Penthouse Retrospective

by Rick Petreycik Originally Published: July, 2001

Blink-182 | 20 Years Ago This Month

“When I first met Mark, we not only had the exact same songwriting style, but also the exact same sense of humor,” Delonge adds. “It was a perfect fit. Anyway, we’d go up onstage, and we really didn’t even know how to play, so we started cracking jokes. And people got a kick out of it. It was just so different. I remember saying to an audience one night, ‘Hey! You can all go fuck my mom!’ and people were like, ‘What the hell are you guys talkin’ about?’ It became this half-circus/half-music routine. We’d be running around naked onstage and talking about masturbation and having sex with our parents or something. And we actually got better at writing songs, and at the same time the jokes started getting more disgusting. It was really a weird contrast.”

But there’s a serious, sensitive side to the band too. Check out Hoppus’s “Adam’s Song” from Enema. Although largely interpreted as a suicide note from a kid who’s had enough of life’s slings and arrows, the song is actually an autobiographical snapshot of the sense of loneliness Hoppus was experiencing (“I couldn’t wait till I got home / To pass the time in my room alone”). “The song was about me being on tour and being lonely and not having a girlfriend when I got home,” Hoppus explains. “Things like that happen and you get super bummed. It’s just about going through hard times in general, and yet finding the strength to go on, realizing that there are better things on the other side.

“One of my favorite songs is ‘Going Away to College,’” Hoppus continues. “I wrote that on Valentine’s Day. I remember that I was super sick and I was watching the movie Can’t Hardly Wait. Anyway, the song is about the end of high school and how it’s hard when all your friends are going their separate ways. The song reflects that feeling of being happy that you’re getting on with your life and becoming an adult, but it also reflects the loss of innocence and the safety net of your parents, your family, and your friends.”

And then there’s the upbeat megahit “What’s My Age Again?” — although Hoppus admits that the tune’s universal message is light-years away from its inspiration. “It started out as a joke song that I wrote about a girl giving me a blowjob when I was actually more interested in watching TV.”

“The joke was that Mark was actually getting a blowjob,” Delonge pipes in. “Like, there’s no way.”

“The success of the band is a lot to take in. Had this not happened, I’d be masturbating and playing video games all day long.”

“Anyway,” Hoppus says, laughing, “the riff in the song was so catchy that we decided to make it about enjoying being young. It changed from a joke song about oral sex into a celebration of youth. Go figure.”

Asked if they think the audience is latching on to the jokes or the songs, Hoppus replies, “I honestly feel that we write good songs about relationships or life or friends, and I think people genuinely relate to those themes.”

Delonge concurs: “People ask us sometimes, ‘Now that you guys are getting older, how do you feel writing about heartache and high school dating and things like that?’ and my answer is, ‘Everyone’s affected dramatically when they’re at that age. No matter how old you are, you’re gonna remember those times.’ Everyone can relate to feeling awkward on a first date, no matter how old you are. That’s the kind of shit that we write about.”

The members of Blink-182 definitely aren’t feeling awkward in the romance department. Hoppus married his sweetheart of two years, Skye Everly, an MTV employee, this past Thanksgiving weekend. Delonge has been dating girlfriend Jen Jenkins for nearly five years, and Barker has just become engaged to his steady of two years. psychology major Melissa Kennedy; they’re getting married in September. “She’s great.” Barker says. “She’s just real down-to-earth.”

The women have to be great in order to handle all the estrogen-laden adoration of the fans, especially when their significant others are being flashed by hundreds of female fans more than 300 days a year. “Not only is it hard for our ladies — because that [flashing) does happen — but it’s gotta be worse because we actually request it,” Hoppus concedes. “I mean, Tom’s up on-stage and his girlfriend will be sitting off to the side and he’s goin’, ‘Show me your boobs.’”

“It’s a celebration of beauty,” Delonge responds. “Mark and I are very fond of what the world has to offer and how beautiful it is, and we think that clothing inhibits people.”

Hoppus adds, “We’re not asking them to do anything. We’re just providing a forum in which they can do whatever they want.”

Delonge agrees: “We’re like the Colosseum of sexual dysfunction.”