Like a lot of young men, Blink-182 are scared of the M word. Not "marriage" singer/bassist Mark Hoppus was wed last year, and singer/bassist Tom DeLonge got hitched last month. It's "maturity" that makes these three cringe the same way parents wince at the band's playful Porta-Potti punk rock.
The group's fourth studio LP, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, just hit stores, and as Hoppus told Roger Coletti, the album shows as much of the band's growth as lyricists and songwriters as it lacks in maturity. Still, buried beneath stories about grandpa messing his pants, the band continues to console its teenage fans with "we've all been there" songs about family issues, relationships and the general confusion of growing up. Just don't call that maturity, dumbass.***
MTV: What was it like going in to record this album after the success of the last one, Enema of the State?
Mark Hoppus: We tried not to think about stuff like that, because all we can do is try and go in and make a better record than last time. Whether or not that equates to bigger sales or not is a different thing. But you can't get in that headspace where you start beating yourself up [and worry], "Is this better than the last one or what?" I think this record blows the last one away, but we'll see how the kids react to it.
MTV: What do you think makes this one so much better?
Hoppus: We tried to make it not as polished as Enema of the State. We tried to strip things down. We wrote it pretty much the exact same way. We went into a practice studio, wrote the record in three weeks and then recorded it over the next three months. I just think the songs are stronger. I think the lyrics are a lot better. I think it's a heavier record. [RealAudio]
MTV: Did you decide going into it that you wanted to make it a heavier record?
Hoppus: Yeah, we just wanted it to sound bigger. We wanted the guitars to sound heavier. We wanted the vocals to sound a little more present, a little more immediate. ... We were listening to bands like Fugazi and Refused [during the sessions] and just came out with a heavier-sounding record.
MTV: Did you record a lot of songs and then pick the best for the album, or did you know "this is the album" and go in and record it?
Hoppus: We went in with 16 or 17 songs, recorded all of them [and] have 13 songs on the record. We have extra songs we put in here and there throughout. In the first million copies there is a different bonus song on each one, on the three different versions. Not a million extra songs, people, come on!
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