From 1992 to 1999, Blink-182 transformed from unserious high schoolers playing sloppily recorded punk songs in graffiti-smeared SoCal clubs to bona fide pop superstars. By the time their constant touring in support of 1999’s “Enema of the State” wound down in mid-2001, it’s safe to say these guys had fulfilled their wildest teenage fantasies and then some.
But they were also growing up fast, despite lyrics in songs like “Dammit” and “What’s My Age Again?” suggesting they never would. As evidenced by an interview with MTV, Tom DeLonge, in particular, began to feel restless playing songs about teenage shenanigans in his mid-twenties. Feeling he’d gone about as far as he cared to on the back of irreverent toilet humor, he struck out on a more mature side project called Box Car Racer. And, understandably, not wanting to pay for a studio drummer when he had an equally restless drumming master with an identical touring schedule, he tapped Blink stickman Travis Barker to join him.
Also understandably, though, Mark Hoppus felt left out and hurt that DeLonge and Barker were off writing songs without him. “It was really hard for Mark,” DeLonge said. “He thought it was really lame Travis and I went and did that.” But he also notes that he didn’t know about +44, Hoppus and Barker’s own side project they formed years later, until months afterward. Clearly, the divisions that started here would only get worse.