When I was in 8th grade, my good friend Josh (who is now my lawyer) told me about a band then called simply “Blink”. We listened to their “tape”. It was like 1996 or something hot like that. We would laugh hysterically at Cheshire Cat and the ridiculous lyrics they’d pump out. More than anything, these guys and their simple songs and stupid lyrics about girls (and some good old fashioned penis jokes) made me pick up guitar. Some 13 years later, Blink-182 has become the exact opposite of what we listened to on tape in Josh’s room that was covered with Unwritten Law and NOFX posters. They are now big business.
And that’s cool. It’s good to make some money and lord knows, they did. I just miss the old days. I miss when it was cool to just listen to pop punk from SoCal and sneak in a 3rd wave ska show every now and then. The Sunset Strip was so alive with fun bands. It was just a different time, before we started stealing music (kinda) and record labels had lots of money, and it all was in your face. It was the kind of time when we could call a record label up (we did) and they’d invite you over. We used to roll to Drive Thru Records in Granada Hills after high school and we’d ask questions. When we got good enough, we got to play shows with bands like New Found Glory and Midtown, before New Found Glory essentially became a cover band and Midtown gave way to Cobra fucking Starship.
I’m not really angry. We all got to do what we all got to do. But some of us out there remember Travis Barker as “The Baron von Tito”. Don’t know who that is? That was his stage name when he was the drummer of maniac ska outfit The Aquabats. We loved Travis. He was the best drummer we’d ever seen. And this was in 1996.
This was when it seemed impossible that he’d drum for rappers or date a Playmate. This was a freak in silver spandex who played the drums like a bear on meth. When Scott, the original drummer in Blink (Buddha, Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch) left the band, we thought it was over. Then we heard Travis was switching teams. The Aquabats proceeded to fall off along with the ska scene in general and Blink wrote What’s My Age Again and the rest of their 4000 number one hits. The rest is history.
Even within that time frame, the time when they blew up, I still miss the beginning of their rise. I miss the part where I felt really glad for them. I was really happy they were making it. The time when they were making awesome music videos that blew your mind. They were the popular alternative to the angry rap-rock thing going on with Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. They were the popular alternative to the bad direction rap started going that ended up condemning us to the Auto-Tune Virus of the late 2000s. They were the popular alternative to the Boy Band craze we’ve all tried to forget (except for Timberlake, that dude is boss).
Miner, our singer, said to me that Blink was to MTV what Michael Jordan was to ESPN. They created the highlight. They perfected a 3 minute laugh with a catchy tune in the way you could tell how great Jordan was just from one clip of his tongue wagging as he switched hands twice before dunking in slo-mo. It’s not the whole story, but it is enough.
Anyway. I miss the old days a little bit sometimes. I miss the shenanigans. I miss listening to Buck O Nine singing about San Diego and looking forward to drinking beer there when I got older (don’t worry, Mom. I got there and drank plenty of beer). I miss condensation on the ceiling at the Cobalt Cafe. I miss “floating” at the Roxy and getting hassled by the man. The music was corny, the colors were bright and it was a lot of fun.
Check this out. I think it’s the best video ever. I can’t stop laughing.