Blink-182 are known for a lot of things that have nothing to do with their music: dick jokes, ass-flashing audiences, breaking up, Travis Barker's near-death experience. Yet somehow, after almost 20 years, it's all coming back around to the band's pioneering punk-pop music.
After splitting in 2005, the Los Angeles trio announced its reunion at the 2009 Grammys. That's led to a summer tour with My Chemical Romance and a new album, Neighborhoods, due out later this month. "Maybe at some point people just say, 'OK, fine, it's not going away, I'll love it,'" says singer and guitarist Tom DeLonge. "But I also think there's something that's really honorable in a band that can preserve and push forward a legacy and continue to take risks."
By 2005, Blink-182 had sold more than 27 million albums worldwide and became a modern-rock radio staple with songs like "All the Small Things." But the tours, the records — just being around each other so damn much — took its toll. Plus, the members were growing up and starting families.
After drummer Barker's plane crash and the death of their producer, Jerry Finn, in 2008, they started talking about getting back together.
"[We're] stepping off where the last record was," says DeLonge, "with sensibilities of all three of us individually and sensibilities of the three of us coming together."
And apparently, they're taking their time: It's been almost two years since they started working on Neighborhoods. The album's first single, "Up All Night," reflects the group's collective maturity. They sing about kids and work with the same fast and loud tempos that made them stars a dozen years ago, back when their lives were marked by fewer domestic concerns.
The album was supposed to be released in the spring, then it was pushed back to June. When that deadline passed, a European tour was postponed.
"The challenge has been to take the time to do whatever we want individually and also trying to keep the energy and the immediacy of three guys playing music in a room," says singer and bassist Mark Hoppus.
"The way it was recorded, all the songs sound so different from each other, not only in the sense of its approach of arrangements, but its tonalities," says DeLonge. "I really think that we have a tremendous, diverse palette."