Featured in the March 2000 issue (#140), blink-182 made their Alternative Press cover debut. Following the release of their third studio album in June 1999, Enema Of The State, the trio were shot by Sean Murphy for their first cover. To celebrate the 22-year anniversary of Enema, we’ve unearthed a portion of their interview. The full interview has been adjusted and modified for the digital platform.
“You want to see the most upsetting thing you’ve ever seen in your life?”
Mark Hoppus, bassist for current punk-pop rulers blink-182, is in his underwear. Actually, it’s not his underwear: It’s stunt underwear. More specifically, tea-stained prop skivvies. Hoppus, Tom DeLonge (guitar) and Travis Barker (drums) are filming clips for the opening of some music awards show fiasco. Naturally, the script requires blink to dash about town in their hey now—except you can’t really run around naked in public. Because that would be wrong, even in Vegas. Thus, we have a teen phenomenon in dirty drawers.
For whatever reason, I respond affirmatively to Hoppus’ inquiry. With that, he squats before me like an orangutan on the stage of the Monte Carlo Hotel’s Lance Burton Theater and eye gestures at his basket. Indeed, it is a sight I’d rather forget. Waiting to shoot, Hoppus tweaks both his nipples, then runs a hernia self-diagnosis. Barker counters, working himself with a two-handed technique that is anything but subtle. Not to be outdone, Hoppus crouches once more, applying dry ice fog to his… Must I say it again? Believe it or not, this isn’t Swank, or even Honcho, for that matter.
This is my introduction to blink-182. It doesn’t get any cleaner from here on in. If you’re already offended, I suggest trying a more family-friendly publication. Still, if your rubbernecking instincts have been piqued (and you don’t expect to read anything about, say, music), by all means, continue. Consider yourself warned.
Why are skateboard kids and punk-rock kids so funny?
TOM DELONGE: I can tell you where it spawned with us. Growing up skateboarding, you go to every rad place where it’s good to skateboard, and you get kicked out of every one of those places. People look at you yelling, “Get outta here! Fuckin’ skaters, ruining everything.” You’re always getting told to leave. You’re always getting pointed at and laughed at. Finally, you just start fucking with people back. So you spend your whole day as a kid fucking with people. Pretty soon you’re a professional.
MARK HOPPUS: Skating is actually a pretty social sport. It’s not a team sport, but skating isn’t just about going out and riding your skateboard. It’s going out with your friends, finding a spot, doing something together with a bunch of guys. There’s a lot of camaraderie, a lot of brotherhood in that.
But it’s a particular brand of humor. It’s nihilistic, degenerate, self-effacing…
HOPPUS: I never noticed that, but it’s true. It definitely is a brand of humor.
DELONGE: Skaters and punkers tend to have similar personalities. There’s so much conservatism around that you just break that mold and go, “I want to look different. I want to act different. I want to laugh at things. I want to have fun and have no responsibilities.”
Hip-hop is funny, but the humor is usually along the same lines: macking, hustling…
HOPPUS: A lot of times, it’s about backing something up. Back that thing up. Calling somebody “Big Poppa” while you back that thing up. Things of that nature. Skater kids don’t take themselves seriously because they’ve most been pigeonholed as losers. Outcasts.
Were you an outcast?
HOPPUS: I was definitely an outcast and a loser, too. My high school was typical. The people that ran the school were cheerleaders and football players, and any deviation was considered freakish. Skating, listening to punk-rock music and wearing eyeliner to school wasn’t considered cool at all.
Did you think you were cool because you were a skater?
HOPPUS: Yeah. I liked being an outcast. I like doing something different from the norm, and I loved skateboarding. I found better friends in skateboarding than I’ve found in “real life.”
DELONGE: I was an outcast because, apparently, three testicles is not the “in” thing to have.
For more on blink-182, watch the Alternative Press exclusive video on 20 reasons why blink-182’s Enema Of The State is the best pop-punk album ever.