Has Tom DeLonge has left blink-182, the Poway-bred trio he co-founded more than 20 years ago and helped transform into one of the world’s most popular and commercially successful punk-pop bands?
It depends who you ask. On Monday morning, blink’s other two members --bassist-singer Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker -- issued a statement Monday announcing that DeLonge had left the band. Early Monday afternoon, Delonge indicated that he had not.
Hopus and Barker started things by announcing blink would headline the 8th annual MUSINK Festival in Orange County in March, with Alkaline Trio guitarist Matt Skiba filing in for DeLonge.
In their joint statement, Hoppus and Barker said: “We were all set to play this (MUSINK) festival and record a new album and Tom kept putting it off without reason. A week before we were scheduled to go in to the studio we got an email from his manager explaining that he didn’t want to participate in any Blink-182 projects indefinitely, but would rather work on his other non-musical endeavors.”
How long “indefinitely” means is unclear. But Hoppus and Barker made it clear they would continue, at least for the MUSINK festival, without Delonge. “No hard feelings, but the show must go on.”
Then came a statement DeLonge posted on Instagram Monday afternoon. It reads:
To all our fans I never quit the band. I actually was on a phone call about a blink-182 event for New York City at the time all these weird press releases started coming in. Apparently,those releases were ‘sanctioned’ by the band. We are dysfunctional, yes. But, Christ... #awkward #babybackribs
In December, DeLonge released the latest album by Angels & Airwaves, the band he co-leads with Nine Inch Nails drummer Ilan Rubin. In an in-depth interview with U-T San Diego, he gave no indication he had any intention of leaving blink and talked about how plans for the band to complete a new album for release this year.
This is not the first time blink has, well, blinked. The group broke up in 2005, at DeLonge’s prompting, then regrouped in 2009. We’ll keep you updated for new developments about today’s conflicting reports.
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