Travis Barker: "I think Tom’s time away from the band will help him to realise what blink-182 does really is awesome"
Mark and I have wanted to write a Blink-182 album like this for a long time. We felt like we were finally allowed to make an album like this. We weren’t arguing with someone about what the band should or shouldn’t sound like. There was no fighting like there was on the last couple of Blink-182 albums. I love Tom, and he’s a great songwriter, but we knew we didn’t want the band to sound like Angels & Airwaves. By the same token, I never want this band to sound like the Transplants or like my solo material. I want this band to sound like Blink-182. That’s all I want.
It comes with the territory. Everything Blink has done since we started having side projects has been compared to them in one way or another. People were convinced that ‘Obvious’ was a leftover song from Boxcar Racer, even though it wasn’t. People were convinced that songs from Neighborhoods or Dogs Eating Dogs were discarded +44 songs, or that some songs sounded exactly like +44. We got a lot of Angels & Airwaves comparisons on Neighborhoods, even though Angels & Airwaves had nothing to do with that album. I mean, it should fucking sound like that – Tom and Mark sang in those bands, and they sang in this band, too. It’s not some ground-breaking discovery that a band that Mark sang in might sound like a band that Mark sang in.
There were a few pretty clear problems with the Neighborhoods record. Jerry Finn, the producer we had worked with for so long, had just passed away. We were all disconnected – Tom had his studio, we had ours. I had survived a plane crash and was out of my mind. I saw some of my closest friends lose their lives. We were just trying to pull ourselves together. We had nobody there to be like, “That chorus could be bigger” or “this intro shouldn’t be so long.” There was no producer doing that, which I think is instrumental. You need that extra set of eyes and ears. It’s like a general contractor looking over a building. I think we just wanted to put something out. I still like the album, but I’m the kind who nitpicks a lot. Still, that was us trying to meet up and write again after so many years.
The same goes for Dogs Eating Dogs – there are great moments on there, but toward the end of Tom being in the band it really did become like pulling teeth for us. Tom wanted the band to be different. It didn’t make sense to me. We could sell out Reading and Leeds, play to 100,000 people – look at what they go crazy for. It’s all the fast, fun songs that people know this band for. I think Tom’s time away from the band will help him to realise what blink-182 does really is awesome. I hope it convinces him. I’m really proud of who we are and what we sound like.