The pop-punk community was remiss yesterday with the sad news of Tom DeLonge’s departure from Blink-182. However, accounts of what led to DeLonge’s separation seem to vary between band mates.
Radio.com received this press release on Monday.
“Matt Skiba of the Alkaline Trio will join Blink-182 in replacement of Tom DeLonge at the 8th annual Musink Music and Tattoo festival. ‘We were all set to play this festival and record a new album and Tom kept putting it off without reason. A week before we were scheduled to go in to the studio we got an email from his manager explaining that he didn’t want to participate in any Blink-182 projects indefinitely, but would rather work on his other non-musical endeavors.’ Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus plan to honor all Blink-182 commitments including the Musink Festival and are excited to have singer/guitarist Matt Skiba join them for this project. ‘No hard feelings, but the show must go on for our fans.’ Additionally, Skiba will continue to make new music and tour with the Alkaline Trio.”
However, in response, DeLonge posted on his official Instagram that he never quit Blink-182.
“To all the fans, I never quit the band. I actually was on a phone call about a blink 182 event for New York City at the time all these weird press releases started coming in … Apparently those releases were ‘sanctioned’ from the band. Are we dysfunctional- yes. But, Christ….. #Awkward #BabyBackRibs”
Then, in an interview with Rolling Stone, his fellow Blink-182 band mates Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus stood by the rumors.
“[Barker] I think he’s just bummed because Mark and I were finally honest. We always covered up for him before. It was always, ‘We’re going to record an album,’ then ‘Tom refuses to get into the studio without a record deal.’ So everyone does hella amounts of work to get a record deal and now Tom isn’t part of Blink-182. It’s hard to cover for someone who’s disrespectful and ungrateful. You don’t even have the balls to call your bandmates and tell them you’re not going to record or do anything Blink-related. You have your manager do it. Everyone should know what the story is with him and it’s been years with it. When we did get back together after my plane crash, we only got back together, I don’t know, maybe because I almost died. But he didn’t even listen to mixes or masterings from that record. He didn’t even care about it. Why Blink even got back together in the first place is questionable …”
“[Hoppus] When Tom finally said, ‘I’m not going to go into the studio or play this show,’ it was kind of a gigantic relief because at least he finally said it. But to then say, ‘I didn’t quit the band,’ it’s just not true. It’s disingenuous. I just wish Tom does whatever makes him happy and stops holding Blink-182 back from what we all agree that we’re going to do: play shows, record music, continue this legacy and have a good time doing it.”
Most recently, DeLonge posted a lengthy, seemingly final message to fans on his Facebook page.
“Where to begin?”
“The truth is always a good place. Let’s go there.”
“I love Blink and am incredibly grateful for having it in my life. It has given me everything. EVERYTHING. I started this band, it was in my garage where I dreamed up the mischief.”
“So what have I been doing behind the scenes? Well, I’ve tried to make things work. I’ve tried to help move this band down 50 different paths using my people, or other people, and people we don’t even know. I tried to put forth ideas about how we can grow and challenge ourselves to become a better band. I’m not sitting around waiting for someone else to do the work. I’m not wired that way.”
“The big reset was when I tried to put together a band summit in Utah where we’d talk and work things out. It quickly was narrowed down to three hours in someone’s dressing room in a shitty casino. What I hoped would be a positive get-together away from everything turned into an awkward meeting in a smelly convention hall dressing room. But it was there that I told Mark and Travis that as long as we talked, and things were good between us as real friends, that I would be engaged and work passionately. I’d mirror our personal relationship. Exact words.”
“Then, the EP was the test. Months later, we’re recording those songs. I was in the studio for two months and they came in for around 11 days. I didn’t mind leading the charge, but we had all agreed to give it 100%. And this time — no baggage.”
“Despite that, we still somehow managed to self-sabotage.”
“At one point, squabbling and politics forced me to pull the EP down at a time when 60,000 fans were trying to purchase it. And that blew my mind. I’d been trying so hard but that moment ultimately broke my spirit. I then realized that this band couldn’t lose the years of ill will.”
“It was after that episode that I promised myself I would never be in that position again – to rely on the words we said to each other.”
“I remember asking one of them on the phone, ‘did you try your best? Like we all agreed to?’ He was silent.”
“Are they at fault?”
“Am I? Of course. I’m nuts.”
“But there’s three of us – we’re all accountable. At the end of the day, we’ve always been dysfunctional, which is why we haven’t talked in months. But we never did. In the 8 years we have been together it has always been that way.”
“Over the past two and a half years, while a recording partner was being sought for a new Blink record, I launched a media company. I just put out a new Angels & Airwaves record and as some of you know, there’s a lot more coming – comics, books, a film, etc. The books will all come with music. This is a wheel that’s already in motion. So you can imagine my frustration when I was handed a 60-page Blink contract saying I couldn’t release an Angels album for 9 months and that the Blink album had to be recorded in 6 months, which was impossible for me. Doing so would force me to breach several artist contracts. Authors, Concept Artists, Animators… Many people.”
“They did eventually drop the Angels provision, but the part about having to finish a Blink album in 6 months remained. All of these other projects are being worked, exist in contract form– I can’t just slam the brakes and drop years of development, partnerships and commitments at the snap of a finger.”
“I told my manager that I will do Blink 182 as long as it was fun and worked with the other commitments in my life, including my family.”
“But Mark and Travis know all of this.”
“I wrote this same letter to them a year ago. But it created a massive argument, the biggest one yet actually. I just wanted us to do things we all agreed on. But that was their moment to dig in. From their view I was controlling everything. In reality, I was scared to put myself out there again. To repeat the EP experience.”
“I also wrote all of this to their managers this past December (who told me my bandmates weren’t angry and agreed with some of my ideas of how to grow the band).”
“So you can imagine my surprise when a press release went out yesterday—without my knowledge—about the band’s future. This is new to me. It’s not in my nature to fuel negativity about the legacy of the band on something as trashy as the Internet world.”
“But I guess that’s another example of how I differ from most. I follow the light… I follow passion and I make art. I hang with my son, my daughter and my wife.”
“At the end of the day, all of this makes me really sad.”
“Sad for us.”
“Sad for you — that you’re witnessing this immaturity.”
“I know them very well, and their current actions are defensive and divisive.”
“I suppose they’re doing this as a way to protect themselves from being hurt.”
“Like we all do.”
“And even as I watch them act so different to what I know of them to be, I still care deeply for them. Like brothers, and like old friends. But our relationship got poisoned yesterday.”
“Never planned on quitting, just find it hard as hell to commit.”