With all the subtlety of a squawking married couple, Blink-182 aired its dirty laundry on Jan. 26. In spectacularly public fashion, singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge announced he was leaving the band indefinitely, after which bandmates Mark Hoppus (vocals/bass) and Travis Barker (drums) issued a press release claiming DeLonge was ousted. The back-and-forth sniping continues today. Three PR vets offer their advice.
RECONCILE: The best possible scenario: Kiss and make up. "You have to repair the image," says Scoop Marketing's Larry Solters, who has worked with The Eagles for 39 years. "You have to make the band realize: 'Don't blow this. Don't mess with this beautiful thing you've created. You're blessed. Either put your petty differences aside or deal with them, but don't let it tarnish your trademark.'"
NEGOTIATE THE DIVORCE: "Let go of the emotion and the anger and enter into a negotiation," offers veteran crisis manager Howard Bragman, who has worked with Monica Lewinsky and Chaz Bono. "The smartest people agree to disagree and find a trusted mediator and a resolution. Fans don't want to have to take sides. They're on the side of Blink-182, but they haven't been given that choice."
MOVE ON: Says Keith Hagan of SKH Music, who has represented Aerosmith and Bad Company: "Rock feuds can be fun fodder for media, but you risk pissing off your core fan base. Take the high road: When Lindsey Buckingham left Fleetwood Mac just before a tour [in 1987], they replaced him and moved on. There are better ways to handle these things than throwing rocks at each other."
This article first appeared in the Feb. 14 issue of Billboard.