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Next weekend, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus will play two shows with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba as Blink-182, one warm-up show March 20 at SOMA in the band’s hometown of San Diego, and then a March 22 gig in Orange County at Musink, a music, tattoo, and car festival Barker is curating.
By now, everyone is well familiar with the very public drama between Barker and Hoppus and their Blink bandmate Tom DeLonge. Barker tells Yahoo Music a lot of the issues came to a head as a result of this Musink gig.
"When this happened, Hoppus and I were sitting down and we were like, ‘It’s kind of f---ed up we had committed to playing and now we’re not gonna play,’" he says. "They had done Australian tours before without me because I don’t fly, so Mark and I were like, ‘Let’s do this show without Tom and proceed.’ The only person we thought of that could kill it would be Matt Skiba, ‘cause he is a guitar player and he does sing and we’re both fans of him."
While the headlines have focused on the feud between the three band members, Barker says he and Hoppus have already been rehearsing with Skiba, and the results have the band feeling totally reinvigorated.
"I say this with no bad intention in my body: [Matt] is killing it. It’s one thing to have someone there that is not only motivated and stoked to be playing, but he just sings on key; harmonies exist now," he says. "It’s 100 percent different and it’s awesome. It’s kind of like when something happens to you and you’re like, ‘Damn, this is the way it should be.’ So it was kind of a bum-out how it happened, but it’s been amazing."
According to Barker, a big part of the issue was that DeLonge’s heart wasn’t in Blink. “If I showed up for this interview and I was like, “Oh, man,’ you wouldn’t even want to do this interview. You would catch my vibe,” he says. “That’s what it was like playing at practice with the dude forever. It was just like, you’d drive to Orange County to practice, drive an hour and a half to get there, dude’s upset, bummed-out or venting about something. We’re all, ‘Everyone’s got their issues, let’s just play music and have fun and be happy and kick ass.’ So it feels good to have that.”
For Barker, in particular, the negative energy was not something he wants to deal with. “After my plane crash and everything, I made a promise to myself not to deal with bulls---. Life’s too short, man. We’re all healthy, we’re fortunate enough to play in a band that’s adored by millions, and if you’re going to take that for granted or s--- on it, do your own thing.”
For now, Barker think it’s best DeLonge move on, but he is in no way closing the door on future gigs with all three of them as Blink. “We’ve been trying to do this for X amount of years, he’s quit three times, we have to get to a healthy place and just move on,” he says. “[But] I’m in no way, shape, or form mad at him. If anything, I just wish he would own up to not wanting to be in the band and go do his other stuff. There’s a sympathy card he’s pulling right now. And that doesn’t even really piss me off, it’s just kind of childish. But if years down the line it makes sense, I’ll never say never.”
For now he just wants to concentrate on Musink, since he did curate the lineup and it is so special to him — especially with so many close friends, from Rancid to Prayers, a San Diego band he is currently producing, on the three-day bill.
"Prayers is a group that I’m producing their EP right now and they’re like cholo-Goth music. It’s insane and there’s something very punk-rock about it, like no song exceeds 2:30, 2:50. So that was a no-brainer, it was them and Yelawolf for the Blink day, ‘cause Yelawolf can kind of jump on anything, he’s so many things," he says. "And Rancid, Tim [Armstrong] is like my brother, it’s their first show this year and they’re only playing, I think, 20 [shows] this year, so, for me, having their first show be Musink is pretty f---ing rad."
Having made his Musink-curator debut last year, Barker knew very much what he wanted to do this year. “This year, we had the goal in mind to have three days of the same genre of music, so people that bought a three-day ticket would be stoked. But it’s kind of the same idea, just a little bigger this year,” he says. “We’re taking over a bigger part of the Orange County fairgrounds and I think the level of bands is a little bigger. Like Bad Religion is a pretty big band, Rancid is a pretty big band, Blink. It’s kind of cool, because most of the people who are playing are friends of mine.”