Blink-182 is back together! All three of the most popular members — Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker — will tour the world in 2023 and no doubt cash in big time on a new wave of pop-punk nostalgia. But while their music has always been super fun, the band’s history is full of strife, in-fighting, and even tragedy. In fact, some of the shocking twists and turns that the band has endured may just change the whole way you see the former cheeky trio.
The “182” may mean a lot of things, or nothing
During an episode of Hoppus On Music, Blink’s bassist explained the significance of the number “182.” Spoiler alert: it has no significance. He laughed, “We just made up the name 182, and ever since then we’ve just made up different stories about what the 182 means.” At different points, the band has said it’s Hoppus’ ideal weight and the number of times Al Pacino drops the F-bomb in Scarface!
Only one person showed up to their first gig
Hoppus told Rock Sound TV about Blink-182’s first-ever gig in 1992. He revealed, “We played this biker bar in south San Diego. It was the bartender, one patron, the three of us — we played one song, then the one guy said, ‘Can you please turn it down?’ So we turned it down.” After two more songs, the guy stopped them completely, saying, “Let’s call it. Have some Snapple, you guys earned it.” Ouch!
Hoppus broke both his heels when meeting DeLonge
On MTV’s Ridiculousness, Hoppus told the bittersweet tale of the day he met DeLonge. He chuckled, “I went over to his house. We were writing songs and I was like, ‘Hey, I just learned how to climb telephone poles.’” Naturally, this led to him scaling one outside DeLonge’s house — but Hoppus hadn’t quite figured out how to get down. He thought, “I could just jump.” So, he did — and broke both his heels.
A lawsuit forced them to change their name
The band initially released their first album, Cheshire Cat, under the name “Blink.” But an Irish electro band of the same name got wind of these new Californian pop-punks. To avoid legal action, then, the record label forced the band to come up with a new name. The boys stalled for a few weeks and finally came up with “Blink-182” when put on the spot.
Hoppus had cancer in 2021
2021 proved a tough year for Hoppus but, thankfully, he emerged from it victorious. In June he announced to distraught fans that he was undergoing chemotherapy to combat lymphoma. But by late September he had good news: he was cancer free! To complete the happy ending, by Halloween he was performing Blink-182 songs on-stage with Barker at his House of Horrors event. In October 2022 he reported that he had his "one-year clean scan."
Original drummer Scott Raynor was fired during a 1998 tour
The band has always been vague about why Scott Raynor departed in the middle of a 1998 West Coast tour. According to Joe Shooman’s Blink-182: The Band, The Breakdown & The Return, though, Raynor suffered a tragic family loss and it led to him drinking to cope with his emotions. This began to affect his performance on stage and culminated in Hoppus and DeLonge firing him over the phone. A sad situation.
The nurse on the Enema of the State cover is an adult actress
The Enema of the State album artwork, which features a sexy nurse, is now iconic. But did you know the model is actually adult actress Janine Lindemulder? According to producer Jerry Finn, the guys in the band were such innocent dorks that they had no idea who she was. Once they found out, though, they became super interested. As Lindemulder told Entertainment Weekly, “They’re like little boys — just curious.”
DeLonge believes in UFOs and conspiracy theories
In a 2000 Rolling Stone profile, it was mentioned that DeLonge’s obsession, outside of music, was aliens. And over the years he has doubled down on his hobby, regularly talking about UFOs and fringe theories. He even started a company called To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences that produces all kinds of alien-related learning material.
Hoppus met his future wife on the “All The Small Things” video shoot
Hoppus and his wife, Skye Everly, have been happily married since 2000. But did you know they first met during rehearsals for the iconic “All The Small Things” music video? At the time, she was a talent executive for MTV and initially turned him down. Or more accurately, she turned DeLonge down when he embarrassed Hoppus by asking her out on his buddy’s behalf. Cringe!
“Asthenia” uses real NASA transmissions
Blink-182 don’t just make juvenile, super fun pop-punk music; they occasionally get introspective, too. Take “Asthenia” from their 2003 self-titled album. It’s a haunting song about the isolation of an astronaut floating in space. The tune even features real NASA transmissions at the start. They’re from the Apollo 9 mission and give the song an extra sense of eeriness.
