If you’re here for a sensational story about crazy conspiracies and alien sex, turn back now. Actually, don’t. You need to read this.
Over the past couple years, the internet has produced plenty of “what the fuck?” headlines about Blink-182’s founding frontman Tom DeLonge. With Ernie Ball’s latest episode in its Pursuit Of Tone series, you will not see the same DeLonge.
He isn’t some whack-job musician spouting nonsense for your viewing pleasure. Instead, he comes off as a thoughtful artist telling the story of his career through his eyes. Apparently, that’s why he decided to do this thing in the first place.
In an exclusive comment for Alternative Press on why he ended up doing the film, he expresses his desire to set the record straight once and for all. “I'm hoping this will answer most, if not all, of the questions for those who are looking for answers. It’s easy to judge and make your own conclusion from headlines and quotes taken out of context,” he shares. “This is the full story of my career from start to finish. It feels good to be able to put it out there in a comprehensive way.”
The 90-minute episode offers a trip into DeLonge’s history, from his hooligan beginnings as a skate punk in San Diego to his current venture, To The Stars Inc., a multimedia company that covers everything from music to film to children’s books to clothing and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
Of course, what comes between that is Blink-182, and DeLonge covers that, too (along with Box Car Racer and Angels and Airwaves). At one point, he opens up about the first time he left Blink and went on to start Box Car Racer. He discusses his doubts about whether he was capable of creating good music without Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker and how he wanted to challenge himself in that way. “It wasn’t because I wasn’t satisfied or I always wanted to be some solo artist. I like to challenge myself—mentally, artistically,” he says in the film. “I’m just wired that way, and that journey is way more important to me than fame or money or anything.”
Throughout the documentary, DeLonge spends a lot of time discussing specific Blink songs, the writing process behind them and why they were important to the band. One of those songs is “Stay Together For The Kids,” off of 2001's Take Off Your Pants And Jacket, which is about his parents’ divorce.
“I think we hit on something that sounded like adolescents lashing out over being caught in the middle of a storm that they had no control of,” DeLonge shares in the clip, which premiered exclusively through AltPress.
At another point, DeLonge opens up about his own shortcomings when it comes to dealing with how he is perceived by fans and in the media. “I probably should spend more time communicating what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, but I don’t,” he says. “So I think a lot of people come up with these scenarios that I don’t care about Blink or I don’t care about being a musician or, you know, I’m crazy…”
He even comments on the kids who say he has abandoned the punk scene. “Growing up in the punk scene, being a part of the heritage of the punk scene and being such a big part of that word, you’ll always get the kids who say, ‘Oh, well, you left us’ or ‘You’re not punk anymore’ or ‘This is punk and that’s punk’ and it’s something only you as an adult that went through it can look back and say, ‘Look, your passion is correct, but your definition is wrong.’”
With this documentary, we see a different side of Tom DeLonge. He isn’t the dick joke-telling frontman of the 2000s or the conspiracy-crazed lunatic we’ve been conditioned to imagine.
Throughout the years, Blink fans have weathered some tumultuous Tweets and interviews that put the band’s interpersonal struggles in the spotlight. Those moments were perhaps triggered by a specific quote in a heated moment, but they became a part of Blink’s history. Imagine if every argument you had with a friend was dissected and the consensus was that you hated your best friend.
This film captures how Tom DeLonge feels about Blink-182 now, and he isn’t angry or bitter. He talks about Hoppus and Barker with respect and admiration, while reflecting on his career with awe and appreciation, looking to the future as a new challenge. Is he a little eccentric? Yeah, of course. Hasn’t he always been? Would Blink’s story sound a little different coming from Mark or Travis? Sure, but what this film gives fans is a look at Tom DeLonge’s life and where he came from—and a huge part of that is Blink-182.
Ernie Ball: Pursuit Of Tone Featuring Tom Delonge premieres at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Aug. 19 exclusively on Audience Music (Directv ch.239 and U-Verse ch.1114). To see more clips and past episodes—including Social Distortion’s Mike Ness—visit Ernie Ball's website.
Watch a new trailer and the original below: