Blink-182 Talks 'Brohemian Rhapsody,' Andre 3000 & Gross Album Titles They Rejected
Somewhere out there is an entire Blink-182 album (or two) that the world will never hear. The trio visited the "Kevin & Bean" show on Los Angeles' KROQ on Thursday morning (April 28) to talk about the process of recording their new album, California (out July 1), hooking up with new guitarist Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba and the mysterious Queen-inspired final track on the disc.
"We threw them all away and walked in the studio with [producer] John [Feldmann] and wrote 28 songs in a period of 3-4 weeks," said singer Mark Hoppus about the lightning quick writing process for the album. That means the 30-40 songs they wrote in late 2015 during demo sessions at drummer Travis Barker's studio got tossed, with just a handful of the new songs getting left out of the 16-track final version of California.
Here are 12 other things we learned from the interview:
1. Barker said instant earworm single "Bored to Death" was the first song the group recorded together in early January with Feldmann and he thinks it's exactly the right way to launch Blink 2.0. "I think it was a really great first representation of what the bands sounds like," he said.
2. Hoppus explained that the original plan to release "Bored" was blown up on Wednesday when the trio found out during rehearsal that someone from their management uploaded the lyric video without proper protection, which forced them to scramble and quickly offer up the song to fans, along with the album's darkly cartoonish artwork. "I found out about it because we had just finished rehearsal and I literally picked up my phone to check my messages there were all these alerts saying 'I love the new Blink song,'" said Hoppus, who seemed not at all mad about the leak.
3. Adding Trio guitarist Skiba into the mix was a natural move after years of friendship between the groups, who had toured together in the past. "We've known Matt for years... and we never said, 'we have to go in and record,'" said Barker. After playing some shows with Skiba over the past two years, the monster drummer said the first sessions just clicked with "great vibes" and "great energy."
Plus, Skiba was at the top of the very short list. "He was the only one... the only person we could do it with was Matt Skiba," he said. "And we were right."
4. The whole thing went down over a friendly lunch at Barker's Los Angeles restaurant, Crossroads. "I was pleasantly shocked," Skiba said about the invitation to join the group. Hoppus described inviting Skiba to a lunch at Crossroads, where he and Barker were waiting in a private room that Skiba didn't know about. "It's still really surreal," Skiba said of his new gig, emphasizing that Alkaline will still do a show "here and there," but that Blink is his top priority now.
5. When Barker invites you to lunch at Crossroads, he always picks up the bill.
6. After losing longtime producer Jerry Finn in 2008, Barker said Feldmann was the only one who they felt comfortable with working on the new album. They also debuted a snippet of yet another song on the show, "Built This Pool," a driving track Hoppus said he's had in his back pocket for years.
7. The album's title came about after the three realized how many California references were sprinkled throughout, from the songs "Los Angeles," "California" and "San Diego" to shout outs to classic SoCal bands like Bad Religion. "The title of this album was one of the most difficult things I've done in my entire life," said Hoppus. At one point the pun-loving band were considering a joke title and the possibilities included Nude Erection, OB-GYN Kenobi and, wait for it, No Hard Feelings.
8. The album is coming out on July 1 because it's the 182nd day of the year. That's actually not true, Hoppus nerdily admitted, copping to the fact that because this is a leap year California is actually dropping on the 183rd day of the year. He's still hoping to lobby Congress for a "Blink-182 Day" designation, though.
9. "Bored to Death" was recorded on the very first day the three hit the studio with Feldmann, when they also knocked out 2-3 other songs.
10. You read that right, the final track is actually titled "Brohemian Rhapsody." And yes, it is a cover of the Queen classic played entirely with hand farts.
11. Barker mentioned that he ran into Andre 3000 (who embarrassed him by bowing down in honor of the drummer) at the second weekend of Coachella. The OutKast rapper not only suggested they get together and record, but also mentioned that he had been in the studio with Kid Cudi a few months ago and was in California to listen to the tracks. Travis described another time when he hit the studio with Cudi and the MC didn't even rap, but instead played some mean guitar.
12. Are they proud? "It far surpassed surpassed anything I thought we could do," said Hoppus. "I'm really proud of it and can't wait for people to hear it."
Check out the full KROQ interview: