At this point, it’s safe to say that Mark Hoppus is a human dynamo. Best known for his role in potty mouthed pop-punk trio Blink-182, the 38-year-old is more than just a mere bassist, having juggled production duties, podcasts, high-profile collaborations and more in recent years. His newest endeavor? A Different Spin With Mark Hoppus, a weekly, hour-long program hosted by its namesake airing on Fuse starting this September. We caught up with Hoppus to get the scoop on what his new venture is all about, as well as get an update on whether or not we’ll hear new Blink music before the world ends in 2012.
Are you in Los Angeles today?
No, we're in New York City. I'm calling from inside Radio City Music Hall.
Really? What are you doing there?
We just had the huge press conference announcing the TV show on Fuse.
Press conferences aren't something Blink-182 do very often; at least with the U.S. press. How do you act at a press conference? Do you have to tell yourself not to be who you are normally, or is it pretty much a straight thing?
When I try to be something I'm not, I suck at it. So I just try and relax and be myself—and I suck bad enough at that, so…
So what’s the dress code like for something like that?
I was told I could wear whatever I wanted, but my wife told me that instead of wearing shorts, I had to wear long pants because it was more appropriate.
Man, I'll tell you what: The ball and chain, right?
[Laughs.] I know.
So you have this new Fuse show in the works. Is there officially a title?
As of right now it’s called A Different Spin With Mark Hoppus.
How much creative control will you have in what makes the show?
Total. No, actually it’s really cool because it’s been an absolute collaboration with everybody involved. The people involved all have the same mindset and are very creative and very talented and smart. That’s kinda how we want the show to go. From day one, it’s always been, “Let’s make this show together and make it rad and make it irreverent, smart and funny.” So that’s what we're going for.
Obviously you're very entrenched with modern music right now and there are a lot of bands you work with production-wise or take on tour or are, for lack of a better word, you're “bros” with. How do you cover those bands on this show without seeming biased?
Probably because, well, I am biased. I've been having more fun with the bands I'm friends with because I get to ruin them more. I'll probably have to be easier on people I don't know than I will be on the bands I'm friends with and have toured with. Because with them, I can make fun of them and, you know, bring up things that make them uncomfortable and I'll have to be a little more respectful of people I don’t know.
This show is definitely its own thing. It’s really based on music and on love of music and not only covering bands people know about, but also introducing people to new bands they might not have heard about. Like I said, we want it to be funny and for it to be a fun time, but it’s not a gimmicky, silly show. It’s more of a smart show about music and the music industry and people we like working with and listening to.
So will you be having guests on the show and playing music videos?
I don't think we’ll be playing music videos, but we are going to have a lot of guests on the show, live performances, in-studio visits, backstage pieces, around-town segments, correspondents’ pieces and all kinds of stuff. We’re in production right now, so we’re still figuring out exactly what things are going to be. But the energy is such that if we wanted to try and have a band play on top of the Empire State Building, we would try to do that. If we wanted to go visit a band in the studio in France, we would try and go do that. If we wanted to take [Smashing Pumpkins frontman] Billy Corgan out for a drink and talk about music, we would do that. As long as we think something is fun and cool, we're going to do it.
When you posted online that you had a big announcement coming and that everyone should tune into KROQ, it seemed like the announcement was going to be that Blink-182 are playing a huge KROQ show in September. Was that just kind of unfortunate timing having both of these news items come out at the same time?
Well, us playing that one show is actually a big deal for Blink-182 because it’s the only show we're playing [this year] in North America. We're going to be in the studio for the rest of the year recording the [new Blink-182] album. I didn't realize it at the time, but I guess the radio station was playing commercials hyping up the announcement, meaning the announcement for the concert. But what they were saying in the announcement was when you tune in, listen for a new song. People thought that meant there was a new Blink-182 song, which of course there isn't yet. So I think people were bummed because they thought they were tuning in for a new Blink song. We didn't know [the radio station was] saying that on the air, but it created kind of general confusion for the Epicenter show. Then [the Fuse show] is a totally separate announcement and 10 times more important than anything else that could happen today.
You mentioned Blink don't have any new songs, but when we talked last year, you guys had told me about “The Night The Moon Was Gone,” which later became “Up All Night.” How many more songs are there that are in various states of completion, and when can we expect to hear at least a snippet?
Hopefully soon. When Blink first started reforming, we got in the studio and started putting ideas down for many songs. “Up All Night” is definitely the one song that is furthest along. I would say it’s fairly near completion, but we haven't had a chance to sit down and finish recording it. So when we get in the studio and start writing a bunch of new stuff, we're going to figure out which is the best song to release first. It’s not like we're holding anything back from anybody. We just want the first thing we put out there to be great, and it might end up being that song.
Last year, in the wake of the reunion tour, the excitement was really high for new Blink material. But people have kind of pulled back a little bit because you guys have been away for a number of months this year. Are you worried that people have cooled a little bit on new Blink material? How do you hype up your fanbase again?
I think we’re going to continue doing what we're doing. For me personally, I wanted to get back in the studio many months ago, and Tom [DeLonge] wanted to record [Angels & Airwaves’ Love], and that took longer than he anticipated. He toured on it and now that he's done, we're jumping in with both feet and continuing with recording. We're very fortunate in the fact that our fans are incredibly supportive, and hopefully, we’ll make it worth the wait for them because it’s been a long time. I get that. We’re taking the rest of the year to record an album.
Do you expect the album to be out in 2011?
Here's the deal: We're trying to finish it in 2010. We're not going to put the album out until we feel it’s a great album. We're not going to rush something that sucks, and we're not going to take forever to put out something we don't love. We're going into the studio with the attitude that we're going to work hard on this album and release something as soon as we can. If it takes three months, that’s fine. If it takes six months, it takes six months. We're going to keep going until it’s ready. We're working with a soft, soft goal where we're working as hard as we can to make sure it’s great and that we can put it out as soon as possible.
Are you worried that by not giving yourself an end date, you might nitpick the songs into oblivion?
Yeah, and that’s what we did on [2003’s Blink-182]. We took as long as we wanted to, and nitpicked and looked over a bunch of stuff. Because we spent so much time experimenting on that album, I think we know what works and what doesn’t. So hopefully, this process will go quicker than the last. I loved the process of recording our last record.
When you say what works and what doesn't, what are some things you think didn't work on the last record?
Well, we just tried every idea that we had. Some things worked on some songs and then we'd use them in other songs. I wouldn't say that there’s patently a “this doesn't work” thing. I think we learned just trusting your gut from the beginning is the most important thing. On the last record, we would write a song and we would take it a certain direction, then second-guess it purposefully. Then we’d change everything around and then nine times out of 10, we'd come back to the original idea. So I think the lesson we took away from that was, experiment all the time and always trust your gut.
A lot of your back catalog is being issued on vinyl for the first time this year. Is that something that's really important to you?
I love vinyl, and I think that one thing totally missing from music nowadays is the collectability of things. When I used to go record shopping, I would find a 7-inch import single from the Cure, and that was a big deal. It was a big deal to have the actual object and to see the artwork. Because of the internet and music being so accessible, in a matter of hours you can own every single song in an artist’s catalog. The collectability of the actual object of music is getting lost, but I think people are rediscovering the joy of that through vinyl. There's definitely a joy of looking at a 12-inch album sleeve that you don't get on an MP3. I think album artwork is kind of getting lost in how digital everything is now. A lot of thought goes into album artwork and which photos are used and getting an artist to do something amazing for an album. That should be as important of a component of the experience as the actual music.
So is it safe to say that no matter when the new record is done, it’ll come out on vinyl?
Yes, it’s safe to say that. alt