Travis Barker Hooks Up With Nicole Richie’s Fiance, Makes Transplants Priority

Drummer jamming with DJ AM.

IRVINE, California — Travis Barker has another band.

The Blink-182/ Box Car Racer/ Transplants/ Plus-44 drummer has teamed up with DJ AM, Nicole Richie’s fiance, to form an as-yet-unnamed duo.

“We’re just gonna play clubs every once in a while, it’s gonna be pretty crazy, DJ versus drummer,” Barker said of the still-developing project. “We’re like 40 minutes into the routine. … We just jam.”

Barker was inspired to connect with a DJ after several trips to New York.

“I would see old blues drummers in [clubs] playing like hip-hop songs,” he said backstage at the recent KROQ Weenie Roast. “And [DJ AM and I] were talking one day and we were like, ‘God, we should collaborate and just mess around,’ and so he’ll spin something a cappella and I’ll be playing the beat for it. Everything, all our favorite hip-hop. It’s pretty fun.”

The duo should start hitting the club circuit this summer, but right now, the Transplants are Barker’s priority, especially since the group (with Rob Aston and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong) was too busy with other projects to properly promote the Transplants’ 2002 self-titled debut (see “Transplants Fuse Bands And Styles, Much To Ire Of Punk Police” ).

“We’re gonna be a bona fide band this time around,” Barker said. “We have a lot of making up to do. … We’re doing Warped Tour, and then we’re doing festivals over in Europe, and then we’re gonna do a headlining tour and go to Japan next year.”

The tours are in support of the band’s second album, Haunted Cities, due June 21 on Barker’s La Salle Records. Produced by Armstrong (Pink, AFI), the album features B-Real and Sen Dog from Cypress Hill, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. and Rakaa from Dilated Peoples.

“When we were writing these songs and stuff, I knew who would sound good on what, and they’re all my homies, so they came through, no problem, and did the damn thing,” Aston said.

The first single, “Gangsters & Thugs,” was officially sent to radio stations last week, although it’s been getting spins around the country for a month.

“Tim kinda summed it up in the hook, you know, ‘Some of my friends sell records/ Some of my friends sell drugs/ And some do both,’ ” Aston said. “It is what it is. We love our friends no matter what they do, right or wrong, good or bad.”

The Transplants shot the video with friend Estevan Oriol, who also directed Blink-182′s “Down.”

“There’s performance, there’s us hanging out at our boy’s tattoo shop, Rob does his verse there,” Barker said. “Tim’s in the studio, I’m in one of my Cadillacs with rough riders all around me. It’s crazy, it’s just who we are, it just captures a day in the life for all three of us.”

In the meantime, Barker plans to keep recording with Plus-44, although he doesn’t anticipate their debut until next summer (see “Travis Barker Calls His Plus-44 Side Project ‘Way Out There’ “ ).