“What’s My Age Again?” had a different name
“What’s My Age Again?” is arguably Blink-182’s best ode to immaturity, in a career loaded with them. Originally the song was titled “Peter Pan Complex” — a reference to the literary character who never wanted to grow up. But the record company got cold feet, believing the band’s audience wouldn’t get the reference.
DeLonge tried to score early gigs with a sneaky tactic
During an appearance on Hoppus’ After School Radio show in 2021, DeLonge and his old bandmate laughed about an unusual tactic he used to score gigs in their early days. Hoppus said, “You were calling up schools and saying we were a band with a motivational edge to us…” DeLonge replied, “Yeah, it was like [an] anti-drug, alcohol message, or something. Whatever it took.”
Hoppus’ girlfriend gave him an ultimatum
When Blink-182 formed, Hoppus, DeLonge, and Raynor were all teenagers. They began spending hours jamming together and writing music in Raynor’s bedroom, and this angered Hoppus’ girlfriend. She gave him an ultimatum: choose her or the band. Hoppus chose love. But then he found out that his pals were planning to record a demo, so he swiftly changed his mind. The rest is history!
DeLonge was expelled
The phrase “everything happens for a reason” can truly be applied to DeLonge being expelled from Poway High School for drunkenness at a basketball game. Why? Because he had to move to Rancho Bernardo High School, and that is where he met Anne Hoppus. When Anne heard he desperately wanted to start a band, she hooked him up with her brother Mark.
Barker had a themed wedding
Barker married former Miss USA Shanna Moakler in 2004, and their wedding day paid tribute to two of their favorite movies. The first was The Nightmare Before Christmas, with the drummer wearing the same pinstripe suit as Jack Skellington in the macabre animated classic. Then the couple walked down the aisle to the song “You’re So Cool” from the Quentin Tarantino-penned True Romance... Unfortunately, though, the couple divorced in 2008.
“Josie” was named after a neighbor’s dog
“Josie,” which appeared on the band’s 1997 album, Dude Ranch, is about the best girlfriend in the world. In 2011 Hoppus confirmed on his Tumblr page that Josie was never a real woman — she was simply an idealized partner. The name “Josie” was actually inspired by Hoppus’ friend Elyse Rogers, of the band Dance Hall Crashers, as it was the name of her pet pooch!
Barker was recruited after he learned the songs superquick
When people think of Blink-182, they think of the classic three-man line-up immortalized in the title of their 2000 live album, The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show. But Barker wasn’t a founding member. He only came into the fold in 1998 after original drummer Scott Raynor left the band mid-tour. Barker reportedly learned Blink’s entire 20-song set in only 45 minutes. Whoa.
Fletcher Dragge saw huge potential in Blink-182
Warped Tour was an institution in American punk rock, with the traveling festival featuring nearly every major band in the scene over the course of its 25-year history. In 1996 Blink-182 played it for the first time, having been championed by Fletcher Dragge, guitarist of punk elder statesmen Pennywise. He reportedly told founder Kevin Lyman, “They’re gonna be gigantic.” Yes, Dragge could see the future.
Hoppus is a huge soccer fan
Hoppus and his family lived in Mayfair, London, for three years while the band recorded the album Neighborhoods. While there, he developed a taste for the local sport obsession: soccer. He began supporting Chelsea football club and is still a fan to this day, keeping up with the team even while back living in California.
They started out playing San Diego YMCA centers
In the early days, Blink was known by a couple of bizarre monikers — Duck Tape and Figure 8. By the time they’d decided on Blink, they were gaining some momentum in the local punk scene. In fact, they secured a regular gig at a prestigious series of venues: San Diego’s YMCA centers! Hey, every “young man” has to start somewhere.
