“I’m totally willing and interested in playing with those guys again,” DeLonge tells Billboard about singer Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker. “People ask me every single day, ‘Go back, go back, go back.’ And I tell people I haven’t forgotten anything and I’m grateful for that band and for those guys in my life. And I think about that band every single day of my life — sometimes multiple times a day. I love those guys and I love the band and, yeah, in the future let’s play together and figure it out or whatever. We just need time apart because we all want different things at this time. Those guys want to play the music and tour all the time, but I’m involved in some very big shit and some very important stuff.”
DeLonge is currently immersed in multimedia projects with his company To The Stars. First up is the continued saga of his Poet Anderson science-fiction saga, which began with a 2014 animated film and comic book, Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, as well as the Angels and Airwaves album The Dream Walker. On the way is a novel, Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares (due out Oct. 6), which he co-wrote with author Suzanne Young, and a companion EP of the same name that will be released Sept. 4.
“What I’m doing now is the absolute focus and at the core of what I want to do artistically,” explains DeLonge. “I’ve got to get these things finished before I can go back and celebrate something I did a long time ago, if that makes sense.”
DeLonge explains that he actually brought the Poet Anderson concept to Hoppus and Barker. “I sat in a room and showed them animations and everything and said, ‘Do you guys want to do this with me?’ And there was a tiny bit of interest, a lot of awkward silence and a lot of emails that were just ignored,” he says. “So I moved on and got it done. It’s not like I’m doing these things and didn’t ask them to go along for the ride, ever. People don’t know this shit ’cause I didn’t go out and talk about it.”
As for the guys ending their musical partnership, DeLonge says he’s “disappointed” in Hoppus’ and Barker’s reaction, including harsh words in both the press and on social media.
“Friendships are so complex when business gets intertwined with it and the root of how things started,” he notes. But DeLonge insists he’s not bothered by his former bandmates’ decision to go forward with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba in DeLonge’s place.
“I don’t mind anything. I want people to be happy,” DeLonge says. “Myself and those guys together were a very specific thing. If they want to go off and play the songs I wrote because that’s what they want to do and that makes them happy and they want to make a living, that’s cool. It’s not like it makes me extraordinarily jealous and I feel like I have to be on stage with them. I’m not wired that way. It wouldn’t have bothered me if they called me up and said, ‘Hey, if you’re really busy do you mind if we go out and do some of these things?’ I would’ve said, ‘Hell yeah, go for it.’ But it just never went down that way.”