But alas, it's 2015, and even though considerable amounts of money and creative property are at stake, the general public sees this as a sad squabble: three musicians fighting for control of a legacy. And therein lies the problem, the reason we're watching Blink-182's personal drama play out over a series of press releases, Instagram posts and interviews: Tom DeLonge wanted Blink-182 to exist as a legacy act, while Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker wanted it to be an active, living, breathing entity competing with the Paramores and Fall Out Boys of the world for pop-punk relevancy.
Speaking of Fall Out Boy, they're a great example of how to toe the legacy act/active band line. When they went on hiatus in 2009, they needed a break badly. Years in the public eye had been exhausting, and the four members needed time to break addictions, attend to their personal lives and pursue other creative outlets. This out of their systems, they returned in 2013, all on the same page, ready to pick up where they left off -- which they absolutely did.
Blink's time since returning from its 2005-09 hiatus has been very different. 2011's Neighborhoods -- their lone LP since -- was greeted with a warm welcome but quickly faded from the mainstream discussion, something that never happened during the band's previous three album cycles. Blink will always have an audience, but thanks in large part to their squabbles, time hasn't been kind to the trio. When they went on hiatus in 2005, Green Day was in the middle of its American Idiot resurgance and Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and many other Warped Tour acts were just starting to break out. 2005-09 could have been a bountiful time for an active, well-adjusted Blink-182.
Why Blink even got back together in the first place is questionable.
-Travis Barker, Jan. 26 interview
Look at each of our social media accounts and look who talks and promotes Blink-182 or is excited about Blink-182. Travis and I were ready to walk into a studio January 5th. That speaks louder than anything.
-Mark Hoppus, Jan. 26 interview
Never planned on quitting, just find it hard as hell to commit.
-Tom DeLonge, Jan. 27 Facebook post
Mark and Travis wanted a full-time band and the good ol' days; Tom wanted a part-time nostalgia outlet. Neither is inherently wrong: Fall Out Boy mastered the former, but it's an awfully difficult line to toe. The Pixies' 2003 reunion was well-received at first but wore out its welcome by the time Kim Deal quit, replacement bassist Kim Shattuck was fired, and their first new music in two decades got a lukewarm reception. New Order splintered to the point Pete Hook was constantly at the throats of Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, and now the bassist awkwardly performs the Joy Division and New Order catalog on his own. Stone Temple Pilots fired Scott Weiland and pulled the left-field move of bringing in Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, with new music still under the STP name.
Mark Hoppus: Blink-182 Was Never Going To Part with Travis Barker
It's painful to watch our heroes fall apart in public, but then again, while our nostalgia is in question, their livelihoods are often at stake. Maybe more groups should keep the book closed and go down in history with the Smiths' or Talking Heads' squeaky-clean legacies, but as long as there's a market for reunion tours, that won't often be the case. This week, Hoppus told Rolling Stone his hopes for Blink-182: "Play shows, record music, continue this legacy and have a good time doing it."
Now it appears almost none of that is possible. But it wouldn't have been that way if the trio had been as open with each other over the past decade as they've been with the Internet over the past week.