When MTV News caught up with Blink-182's Mark Hoppus last week, he spoke at length about the band's ongoing campaign to finish their long-in-the-works album and explained that part of the reason for its delay had to do with each Blink member's eternally packed schedule.
But there's also another reason it's taken Blink so long to wrap up the album — one that probably hasn't gotten the attention it deserves: the death of producer Jerry Finn in 2008. Not only did Finn helm their last three studio albums, but he served as an invaluable member of the Blink team: part adviser, part impartial observer, he helped smooth out tensions and hone their multiplatinum sound. And now, for the first time since they made 1997's Dude Ranch, Blink-182 are attempting to make an album without him.
"We've always had Jerry at the helm, and this time it's just us at the helm, without Jerry there," Hoppus said. "And I feel like he's in the room with us, pushing us in hopefully the right direction, but he's not obviously there, and that kind of sucks, but we're doing it."
Hoppus has touched on Finn's relationship with the band in the past, but only now is he explaining why filling Finn's formidable shoes has been such a challenge — one that he and his bandmates had to learn how to do on the fly.
"Jerry ... was always kind of the anchor for everything, and he was the impartial third party. ... As an artist, you write something, and maybe you struggle with something for a while, and because you worked so hard on a certain part, it means something more to you. And if it doesn't work for the song, you need somebody there that just says, 'That part's not working. It doesn't matter that you worked for a week on that one guitar line, it just doesn't work. It needs to go away,' " he said. "And so we're having to self-edit a lot more and be more honest with one another. Rather than having Jerry be the person that's like, 'You know what, why don't you try it this way?' We're the ones who are saying, 'How about this?' "
So only now, nearly three years since his death, are Blink beginning to figure out how to work without Finn. But Hoppus said they've weathered the storm so far, and, in a lot of ways, have emerged as a better band because of it.
"Like I said, it sucks not having him there," he said. "But this is just another step in the legacy of Blink-182."
What are you expecting from the next Blink album? Let us know in the comments!