blink-182 goes mature

By John Benson

Two years removed from its high-profile reunion tour, blink-182 is back with new tunes and a tour.

While the upcoming CD “Neighborhoods,” due out later this month, includes lead single “Up All Night,” the band is currently on a co-headlining tour alongside My Chemical Romance. The bill rolls into our area for a Tuesday show at Blossom Music Center and a Thursday date at First Niagara Pavilion in Pittsburgh.

Ironically the pop-punk band that made a career out of being immature has actually, well, matured and diversified over the past few years with numerous side projects.

Mark Hoppus (vocals, bass) has found success hosting Fuse show “Hoppus On Music,” while Travis Barker (drums) — who nearly died in a 2008 plane crash — is pursuing a solo career and Tom DeLonge (vocals, guitar) has alternative rock act Angels & Airwaves.

With so much going on, has blink now become a side project?

“It’s not a side project at all,” said Hoppus in a recent press conference call. “blink is our priority as a band — it’s what we’ve done since day one for almost 20 years at this point. The other projects that we have in our lives allow us to kind of break away and do something creative and bring that knowledge and those skills back to blink as a band. But blink is no side project by any means.”

Marking its first release in over six years, “Up All Night” finds a harder-edged blink-182 than its pop-punk past. There are digressions into heavy hardcore-lite guitars and alt rock synths. The band has clearly evolved from its popish roots that included hit singles (“All the Small Things,” “Adam’s Song” and “The Rock Show”) and platinum albums (“Enema of the State,” “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,” “Dude Ranch” and self-titled).

So the question has to be asked whether or not the Southern California trio can still relate to its older catalog material.

“I do,” DeLonge said. “That’s something that I even personally wondered about when we were getting back together. I remember the very first time we played the songs when we got back together and it made me feel exactly the same way I feel the hour before we go on stage. I always have this very specific hour where I blast music, and I listen to old punk rock music that I listened to in junior high and high school. And when I listen to those old punk bands, it gets me so excited because the whole idea is that it makes me feel the way I felt when I started playing guitar and my whole reason for wanting to break out of suburbia and go do something bigger.”

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