Tom DeLonge just revealed some insane stories about Blink-182.
Tom DeLonge’s start in Blink-182 was, as newly revealed, a time of shedding old habits, isolation, and having fun. Last week Tom DeLonge spoke with Jenkem Magazine about everything 1990s: pop punk bands, prank pulling, and skateboarding. Blink-182 was, and still is, the musical combination of the three. DeLonge spilled a few secrets and chatted earnestly about that time in his life and that moment in pop culture.
Blink-182: Where Skaters and Musicians Collided
Tom DeLonge was the lead vocalist and guitarist for Blink-182 from their inception until 2015. (Matt Skiba replaced DeLonge at that time and continues to play alongside the original members today.) Delonge, alongside bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer/producer Travis Barker, were the initial lineup, and they were the epitome of reckless abandonment.
When asked about Blink-182’s presence in the skateboarding scene, DeLonge explained how they were skateboarders first. Even so, it didn’t hold up as they became more and more of a mainstream band. “It’s funny, every music video we did they were always trying to throw skateboards in and we thought it was stupid. Every interview we did they would say, “Oh, you guys are skateboarders?!” but no one really dug into it. It kind of faded away. But for me, skateboarding was a major, major part of my life from seventh grade until I graduated. I even skated quite a bit after I graduated. It was when I started touring, around 19, where I stopped skateboarding. Skating is how we started the band.”
Skateboarding culture in the 1990s was all about freedom and expression outside of a possibly torturous family life. While DeLonge’s home was not nearly as dangerous or broken as others, he explained that skateboarding gave him what he needed. Skateboarding then turned into friendship, then later, music. All the while, he was able to be himself, no matter how outlandish, hilarious, or embarrassing.
“Everyone had a story that was difficult, so the way we celebrated getting out of that was just extreme humor all the time. That’s the thing that a lot of people got wrong about Blink. They thought we were just being funny to be funny. We were being funny on meth because we were so pissed about where we came from. It was our coping mechanism. We wanted something that was joyful to the extreme all the time because all of our families were ‘effed up. I think that’s partially why Blink worked and resonated.”
Blink-182 Through Tom DeLonge’s Eyes
Without skateboarding, a love of having off-the-wall fun, and teenage angst, it seems like Blink-182 never would’ve happened. While fans hate to think of that, Tom DeLonge doesn’t, because being in a popular band isn’t for everyone.
He expressed to Jenkem Magazine that being in Blink-182 meant fearing being around other people. It was hard to trust fans, no matter how appreciative he was of them. Also, he found it difficult to settle down because of touring schedules. Tom DeLonge’s start in Blink-182 was a period of personal solitude even as the world began to truly know his name.
“We were alone. Literally, we showed up to the venue as late as we could, warm-up, and play. And then walk off stage right into a van,” DeLonge said. “Get to the hotel and we’d have security at the hotel and there are people trying to get us to sign things. Even if we just left the stage, they were already there. So we would go straight to our hotel room and hide under our fake name.”
On a lighter note, the times that he and his “All The Small Things” bandmates did venture out was as relatable as it is comical. “Mark and I used to wear disguises at our own shows. He would put on a security guard shirt and a wig and go out and direct cars in the parking lot. I would wear a wig and a weird hat and weird clothes and I would just walk around the audience and talk to people.”
“I remember this one time, I sat with these girls and I tried to talk to them. They were literally so annoyed that they turned their backs to me. There are twenty thousand people waiting for us to get on stage and I’m just trying to talk to some hot girls and they wouldn’t even give me the time of day,” he explained in his interview with a laugh. Tom Delonge’s start in Blink-182 was clearly out of the ordinary.
Blink-182 established its place in music and pop culture right from the very beginning. Tom DeLonge might be proud of that, but he hasn’t let it deter him from where he started. At his core, he is a Southern California skateboarder who enjoyed his youth with his friends and away from his parents. Where that took him was unexpected, but exciting for him and the world.
Read the full interview in Jenkem Magazine with Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge here. Watch two of Tom’s favorite Blink-182 music videos below.