They blew $500,000 on a music video
2001’s “The Rock Show” had one of Blink-182’s most memorable music videos — precisely because it was crafted to fly in the face of tradition. The band had a budget of $500,000 and chose to blow it on crazy things such as buying and releasing doves, destroying cars and TVs, and paying people to shave their heads. Satire? Or a waste of money? We’re not sure.
The iconic “Dammit” riff was a stroke of good/bad luck
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this was certainly the case when Hoppus wrote “Dammit.” One of the band’s most beloved songs was actually written in 10 minutes while he noodled with an acoustic guitar that was missing two strings. When creating the main riff, Hoppus had to skip over the absentee strings, and he felt this gave it a one-of-a-kind sound.
Terry Crews starred in “Down”
These days, Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews is a national treasure. Forget Everybody Hates Chris, it should be Everybody Loves Terry! But back in 2004, he flexed his acting muscles in the band’s “Down” music video. He plays a Los Angeles cop who unsuccessfully pursues a gang member at a house party that, somewhat preposterously, features Blink-182 playing live. That’s some party.
Barker let Kourtney Kardashian tattoo “I love you” on his arm
Barker and his wife, reality star Kourtney Kardashian, are very much in love. So much so that in May 2021 he let her ink her devotion permanently on his arm. She posted a photo on Instagram of her holding the needle to her heavily-tattooed beau, alongside the caption, “I tattoo.” Barker replied, “Woman of many talents.” Love takes many forms, people.
DeLonge loves Jimmy Eat World
Jimmy Eat World blew up in 2001 when their single “The Middle” became a radio hit. Before that, though, they weren’t overly well known, but they did have one celebrity superfan: Tom DeLonge! In fact, they played his wedding reception in May of that year, with DeLonge telling People magazine, “I was in tears. I cried more than any girl.”
A teen movie inspired “Going Away To College”
The teen comedy Can’t Hardly Wait is based around a high school graduation party. “Going Away to College” is a Blink-182 song about the dilemma of breaking up with your high school girlfriend after graduation. They’re peas in a pod. A homesick Hoppus reportedly wrote the song on Valentine’s Day in 1999 after he watched the movie, which proves inspiration really can come from anywhere.
The band cameos in the first American Pie movie
Blink-182 appears in 1999 teen comedy American Pie for 29 glorious seconds. This was before the band hit it big, and also not long after Barker joined them. In fact, it was so recent that the credits list former drummer Scott Raynor, instead of Barker. Whoops! The cameo is soundtracked by their song “Mutt,” which had been specially re-recorded for the movie.
And an episode of The Simpsons
One of the truest indicators of fame is appearing in The Simpsons. And in 2003 Blink-182 played in Bart’s loft apartment after he moved out of the family home in the episode “Barting Over.” They joined a long tradition of rock bands starring in the show, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, and fellow pop-punks Green Day.
A dialing code inspired DeLonge and Hoppus’ side hustle
When +44 formed, fans wondered if the name was a jab at DeLonge, who had just quit Blink-182 for the first time. But as Hoppus told IGN, it was actually a reference to the dialing code used when placing an international call to the United Kingdom. A London date of a Blink European tour was where Hoppus and Barker first discussed making music on their own.
The boys were groomsmen at one another’s weddings
The guys in Blink-182 aren’t just a band — they’re close friends. Hoppus was a groomsman at DeLonge’s wedding in 2001. He even received a silver yo-yo from Tiffany’s as a gift from the mischievous groom. Then in 2004 both Hoppus and DeLonge were groomsmen at Barker’s wedding to Shanna Moakler.
The band performed for American troops during the Iraq conflict
Blink-182 played two shows for American troops in the Persian Gulf in 2003. One took place on board a freakin’ aircraft carrier! How cool is that? Hoppus claimed on Twitter years later that, while on that carrier, he gave a Navy Admiral some friendly advice on how to capture Saddam Hussein. His plan involved video camera time codes that could be used to triangulate Hussein’s location.
After the first split, the band didn’t speak
In February 2005 Blink-182 went on “indefinite hiatus,” which is pretty much industry-speak for “they’ve broken up, sorry.” For three long years, they didn’t speak at all, choosing to concentrate on their various side projects. Yup, there were a lot of bad feelings, especially between Hoppus and DeLonge. But then something tragic happened that brought them into one another’s lives again.
