Tom DeLonge had a funny moment during Blink-182's set at New Jersey's Starland Ballroom on Tuesday night. The band had just launched into "Carousel," the first song DeLonge wrote with bassist Mark Hoppus in 1992. "I felt massively enamored with how the kids reacted to it," he told Rolling Stone, sitting next to Hoppus backstage the following day at Brooklyn's 500-capacity Music Hall of Williamsburg, where the band was to play a charity show to benefit research for life-threatening diseases. "I got soaked into their enthusiasm last night, trying to figure out why that song is still around."
As the sound of opening band (and Blink disciples) New Beat Fund rattled the club walls, DeLonge and Hoppus gave a wide-ranging interview, revealing to Rolling Stone they are in town meeting with labels for their next album due next year (they recently left Universal Music Group after 15 years) and opening up about their creative process, their status as pop-punk pioneers, their wild early years and their sometimes-rocky relationship. "Everyone is so different," says Hoppus. "It's what tears our band apart and it's what makes us great when we're great."
It's been 21 years since you formed Blink-182. Is that a crazy thought?
Hoppus: It feels natural; I don't know. I think since day one, it's felt like Tom and I have been destined to write songs with one another. The very first time we ever met each other, we started writing songs that night. We still play that song "Carousel" in our set today so I don't know, it feels like it always has, really.
DeLonge: It's like family, you know. I mean, for good and for bad, you're kind of born into it, you know.
You mentioned "Carousel," the first song you wrote together. Do you still feel connected to that song?
DeLonge: Oh yeah. I do. I was going to say absolutely. It's weird. I thought about that exact same thing when we played last night. It's kind of out-of-body. It's a weird thought.
It's a love-hate thing. To me, it was a philosophical kind of question: How did we have one of our first songs, if not our first? How do you feel not a part of it? I always feel I wish I wrote better lyrics, yet at the time it was so different for pop-punk. It was, like, so fast. But how we play it now so many different years and so many people like it or whatever. Anyways, whatever your question might have been, I had a really interesting moment with that song last night trying to figure out why it's still around.
I do a lot of those moments with songs of the Enema, Jacket era. Specifically before the smiley face album [the band's 2003 self-titled album], I feel very connected to it in the full punk-rock kid way. Those feel the most like me for some reason. Even though my favorite stuff to play and the stuff I like the most is our latest stuff from smiley face on to Neighborhoods and whatever, the most of my DNA is in those songs, if that makes sense. The rest of the songs are me just trying to be something I'm not. (laughs)