How Did Blink-182 Become So Influential?

In between the raunchy humor and nudity, Blink managed to make a huge impact on other bands and devoted fans.

Perhaps without even knowing it — and definitely without ever really trying — [artist id="783"]Blink-182[/artist] have somehow become one of the most influential bands of the past 20 years.

This might seem like a bit of a stretch. After all, aren’t these the same guys with the discography of di– jokes? The ones who gave their albums titles like Enema of the State or Take Off Your Pants and Jacket? Well, yes. But they’re also the same guys who featured Robert Smith on their self-titled (or untitled … it’s never really been clear) fifth album, the same guys who grew and matured into really excellent songwriters, and the same guys responsible for blurring lines with projects like Box Car Racer and Transplants.

Yet, despite their maturation, Blink never took themselves particularly seriously, which was another reason they were so accessible. They boiled down the knotty songs of the Descendents and Bad Religion into spirited-yet-nonthreatening pop punk, which means, without them, there’d be no Fall Out Boy, no Paramore, or no Fueled by Ramen Records. And they used their fame to shine the spotlight on (then) unknown acts like Jimmy Eat World, Motion City Soundtrack, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New and New Found Glory.

When they went on “indefinite hiatus” in February 2005, fans mourned and a generation of bands they inspired surged to the forefront, only adding to the legacy of Blink. And when, during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, they announced that they were reuniting , those same fans — and those same bands — rejoiced.

Seems like everyone still loves Blink.

Formed in Poway, California, in 1992 — when bassist Mark Hoppus’ sister introduced him to guitarist Tom DeLonge, who was playing in a band called Big Oily Men — they recruited drummer Scott Raynor and began jamming out in DeLonge’s garage. Originally saddled with the name Duck Tape, DeLonge rechristened the band as Blink, and they recorded a pair of demos (songs from the demos would later resurface on the band’s first two albums). Drawing the attention of local label Cargo Music, they released their debut album, Cheshire Cat, in 1994. And though the album never made much of an impact commercially, it’s often cited by bands and fans as an iconic release. Soon after, they drew the ire of an Irish band also named Blink, so they were forced to change their name to Blink-182.

In 1997, they released Dude Ranch, and thanks to the success of singles like “Dammit” and “Josie,” the album sold more than a million copies. While touring in support of the record, they parted was with drummer Raynor (under somewhat mysterious circumstances) and asked Travis Barker — who was drumming with tourmates the Aquabats — to fill in behind the kit for the remainder of the dates. Turns out, he would never leave.

In 1999, Blink broke-through to the mainstream with Enema of the State, a roiling mix of pop punk and punnery that featured porn star Janine Lindemulder on the cover. Thanks to a string of successful singles (and over-the-top videos), Enema went on to sell more than 15 million albums worldwide, making Blink the biggest punk act on the planet. Accordingly, they toured the globe (shows were recorded for their The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show live album) and even made an appearance in the raunchy blockbuster “American Pie.”

They followed the success of Enema with Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, which featured the hit singles “First Date” and “Rock Show,” and toured with Green Day. During a much-needed break, DeLonge recorded an album with his side project, Box Car Racer, while Barker teamed up with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong to form the rap-core group Transplants.

The effects of both groups were apparent in Blink’s next record, a mature and quite dark self-titled effort. Fans were split by the so-called “new Blink,” but the album still berthed singles like “Feeling This” and “I Miss You.” They toured with No Doubt in 2004, but tensions within the band — stemming from the grueling schedule and DeLonge’s desire to spend more time with his family — started to become evident. In early 2005, Blink abruptly canceled a performance at a Music for Relief benefit show, and soon after, the “indefinite hiatus” announcement was made.

In the years since, Hoppus and Barker formed +44, while DeLonge forged ahead as the (very vocal) frontman of Angels & Airwaves. Both sides took their fair share of potshots at the other, but, as it often happens, tragedy helped bring the trio back together. Barker escaped a fiery plane crash in South Carolina, a crash that killed four people including Barker’s assistant, “Lil Chris” Baker — whom Hoppus was also close with — and security guard Charles “Che” Still. In the wake of the crash, Hoppus posted on his blog that he, Barker and DeLonge had started spending time together.

Last month, in an exclusive interview with MTV News , Hoppus said when it came to the possibilities of a Blink reunion, “The future is wide open.”

Looks like he wasn’t lying.