Barker survived a plane crash
On September 19, 2008, Hoppus received a shocking phone call in the middle of the night. Barker had just survived a plane crash and was in hospital with burns over 65 percent of his body. The worried bassist hopped on the first available flight. DeLonge sent Barker some well-wishes, too. The tragedy eventually opened the door for the band to reunite.
One album had a troubled production
The 2011 comeback album, Neighborhoods, was not a fun experience for the band in some ways. For one, the members had a parade of attorneys, publicists, and managers surrounding them. As DeLonge told Alternative Press magazine, “It’s the absolute diarrhea of bureaucracy that surrounds our band. It’s ridiculous. It’s very hard to get things accomplished in this band because there’s so many of those groups of people.”
DeLonge suggested the band undergo therapy
According to Barker’s memoir, Can I Say, DeLonge was super unhappy in 2014, and it led to some erratic decisions. Barker wrote, “Around this time, he abruptly quit the band; he e-mailed me and Mark saying that he was through with the band, and with us. Then the next day, he e-mailed us again saying we should forget everything he just said, and he wanted Tony Robbins to do group therapy with the three of us.”
Hoppus used to be the only one without tattoos
Like most rock stars, the guys in Blink-182 are pretty inked up. Barker is covered almost head-to-toe in tattoos. DeLonge has a decent collection, too, including a large neckpiece featuring the word “Illuminated” inside angel wings. But Hoppus stayed resolutely un-inked for years... until he got his wife and daughter’s names on his wrists.
Barker was the star of an MTV reality show
Barker is now arguably the most famous member of Blink-182. He’s constantly in gossip headlines due to his relationship with Kourtney Kardashian, for one thing. But did you know he was once a reality star himself? He and his ex-wife Shanna Moakler let MTV’s cameras into their lives in 2005/06 for Meet the Barkers. It lasted two seasons.
Barker appeared on Keeping Up With The Kardashians before he was with Kourtney
Before they got together as a couple, Kardashian and Barker were good friends. But many fans had forgotten that he had actually made an on-camera appearance on Keeping up with the Kardashians in 2017. At this point, he was her neighbor, and the pair were seen talking about homeschooling their kids.
A side project was named after the Nagasaki bomb plane
To DeLonge and Barker, the name of their 2001 side project Box Car Racer had very different meanings. To Barker, it simply repurposed the name of an old band he was in after high school — a name that meant nothing. But to DeLonge, it was a reference to the atomic bomb that exploded above Nagasaki. The bomber it was dropped from was named “Bockscar,” which many misspell as “Box Car.”
The band has recorded hilariously rude Christmas songs
If you’re celebrating the Holidays and you’ve become sick of the standard Christmas songs you always hear, Blink-182 have you covered. Throw on “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” or “Not Another Christmas Song” and you’ll laugh your face off. Seriously. They’re funny. You could even listen to “Boxing Day,” a more sincere holiday-themed song. It has a weird electronic indie sound that is quite unique for Blink.
Where are they now?
You don’t need a magnifying glass to see how much DeLonge, Hoppus, and Barker have been through over the years, but how much have they really changed since their '90s debut? Well, they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and we’d have to agree. It turns out that some of the noughties' most famous rock rebels are almost unrecognizable nowadays. We know Fred Durst now gives off dad vibes, but what do his fellow icons look like today?
Chad Kroeger (Nickelback)
Nickelback released their second studio album, The State, in 2000. This was when many rock fans got their first glimpse of Chad Kroeger, with his lithe frame, long curly hair, and goatee beard. He would continue with that post-grunge Jesus look for many years while his band conquered the world, but he did eventually decide to get a more sensible haircut. Age, man. It comes for us all.
Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit)
Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst went viral in July 2021. After years away from the limelight, he posted a selfie on Instagram showcasing an entirely new look, and fans couldn’t believe it. The handlebar mustache and wavy gray hair were a million miles away from the backward baseball cap and goatee combination everyone remembered from the early 2000s.
