Mark Hoppus: Blink-182 Was Never Going To Part with Travis Barker

Blink 182
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Blink 182 at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

Despite the claims of Tom DeLonge, the drummer was never considered in danger of losing his spot in the band.

As the battle between Blink-182 members rages on, bassist Mark Hoppus has clarified in a new interview that the group was never going to part with drummer Travis Barker, despite the claims of newly ousted guitarist Tom DeLonge.

During the squabbling between the pop-punk group's members this week -- which resulted in DeLonge being effectively fired from the group -- DeLonge posted on Twitter (and since removed the post) that he and Hoppus "spent a week on the phone with managers debating parting with Travis" last year. However, Hoppus tells Alternative Press that the claim is false, and that the perceived issue last year arose from Barker's refusal to fly, following a 2008 plane crash that nearly claimed the drummer's life.

Blink-182's Mark Hoppus & Travis Barker Expose Tom DeLonge in Tell-All Interview

"[For the 2013] Australian tour in January, Travis obviously didn't go on that tour because he didn't feel comfortable flying, which was a possibility that we had known about from day one," says Hoppus of the band, which ended an extended hiatus following Barker's plane crash. "When we agreed to do the tour of Australia Travis said, 'I will do everything in my power to get back on an airplane, but if it gets to the day and I'm not ready to go, we need a back-up plan.' As it [came] closer to the time, Travis called me and Tom and said, 'I'm not ready yet, I don't think I'm going to be able to make the flight. We should go with a back-up drummer.' With Travis' blessing we enlisted Brooks Wackerman and completed the tour.

However, the last-minute replacement resulted in an argument between Barker and a promoter, which upset Hoppus and DeLonge during the Australian tour. "After the tour, Tom was very upset about being put in that situation on tour, where people were threatening to sue, the promoter was angry and everything else," Hoppus continues. "But he was really just blowing off steam. We got back from tour and Tom was having these calls where he was talking about 'can we replace Travis, can we do whatever,' but it was really just Tom blowing off steam. There were a few days of calls where I listened to Tom, commiserated with Tom and, immediately afterwards, called up my manager and [said], 'Tom's upset right now, he's talking about trying to replace Travis, but I'm not into it. That's not going to happen.' And sure enough, Tom, after a month, called back up and was like, 'Hey you know what? I was just angry about it. It was a bad situation, and of course I don't want to kick Travis out of the band.' I don't think Tom was ever truly serious about it. Even at the time, I felt he was just angry and he just needed to vent."

Of course, now Blink-182 is without DeLonge, who Hoppus and Barker claim has not tried to engage in band activity for years. "I think honestly, from everything we've heard from Tom's manager and from what Tom has done--and is not doing even more so--Tom doesn't want to be in Blink. It's obvious," says Hoppus.

Blink-182 will soldier on and headline the Musink Tattoo & Music Festival in March, with Alkaline Trio guitarist Matt Skiba filling in for DeLonge, at least temporarily. "After that, we don't know," says Hoppus. "We haven't played a show with Matt yet, so it's too soon to really say what goes beyond on that. We're very optimistic and excited about the possibilities of continuing with Matt in some way. He's a good friend, a great guitarist, a great singer. He has a really positive attitude. I think we've been friends for, what, 15 years? We don't have anything booked beyond that, but we are hopeful and excited.