by the anthemic first single, "Up All Night."
Blink-182's full comeback tale is detailed in this month's Billboard cover story, but to celebrate the release of "Neighborhoods," check out the full Q&A with Hoppus, who talked with Billboard about Barker's plane crash, the "really depressing" lyrics on "Neighborhoods," and the future of Blink-182 after their current tour wraps next month.
Billboard: After so much time away from the studio, why do you think Blink-182 needed to make a new album? Why not just keep touring?
Hoppus: We didn't want to be one of those bands that kept touring on music that was 15 or 20 years old. We want to remain current and vital and relevant and keep creating. We didn't want to just keep touring the same songs forever; that's boring.
What specifically was the problem that caused the hiatus in 2004?
We stopped having fun. I think it started to feel more like a job and a commitment than a joy, which it should always be. Tom was the first one who really wanted to take a bunch of time off, and Travis and I didn't; we wanted to keep touring. We like to tour, we like to have fun, but Tom was the first one to say, "I need a minute here", and it caused a lot of turmoil in our band. It kind of melted down from there.
Were you and Travis angry with Tom?
I was angry at Tom because I wanted to keep touring, and Tom was angry at us because he needed to take a break for a second and we weren't hearing it. Just bad communication and too much time in the crucible, I guess.
You all explored other projects during the hiatus. Was it always in the back of your mind that Blink-182 would get back together?
It's strange, because every interview I did - if it was for [side project] +44, or for producing a record -- everybody would always ask if Blink was gonna get back together. And to be honest, I could see it either way. I could see Tom never talking to us again, or I could see the band forming at any given time. I don't think it was in "Tom's court"; I think we had to let time go by before we could deal with one another again and appreciate how lucky we are to do what we do.
How did you find out about Travis' plane crash?
I was asleep at my house in Los Angeles, and one of my very good friends called and I answered the phone. It was unusual that he'd call me so early in the morning, and I picked up the phone and he said, "Are you okay?" And I said, "Yeah, why, what's up?" And he told me what had happened, and it was… awful. It sucks. It was one of the worst things to ever have to hear. I got on the next plane I could, out to where Travis was, in the hospital. It was awful.