Back when they were co-fronting Blink-182, Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus were often seen as musical brothers-in-arms: two like-minded pop-punk aesthetes, equally adept at writing catchy hooks and dispensing witty (if not a tad sophomoric) lyrics.
But if we've learned anything in the year-plus since Blink went on "indefinite hiatus," it's how different the two of them really are.
While DeLonge seems to have taken any and all opportunities to promote his new band, Angels & Airwaves, Hoppus has remained on the sidelines, content to produce albums for up-and-coming acts (see "Mark Hoppus Throws House Party For Motion City Soundtrack"); conduct delightfully seat-of-the-pants podcasts through his Web site, HiMyNameIsMark.com; and work — in relative secrecy — on his new act, the electro-tinged Plus-44.
While Hoppus' silence may have cemented his status among Blink diehards as "the sane one," it's proven to be a bit of a hindrance when it comes to news about Plus, which he started with Blink drummer Travis Barker in April 2005 (see "Blink-182's Hoppus, Barker Form Electronic Side Project").
What little is known about the band has been provided though various interviews with MTV News — mostly with Barker — and via Hoppus' Web site. Since February, the group has been recording material in a Los Angeles studio owned by Barker and Hoppus, and in recent weeks, Hoppus started discussing a handful of new songs, including "Lillian" (which he said "will kick a million asses") and a track tentatively titled "Weatherman."
Hoppus has also used Plus-44's MySpace page to address rumors that Carol Heller — Plus' singer and the former vocalist for SoCal punk band Get the Girl — had left the band (or, even scarier, that she was found dead in Northern California).
"I heard Carol was dead or quit the band," Hoppus wrote. "Well, let me clear this one up for all of you: Carol is very much alive. She actually is sitting right next to me on this nice comfy leather couch."
That post hasn't quelled Internet whisperings that Heller is, in fact, out of Plus-44 and that she has been replaced by guitarist Craig Fairbaugh. (A spokesperson for the band declined to comment on the matter.)
And while Hoppus could clear up all this mystery with just one interview, don't expect that to happen anytime soon. According to that same spokesperson — who asked not to be identified in this story — he's focusing all of his energy on completing the Plus-44 album in time for a late-2006 release. That also means there will be no Plus shows on the horizon, despite what you may have read on various Web sites.
"They're so close to finishing up the album, and they don't want any distractions," the spokesperson said. "Believe me, when you hear the music they're making, it'll be worth all the secrecy."