Matt Skiba has a tour coming up with Alkaline Trio and a second album, Kuts, on its way from his other band, the Sekrets. But the guitarist acknowledges that his new role playing in Blink-182 means there’s yet another consideration when it comes to putting together his calendar these days.
“There’s a lot of things that have to happen before we can make any solid plans or any solid statements,” Skiba tells Billboard. “I don’t really know what the status is, but we are hopeful to do more stuff in the future. How soon that’s going to be, I don’t know.”
Skiba was tapped by bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker early this year to fill in after parting ways with guitarist Tom DeLonge. Skiba played with Blink for a pair of club shows and at the Musink festival, and he reports that, “the experience was really great. We clicked. We had a really great time together. I’ve know the Blink guys for 15 some odd years, so we were already friends but we’d never played music together. But it went really well and the shows went really well. The fans are really happy. I’m sure there’s some disgruntled fans, but it seems the majority of people were really impressed with what we put together.”
Skiba says he learned 27 Blink songs during two months of rehearsals, which he said were “labor-intensive, but really fun. When you’re playing with such great guys and such great musicians, it’s a lot of work but fun work.” And like fans, Skiba too was “shocked” at the news DeLonge was out of the group. “I knew I was meeting Mark and Travis for lunch, but I didn’t know why,” Skiba recalls. “It took me a good week to kind of wrap my head around what they had just asked me to do.” He is, however, adamant that he intends no disrespect towards DeLonge.
“Tom and I have always been very friendly,” Skiba says. “We’ve toured with Blink several times over the years, and Tom and I have always been friends. I’d like to think that we still are. I haven’t spoken to him since this whole thing went down, but it’s in no way personal. Tom’s been nothing but cool to me over the years. His band took my band out on tour and that helped us tremendously, so I don’t have a negative thing in the world to say about the guy. The story I got is he left the band and I was asked to fill in, so that’s what I did. I hope there aren’t any hard feelings. I didn’t go up there and try and do what Tom did; they billed it as Blink-182 with Matt Skiba, so I went up there and did Matt Skiba.”
Skiba acknowledges that the Blink association has brought some welcome additional attention to his other groups. Alkaline Trio starts a nearly seven-week North American run on April 22 in Denver and will play U.K. dates during late June and early July with NOFX?. The Kuts album, produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith?, the Vines, Beck), comes out June 2, and Skiba hopes to take the Sekrets on the road pending Blink-182 plans.