Travis Barker on New Lineup Post-Tom DeLonge Exit: 'It's Definitely a Great Feeling'
Last Wednesday, Billboard was invited to the Roxy in L.A. to see the debut of Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba performing alongside Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus as Blink-182. For just over an hour, the trio energetically and gleefully performed a vast array of Blink songs, from hits like "I Miss You," "Dammit," "The Rock Show" and "All The Small Things" to the first performance in over a decade of "Wendy Clear." And the trio led the entire Roxy in a screaming sing-along of the Misfits "Skulls" as confetti fell from the Roxy roof during the finale of "Family Reunion."
The show was the first of two warm-up gigs for Blink's closing set Sunday at Musink, a tattoo, car and music festival in Orange County curated by Barker. Before the band took the stage to thousands of fans, Billboard sat down with Barker in his trailer to discuss the future of Blink, the joy of being on stage after months of drama and the vegan meal he'd love to share with AC/DC at Coachella.
What did it feel like Wednesday to finally get up there and play Blink songs?
Oh, it was so fun 'cause you're in a practice room for four weeks and I know how dope it sounds and I know how good the vibe is going, but no one else does. So it's finally like, "Okay, we've heard Trav talk about it, we've heard Mark talk about it, we just witnessed it." Fans pretty much feel the same way. In San Diego during our encore, kids were chanting "Skiba, Skiba." It was awesome. I'm glad we did them too because this is a lot of people just to walk out in front of for the first time.
Were you surprised at all by how receptive people were to the lineup?
It went off just like I thought it would. It was definitely a great feeling to see what I was feeling was reassured by the crowd response and by feedback via the Internet and social media.
Does it also allow you to breathe easier here at Musink since you have so much to do?
Yeah, it definitely feels good because I'm doing double duty playing with Yelawolf too, so I really wanted to be like, "The Blink set I've got with my eyes closed and now let me focus on Yelawolf," 'cause I've been spending the last couple of hours learning all the songs for Yelawolf. We play together quite a bit but sometimes he'll be like, "I threw in two new songs," or, "I don't play this song into this song now." So it was cool I can focus on this too.
This really is the Travis night, as you're producing Prayers and playing with Yelawolf and Blink.
For me, everything, coming down here, seeing all the cars, Pegasus, who has some of the most amazing cars -- 100,000 to 200,000 rides -- to going through and seeing Corey Miller and all my favorite tattoo artists, to having Prayers, the band I'm producing, here, Yelawolf, who's like my brother from the south, and then of course Blink. And then the whole time I'm in San Diego, Tim Armstrong's on the phone with me going, "Trav, it's amazing. We couldn't be any more stoked." We opened a new room this time to play in and the venue is a hundred times better. Playing in the Hangar versus the metal box we played in the sound quality is good, you can fit twice as many people. It felt really good and it even made me anticipate it more hearing Tim go, "Our show was amazing, this is so cool, Trav. Everyone treated us right, we couldn't be happier." That goes a long way 'cause as much as I'm here playing with whoever I care about my friend's bands that played too or did me a favor and came down and rocked.
Would you do this again next year?
So by next year will you have a Crossroads Kitchen eatery, for which you're an investor, here?
I wish. Crossroads will be at Coachella with me, [chef] Tal [Ronnen] is gonna be there, cooking for AC/DC and myself and a few other people there.
Who are you playing with at Coachella?
I'm playing with Run The Jewels and this DJ named Deorro that I did a record with. I'm doing double duty both weekends.
Will you be eating with AC/DC?
I hope so, that'd be awesome.
What would be the vegan meal of choice with AC/DC?
Maybe Tal's meatballs, his vegan meatballs, there's nothing that compares, that would be cool. It'll be a lot of fun.
How much fun is it to get to go and support other musicians and not be the focal point?
Oh, I love that. Actually before Coachella this weekend I play with Kid Ink, David Guetta and Skylar Grey over at Wrestlemania. That just popped up, so immediately like tomorrow all my focus goes into learning that song. So I have four days to learn that song, then right afterwards it goes straight to Coachella work. But I love switching it up -- I get so bored. I love playing with Blink, I love playing with Yelawolf, I'm never bored with those, but I like someone throwing me a curveball and going, "You have 24 hours to learn this." That's awesome.
Did you ever watch Wrestlemania?
All the time.
Who was your favorite growing up?
Rowdy Roddy Piper, George "The Animal" Steele was awesome, Hulk [Hogan] was dope, Andre [The Giant] was dope, the British Bulldogs were dope, Junkyard Dog. He was walking by me, it was the only wrestling show my dad ever took me to 'cause it was in San Bernardino, but he walked by, he was full of sweat and I touched him. That was like, "I touched Junkyard Dog." That was crazy.
Given your dad took you to a wrestling match, how cool is it for you to get to play Wrestlemania as an adult?
It's the best feeling in the world. Or my dad, when I was a kid, he told me, "Trav, you ever get a tattoo, I'm gonna kick the shit out of you, I'm gonna kick you out of the house." Now my dad's at a tattoo festival that I throw with tattoos. He has matching tattoos, we both have Pal, because I call him Pal and then he has an F, like the Famous F. He has a couple of tattoos so it's amazing how things come around.
Do you know where Blink goes after this?
We don't know -- there are talks of all sorts of things. There's talk of maybe recording an album, there are talks of doing a tour with A Day To Remember, so we'll see what happens.
Those "Who The Fuck Is Matt Skiba" shirts were awesome.
It's also cool when you can poke fun at it.
Yeah, it's not so serious, it's cool.