In the 18 months following the announcement of the Blink-182 hiatus, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker decided not to do any interviews. During that time, their former bandmate, Tom DeLonge, did the opposite, peppering blogs and magazines with quotes hyping his new band and putting the blame for the Blink situation squarely on their shoulders.
While it sometimes pained them to do so, Hoppus and Barker still refrained from speaking to the media, instead burying themselves in the recording of the debut album by their new band, Plus-44 (see “When It Comes To Publicity, Plus-44’s Mark Hoppus Is No Tom DeLonge” ).
Now, with Plus’ album, When Your Heart Stops Beating, “99 percent finished,” the guys are embarking on a press blitz of their own.
“We just bit our tongues and didn’t say anything, and now that the record is done, we get the chance to tell the truth about everything,” Hoppus said. “We want to say, ’Here’s the truth about Blink, here’s the truth about Plus-44.’ We’re not talking sh– — we just want our fans to know the truth about everything.”
“We were silent for a year, and we couldn’t put into words what we were doing, so we just decided not to say anything and let the music speak for itself,” Barker added. “Now it’s time for people to hear that music and hear the truth.”
That truth — about the past 18 months of their lives — percolates throughout Heart, a point made by Hoppus during Plus’ first-ever interview last month (see “Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker Break Plus-44 Silence, Talk ’The Real Tom’ “ ), and one that both he and Barker expounded on in their second chat with MTV News.
“The whole album is about everything that’s happened, including Blink, and the ugly feelings that were left over afterwards,” Hoppus said. “Lyrically, it’s some of the most positive stuff I’ve ever written, but it’s also some of the darkest sh–, too. And I’m incredibly proud of it all.”
“Ever since the whole Blink thing went down, we were left on our own, we were the underdogs,” Barker added. “We had a year’s worth of touring planned, we were writing a record, and all of a sudden [Tom] just dropped the ball. And while we were still on tour, he was having discussions with us about, ’Oh, I can’t wait until we’re doing this 20 years from now.’ So now, with Plus-44, my attitude is like, ’F— you, watch me do this 20 years from now.’ ”
Hoppus said there will be 11 songs on Heart — due November 14, according to Interscope — including the title track (which is shaping up to be the first single), “Little Death,” “Chapter 13″ (a “straight-up spastic tune,” according to Barker) and “No It Isn’t,” a song that leaked earlier this year and created quite a stir because it seemed to address the Blink situation head-on.
“Yeah, that one is absolutely about the end of Blink,” Hoppus said. “We leaked it online almost a year ago, in a demo version, and it’s one of the few songs that’s only changed a little bit.”
With the record nearly done, Plus-44 are now gearing up to hit the road, lining up dates for a North American tour scheduled to kick off in late October. And while Barker has been dealing with some personal stuff — chiefly the divorce petition he filed against his wife (and former “Meet the Barkers” co-star) Shanna Moakler earlier this month (see “Travis Barker Files For Divorce From Shanna Moakler” ) — he maintains that he’s eagerly looking forward to the time on the road.
“Anytime I’m struggling or in a place where I have to keep my head above water, it always makes me get even deeper into my music,” he said. “So yeah, I’m really looking forward to getting out there and playing. In a way it’s weird, because this band has been about making the best out of a f—ed-up situation, and now this tour is, too. I feel like every few years something goes down with me where I have to prove myself again. And that’s what this is, but it only makes me stronger.”