Earlier this week, in a statement that brought me to stop dead in my tracks on my way to class, it was announced that Tom DeLonge, guitarist and founding member of blink-182, had left the band. I’m not going to burden you with the nasty public argument that ensued between the band members (you can get the full scoop on the situation here). However, it is important to note that, while Hoppus and Barker might still play shows with a replacement vocalist/guitarist, without DeLonge, blink-182 is dead. It is a hard reality for a lot of fans to face, myself included. Still, it is time to think about the incredible influence that the trio had, in its childish, remedial glory, on a very large number of young bands. Consider this a eulogy.
blink-182 is a perfect example of a bunch of friends that started a band in their basement and worked their way to the top, becoming multimillionaires off of little more than making asinine jokes at shows and writing songs being an awkward kid in high school. I remember exactly where I was when I listened Online Songs from Take Off Your Pants and Jacket for the first time. Upon hearing Mark Hoppus yell “Shit!” right after the second verse, I had a conscious thought of “damn, I can do this too.” By the end of the night, I had a band.
It is this notion of “damn, I can do this too” that makes blink-182 incredibly important. Similar to many kids, I grew up listening to the virtuosic sounds of “dad rock”, the likes of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. The sometimes incomprehensibly intricate guitar solos and vocal melodies of these bands might have inspired me to start playing guitar, but the complexity of the music creates a certain degree of distance between artist and fan. The realization that playing at the caliber of these incredible musicians isn’t easy leaves many people quitting, not following a musical passion under the clause of “I’ll never be the next _______.”
However, blink-182 allowed kids to realize that you don’t have to be a musical virtuoso to start a band. Their version of punk helped to bring the music back into the hands of the masses, specifically the kids, showing that a song with only three chords can be the biggest song in the world (All the Small Things). Hell, DeLonge could barely play one of the band’s biggest hits What’s My Age Again, which you can see below.
While this piece could be a long retrospective of the band’s career, I am going to keep it short and sweet. blink-182 is an important band for a lot of people, myself included. They are a band that, while you have never met in person, for some reason, you feel like you know them like a friend. They are indicative of the kid in all of us. They are a reminder that, no matter how old you are, if blink-182 was ever a part of your life, turning on a song brings your right back to that moment where you covered it with your band, laughed at the stupid (but awesome) music video, or rolled down your windows to blast it in your car. And more often than not, it will make you smile.
I am not trying to say that blink-182 is the most influential band of a generation because they certainly aren’t. But I know, from personal experience, that they definitely opened doors for kids to pick up instruments and start making noise in the basement, an encouragement to not get discouraged, because you never know when you’re going to hit the right chord.