Blink 182: history of the band’s breakups and reunions as trio release tickets for 2023 world tour
The trio are gearing up to release a new album and embark on a massive world tour in 2023
and live on Freeview channel 276
Reuniting for the first time since 2015, rock band Blink 182, made up of guitarist and singer Tom DeLonge, bassist and singer Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker, have released their newest single, called Edging. But that’s not all that the newly reformed band are up to - a brand new album is on its way, as well as a world tour in 2023.
Rock and pop-punk fans around the world were delighted at the news from earlier this month that DeLonge was officially back in the band. But why did he leave the band in the first place - and why did it happen twice?
This is everything you need to know.
The first breakup
The first time that the band broke up was in 2005, when they announced that they were embarking on an “indefinite hiatus”.
At the time, their music label, Geffen, released a statement which said: “For over a decade, Blink-182 has toured, recorded and promoted nonstop all while trying to balance relationships with family and friends. To that end, the band has decided to go on an indefinite hiatus to spend more time enjoying the fruits of their labour with their loved ones. While there is no set plan for the band to begin working together again, no one knows what tomorrow may bring.”
According to an interview with Rolling Stone the following year, DeLonge explained that it was his decision to leave the band due to concerns regarding his creative freedom as a musician, and the toll that touring was taking on his family life.
He said: “All three of the band members had different goals and different ways of running their personal and business lives. It’s hard when you’re in a democratic band — where you do things based on what the whole band wants. I respect and honour it, but it was getting to a point where it was a lot more than I wanted to commit to. I needed to make some changes to be able to function as a father to my kid to the best of my ability.”
It was during this breakup that DeLonge created a new band, called Angels & Airwaves, whereas Hoppus and Barker continued to play together under the new group +44.
The first reunion
In 2008, Barker was involved in a plane crash that left four people dead, leaving only himself and Adam Goldstein as survivors. When Hoppus was alerted to the accident, he immediately took a flight out to the burn centre where he was being treated, and DeLonge quickly reached out to his former bandmate as well.
The three eventually met up in hospital, and then later made arrangements to meet up again at Hoppus and Barker’s studio in Los Angeles in October of that year and the subject of reuniting was explored.
Hoppus told Alt Press: “I remember sitting in our studio - me, Travis and Tom - and we were just talking and hanging out. Tom had just kind of come out to LA for the day, and I remember he said, “So, what do you guys think? Where are your heads at?” And I said, “I think we should continue with what we’ve been doing for the past 17 years. I think we should get back on the road and back in the studio and do what we love doing”.”
Chatting to the Chicago Tribune in 2010, DeLonge said: “If that accident hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be a band. Plain and simple. That was fate.”
He also said during the interview: “My biggest failure was the breakup of Blink. That was a failure of friendships, businesses and communications. In our hearts, we thought that was forever and gone. What’s funny is, at the time, I looked at it as a triumph. The fact that I was able to make a decision so detrimental to myself and identity and start fresh was pretty victorious.”
The band officially announced their reunion at the February 2009 Grammy Awards, with a message on their website reading at the time: “Hi. We’re Blink-182. This past week there’ve been a lot of questions about the current status of the band, and we wanted you to hear it straight from us. To put it simply, We’re back. We mean, really back.
“Picking up where we left off and then some. In the studio writing and recording a new album. Preparing to tour the world yet again. Friendships reformed. 17 years deep in our legacy. Summer 2009. Thanks and get ready."
Tom DeLonge’s second departure from the band
While the trio toured and performed together from 2009 to 2014, releasing an album in the process titled Neighborhoods, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Hoppus categorised this time together as “very contentious” in an interview with Rock Sound in 2017, saying that “everything was just always very difficult”.
The band suffered from a very public breakdown, with DeLonge trading blows with Hoppus and Barker online and in the media, with the latter describing DeLonge as “ungrateful” and “disingenuous” in an interview with Rolling Stone.
There was a disconnect between DeLong and Hoppus and Barker at the time, with Hoppus and Barker stating on the one hand that the guitarist had quit the band, but on the other hand, DeLonge insisted that he didn’t quit.
Hoppus explained that, for the two years leading up to their second breakup, they had been trying to sort out a record deal because the three of them had decided that they wanted to make a record with a partner.
He said: “At the end of December, we were finalising our record deal and on Christmas Eve, all three of us signed the deal. We had been talking about where we wanted to record, what producers we want to use, what day we want to start. This is all through e-mail. I don’t think either of us have spoken to Tom in person in months, but everything’s been moving positively.
“We booked January 5th to go into the studio. On December 30th, we get an email from Tom’s manager saying that he has no interest in recording and that he wants to do his other, non-musical stuff and that he’s out indefinitely. There’s a flurry of emails going back and forth for clarification about the recording and the show and his manager sends [an email] back saying, "Tom. Is. Out." Direct quote. This is the exact same email we got back in 2004 when Tom went on indefinite hiatus before.”
This time around, Hoppus and Barker continued Blink-182 without DeLonge, with Alkaline Trio vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba stepping in to fill his shoes for a handful of shows in 2015. After sorting out a number of legal issues with DeLonge, Skiba was made an official member of Blink-182.
The second reunion
In the same way that Barker’s plane crash paved the way for Blink-182’s first reunion, it was the news of Hoppus’ cancer diagnosis that set the stage for their second getting back together. The bassist confirmed that he had gotten a cancer diagnosis in June of 2021, and that he had been receiving treatment for three months.
Following the announcement, it was reported that Hoppus, Barker and DeLonge had gotten together at his home. Later that year, Hoppus revealed that he had been declared cancer-free.
Speculation that an official Blink-182 reunion was on the cards started to circulate after DeLonge updated his Instagram bio to include the band as one of the groups he plays in. Skiba added fuel to the fire when he responded to a comment on Instagram asking him about his status in the band, where he replied: “Your guess is as good as mine. Regardless, I am very proud of and thankful for my time w @blink182. We shall see…”
Shortly afterwards, the Blink-182 Instagram account was entirely wiped, and their website also went under for construction, hinting that something big was on its way.
It was announced on 11 October 2022 that DeLonge was back in the band - and that the three were gearing to release a new album and to embark on a 2023 global tour.
On Instagram, DeLonge publicly thanked Skiba for his contributions to the band in his absence. DeLonge said in the caption that he had sent the message to Skiba privately, but he thought it was “important for the world to know that I honour him”.
He wrote: “Hi Matt - Tom DeLonge here. I wanted to take a minute and say thank you for all that you have done to keep the band alive and thriving in my absence. I think you are enormously talented (I still love to listen to your band to this day). You have always been so kind to me, not only in the press, but also to others. I really noticed.
“Emotions between the three of us in blink have always been complicated, but Mark’s cancer really put things in perspective. But to be honest, the band would not even be here today if it were not for your ability to jump in and save the day. So from my heart to yours, thank you for being a member of our band.”
Skiba responded with his own Instagram post, in which he shared a promotional picture for Blink-182’s new single, Edging, with the caption: “CONGRATULATIONS to the homies @markhoppus @tomdelonge and @travisbarker on their triumphant @blink182 return/reunion and the release of their new single today‼️‼️ I’m sure there’s a joke in here about releases and happy endings I’m missing but I am truly grateful for my time with blink and I am truly happy you guys are a band and a family again. THANKS TO THE BAND AND ALL THE BLINK FANS FOR HAVING ME. You were delicious!”