Fear not, Box Car Racer fans. Although the group that features Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis Barker rounded its final turn Tuesday in Detroit, they're committed to making another lap around the music track.
When the green flag flies again, however, depends on how long it takes Blink-182's next album — which DeLonge, Barker and bassist Mark Hoppus plan to work on in January — to run its course.
"What I would like is to do an every-other-year type thing," DeLonge said. "But Blink definitely has priority, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. You can't really schedule it, because Blink is at the top of the list of things to do."
Even as Box Car's wheels were rolling to a stop, the members kept their creative engines revving and learned two new songs. Fans who've heard them played in concert have bestowed the new, original number with compliments, while the second of the two, a cover, may not strike a familiar chord with Blink fans so much as with their mothers.
"The new song is kick-ass, and people are already saying it's one of the best songs ever written," DeLonge said, half-jokingly. "It doesn't have a name, however. It's so good that no name will do it justice. And then we covered Barry Manilow's 'Mandy.' It's so good, people cry. Most kids don't even know the song ..."
"But they still cry," guitarist David Kennedy quickly added.
The schmaltzy standard seems like a cover chosen solely for kitsch value, but DeLonge insisted there's sound musical reasoning behind the selection.
"We didn't want to do a lame cover song," he said, "but there's something about 'Mandy''s arrangement and how we could play it that made sense. It's so anthemic."
"And it's got the catchiest chorus ever," Kennedy again interjected.
As for the new original song, fans of Blink needn't stretch their imaginations too far to catch the drift.
"The new song we wrote is just about sex, really," DeLonge explained flatly.
While the theme is a familiar one, the reaction Box Car Racer have been getting from fans who've heard it is unique.
"Out of all the new songs I've played in my career in a band," DeLonge said, "most kids just sit there and they stare. But this is the only song I've been a part of that when you play it the crowd gets moving instantly. It's really cool."
There are no plans to release the songs yet, though Barker might remix some Box Car tunes for an EP and bolster the record with the two new tracks.
Looking back on Box Car Racer, a project that began to sprout roughly a year ago (see "Blink-182 Side Project Shoots Video, Plans Handful Of Shows"), DeLonge and Barker said they see the time spent with the former Over My Dead Body members as a learning experience.
"We compare it to summer school," DeLonge explained. "It's like we went away and learned a lot about music and ourselves — how to do things differently. It makes me excited to start the new Blink record."
DeLonge's anticipation is understandable, considering he predicts the follow-up to last year's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket will be the peak of Blink's career (see "Blink-182 Consider Going Electronic On Next Album").
"It's going to be the best record we've ever done by miles," he boasted. "It's not even comparable. It's going to sound like Blink, but with a whole different way of doing it. I don't know if people are going to handle how good it's going to be."