Till Lindemann (Rammstein)
In the real world, Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann looks like a classy guy. He wears nice clothes and has his dark hair swept back, like an aging German catwalk model. On-stage, though, is a different kettle of fish. In this setting Lindemann is more often than not on fire, quite literally, while he and his bandmates hammer through pulverizing industrial metal jams with reckless abandon.
Dexter Holland (The Offspring)
Dear reader, did you know that Dexter Holland, lead singer of pop-punk supremos The Offspring, is a doctor? He completed his Ph.D. in molecular biology in 2017 after being forced to abandon his studies in 1994 when the band took off. He’s also a fully-licensed pilot. And, at the age of 55, he still has the same spiky bleached blonde hair he sported in 2000. What a legend.
In November 2000 Avril Lavigne was a 16-year-old who had just impressed an Arista Records A&R representative so much that he signed her to a two-album deal. The skater girl then shot to fame with the singles “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi.” These days Lavigne is 38, looks virtually the same as she did when she was a teen, and has made music with the likes of Willow Smith and Machine Gun Kelly.
Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)
Rivers Cuomo of power pop icons Weezer has been flying the flag for geek chic since ’94. Over the years his hairstyle has gone through many iterations, and he sometimes has a mustache, but there is one thing that never changes. That’s right, Cuomo always rocks his signature thick-rimmed glasses. We hope he never changes.
Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)
As the frontman of Green Day, the most successful pop-punk band on the planet, Billie Joe Armstrong has been a fixture in fans’ lives for over three decades. Over the years, he’s gone from being a fresh-faced young rebel to being… a slightly less fresh-faced older rebel. The band is still as popular as ever, though, and released its 13th studio album in 2020.
Matt Bellamy (Muse)
The back end of 2000 saw Muse recording their second album Origin of Symmetry. It would transform them from a Radiohead-esque indie band into devastatingly heavy rock titans primed for stadium dominance. During that album cycle, singer Matt Bellamy sported bright red hair, spiked up toward the heavens – as was the style at the time. We’re not sure he could get away with that look in 2021, though.
Tom Morello (The Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave)
Finding photographs of Tom Morello without a baseball cap and sunglasses is surprisingly hard. The Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist has a signature look and rarely deviates from it. But, when he attended the Oscars in 2019 to present the Best Picture nomination for Vice, he classed it up in a tuxedo, his bald head resplendent under the lights. He cleaned up good.
Amy Lee (Evanescence)
In 2000 Evanescence recorded an EP entitled Origin. It contained three songs that would later be reworked and included on their debut album Fallen in 2003. This album, which sold a staggering 17 million copies, shot 21-year-old singer Amy Lee to superstardom. She became a goth fashion icon to a generation of girls who didn’t want to look like traditional pop singers, and she has maintained that look to this day.
Seth “Shifty Shellshock” Binzer (Crazy Town)
Crazy Town was on top of the world in 2000. This was the year their single “Butterfly” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Since then, rapper Seth “Shifty Shellshock” has had a rollercoaster life – he has dealt with substance abuse and even fell into a coma in 2012. It’s actually incredible that in 2021 he still looks so much like the buff tattooed star of the past.
Brandon Boyd (Incubus)
Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd is a handsome cat. Always has been, always will be. In 2021 he’s probably just as good-looking as ever, resembling a sexy hippy dad. These days he is following his original muse, which came long before music: art. He recently contributed some pieces to the Moonlight Arts Collective website, alongside Heart Evangelista and actress Alia Shawkat.
Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach)
When Papa Roach burst onto the scene with the anthemic single “Last Resort” in 2000, their singer was known as Coby Dick. He had spiky black hair and was dressed all in black. By the time they released their follow-up album LoveHateTragedy in 2002, Dick was known by his real name: Jacoby Shaddix. Nowadays he is growing old disgracefully, sporting many more tattoos and rocking gravity-defying blonde hair. Nice.
Gwen Stefani (No Doubt)
In 2021 Gwen Stefani is a genuine pop icon. She is recording her fifth album and is happily married to equally legendary country music star Blake Shelton. She also looks like a stunning platinum-blonde angel. Two decades ago, though, she was the stunning platinum-blonde angel fronting ska pop rock band No Doubt, which was in the process of releasing its fourth album, Return of Saturn.
Scott Stapp (Creed)
The Scott Stapp of 2021 is a very different man from the one from 2000. Back then, Stapp was a long-haired, leather pants-wearing, soul-baring Christian rock singer who had the whole world in his wide-open arms. But then he got fired from his band Creed, following substance abuse and mental health problems. These days he’s righted the ship, is clean of drugs and alcohol, and has released three solo albums.
Shirley Manson (Garbage)
Garbage released its seventh album, No Gods No Masters, in June 2021. In the lyrics, 54-year-old singer Shirley Manson dealt with many of the social and political ills of today with the same vigor, anger, and ambition that she did at the band’s peak in the late 1990s. As always, the fashion-forward Manson changed her look for the album, showing she’s still as stylish as ever.
Jonathan Davis (Korn)
Undoubtedly one of the most distinctive vocalists in heavy music, Jonathan Davis has been plying his trade since the mid-’90s. As the dreadlocked kilt or Adidas tracksuit-wearing frontman of Korn, he delighted and terrified fans in equal measure with his harrowing howls and guttural roars. These days he has added a beard to the dreads and even released a solo album in 2018.
Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit)
Look at any photo of Limp Bizkit and you’ll see Fred Durst in his backward baseball cap alongside three regular-looking guys. But, standing among them, you’ll see a black-eyed monster. This is Wes Borland, the band’s guitarist. He is a painter as well as a musician, and part of his art involves dressing up in crazy costumes and/or painting his body insane colors. He still does it to this day. It’s awesome.
Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
In late 1999 Nine Inch Nails released The Fragile, a double album that featured ambient electronic influences. It was a departure from their usual industrial rock style. In some ways, it predicted frontman Trent Reznor’s future, though. These days, he looks less tortured and gothic, but his talent for creating atmospheric, unsettling soundscapes is now poured into his incredible movie scores.
Deryck Whibley (Sum 41)
Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley’s last two decades have seen him soar to the dizziest heights of success and also plummet to the depths of despair. His body changed quite a bit over the years as his health issues consumed him; in fact, in 2014 he was hospitalized when his alcoholism nearly proved fatal. Thankfully, he is now happy and healthy. He even became a dad for the first time in 2020. Aww.
Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park)
Many people’s mental image of Mike Shinoda is likely to be something akin to the look he sported in Linkin Park’s 2000 breakthrough music video “One Step Closer.” Namely, bright-red spiky hair. He didn’t stick with that color for long, although a general spikey ’do stuck around for many years. These days he pairs his swept hairstyle with a stubbly beard, and it works well for him.
Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole)
Melissa Auf der Maur played bass for Hole from 1994 until October 1999, but at that point, she decided she wanted to pursue other things. The ethereal redhead joined The Smashing Pumpkins that very same month, but her time with the band would be short-lived: they broke up in December 2000. These days, Auf der Maur is married to filmmaker Tony Stone, with whom she has one child, named River.
Serj Tankian (System of a Down)
The Serj Tankian of today looks older and warmer than the wild man of System of a Down’s heyday. But age hasn’t diminished any of the fierce commitment and originality he exhibits on stage and on record. In 2021 he released a new EP, Elasticity, and the Truth To Power documentary also saw release. It spotlighted his continued quest to bring knowledge of the mass killings in Armenia – the birthplace of all his grandparents – to the masses.
Maynard James Keenan (A Perfect Circle)
While fronting A Perfect Circle in 2000, Tool singer Maynard James Keenan took to wearing elaborate wigs and playing up to an archetypal rock-star image. It was a far cry from his usual bald, bespectacled look. As he told Kerrang! in 2018, “You’ve got to sell it: watching dudes in t-shirts and sneakers doing Shakespeare doesn’t quite sell it. There have to be some grandiose robes.”