DEVORE, California — OK, this is getting out of control.
Travis Barker, the Blink-182/ Transplants/ Box Car Racer/ Plus-44 drummer (see “Travis Barker Hopes To Get Danger Mouse On New, ‘Way Out There’ Plus-44 LP” ), revealed over the weekend that he’s formed yet another new band, this one with Transplants rapper Rob Aston and Houston rapper Paul Wall.
“It’s called Expensive Tastes,” Barker said backstage at KROQ-FM’s Inland Invasion (see “Beck Bashes, Barker Mashes, Shirley Clashes, Arcade Fire Smash At KROQ Fest” ). “It’s gonna probably come out next year, [a joint release that will be] half Swisha House/ half La Salle [Records, Barker's label].”
Barker met Wall, whose The Peoples Champ just hit shelves, earlier this year while at the offices of Atlantic Records for a Transplants meeting.
“We were like, ‘Yo, we’re big fans of Paul Wall,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh, he just happens to be in the next room,’ ” Barker recalled. “He was familiar with the Transplants, we were familiar with him, and it was just obvious we were gonna work together.”
From there, Wall did a chopped-and-screwed remix of the Transplants’ Haunted Cities (see “Transplants Team Up With Paul Wall For First Chopped-And-Screwed Rock LP” ), which is due later this year, as well as a track on Bun B’s new album that Barker produced.
“It’s kind of nice having this time to work with artists that you’re big fans of,” said Barker, referring to the hiatuses from Blink-182 and the Transplants (see “Transplants Cancel All Tour Dates, Cite Armstrong’s ‘Exhaustion’ “ ).
During the break, Barker is also expanding his clothing label, Famous Stars and Straps, and building his name up as a hip-hop producer. He’s meeting with T.I. about collaborating this week.
“It’s always been a passion of mine,” Barker said. “I’ve been listening to hip-hop since I was listening to music. It was always crazy to be in punk-rock bands and rock bands and always be listening to soul or R&B or hip-hop — stuff I didn’t play, so it’s exciting to work with artists. And I’m a drummer, so I was listening to hip-hop as a kid, bugging out, trying to get the rhythms down and stuff. It’s finally my time to execute.”
Barker’s learning how to meld his drumming chops with hip-hop through another one of his projects, a live show with DJ AM that the duo debuted at Inland Invasion (see “Travis Barker Hooks Up With Nicole Richie’s Fiance, Makes Transplants Priority” ). Their set mixed and mashed all sorts of styles, including hits from Dr. Dre, the Game and Snoop Dogg.
“We just started jamming songs, we didn’t know what was gonna happen,” Barker said of their practice sessions. “Songs that really felt good or took off, we marked and then we’d do them over, and then we’d try to find a cappella [versions] of those songs. Sometimes I’ll play the drums and it’s just a cappella and drums, and sometimes I’ll play the drums and he’s scratching the hook or whatever. We almost remix the song, sometimes.”
“Every record we went through, I’d play two bars of it and he’s just got the beat locked,” DJ AM (a.k.a. Adam Goldstein) said. “At first I was [skeptical when Barker suggested the idea], just ’cause for a nightclub setting it can be tough, but I’ve seen wack drummers — and he’s not a wack drummer.”
So far, the duo are planning to keep their collaboration on the stage, but that could change.
“If people want it enough, we’ll burn a couple discs,” DJ AM said. “It’s tough [for licensing] ’cause we’re playing a lot of [copyrighted] music. And [Barker] makes every song sound better, too, so people will be pissed, like, ‘I should’ve done it like that!’ ”
“We didn’t think we’d be here right now, so we don’t expect sh–,” Barker added. “We’re just organically taking it day by day.”
Along with working with Barker and planning his wedding to Nicole Richie, AM is finishing a mix CD and just opened a club in Hollywood called LAX.
“After working in clubs forever, it’s nice to own one,” he said. “And I put a really good sound system in there and made the booth very DJ-friendly, so everyone who plays there loves it.”