In early February 2005, the announcement of an “indefinite hiatus” was the last thing fans of Blink-182 wanted to hear. Since then, two new bands have emerged from the smoke of what is left of the successful trio. Looking at the three members, guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge, bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker, fans have been left to choose sides.
Tom Delonge has recorded and toured with his new band, Angels and Airwaves, releasing a debut studio album, We Don’t Need To Whisper, in May. Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker elected to create their own sound with their group +44 and will begin touring in support of their anticipated album, When Your Heart Stops Beating, in November. The big question here: Who will be victorious?
Depending on whom you ask about what the demise of the group was, there is no mistake that something astronomical occurred. The group was riding high, extremely successful with millions of fans around the world. It is rumored Delonge wanted to spend more time with his family as well as time away from the band, leaving Hoppus and Barker to pressure him to stay in order to tour. It is also rumored Delonge wanted a break, only to begin work on a new band that ultimately would be the start of Angels and Airwaves. Either way, a bunch of “he said, she said” has happened, leaving the possibility that fans will never know the true story.
The aftermath of Blink-182 being put on hold has brought forth different creative outlets for the musicians. Tom Delonge created quite an interest in his band in the months leading up to the release of his new album. Numerous interviews started to appear in magazines and Web sites. However, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker did the complete opposite by not speaking about either Delonge or plans of a new project. Not long after the release of We Don’t Need To Whisper, a tour was scheduled with fellow rockers Taking Back Sunday as co-headliners. The album’s first single, “The Adventure,” seemed to catch the attention of fans who were still attempting to make sense of what was being marketed as a “totally new sound.”
Angels and Airwaves made a stop in Milwaukee on July 1 at the Rave where Delonge commanded the stage, front man for the first time since Blink-182 formed in 1993. Despite performing only AVA songs, several hits such as “There Is,” from the other Blink-182 side project, Boxcar Racer, were incorporated into the set list. The consensus from the crowd was mostly cheers of respect for Delonge, but a definite longing.
After listening to the 10-song CD, We Don’t Need To Whisper, the element of creativity seems to be lacking. Although energetic and the commanding voice Delonge has requests your attention, the album seems to have little change, instead sounding more of the same song remastered into a song with a different title. It makes you wonder how different Delonge wanted to go. Another single, “The War,” has recently been added to a MTV reality show. How is that for attention?
Meanwhile, Hoppus and Barker have recently spoken out for the first time in more than a year about their upcoming project, +44. A tour has been scheduled to support the CD, When Your Heart Stops Beating, which includes a stop in Milwaukee on Oct. 28. The first single and self-titled track “When Your Heart Stops Beating,” has more of a Blink-182 sound with an edge that could get fans pumped up for a live show. A recent interview with MTV News speaks of another single, “Little Death,” which is a response to the falling out of Blink-182. Delonge had mentioned in interviews before his own album release that singles such as “The War” and “It Hurts” were in response to the end of Blink-182. It will be up to the fans to listen and determine what makes more sense.
Music is constantly evolving. Fans are able to choose from numerous new artists and form their own opinions of what they like. Blink-182 created a sound that was just right to millions. Now with the group members splitting off into two separate bands, the once-tight trio from San Diego will no longer look at each other as band mates, but as combatants within the music business. Each can create their own sound, but nothing will be the same. Delonge may have won the race to produce the first album and tour, but the next round is up for grabs. It will be up to the fans to say who will win the final battle in the war.