Amidst the 37 and a half performances at last night’s Grammy Awards, one event stood head and shoulders above the rest – the announcement by Mssrs. Hoppus, DeLonge, and Barker that after four years of “indefinite hiatus,” Blink-182 was finally getting back together. For those of you who have taken your graduation from high school to heart and “moved on” with your lives, a brief Blink refresher: they were your favorite pop-punk band ever. From 1999 (when their quadruple platinum Enema of the State made it the teenage-iest summer ever) to maybe 2002, they were top of the heap for mildly angsty music dressed in Vans and non-threatening spikes. They were your late 90’s, much peppier and more toilet humor-oriented Nirvana. (But nowhere near as talented DON’T SHOOT ME.) They were your suburban rebellion. My suburban rebellion? I said I DON’T WANT DINNER TONIGHT, MOM.
If what I’ve written thus far looks like a middle school girl’s journal entry… well, that’s just what I feel. My brain is keenly aware of the fact that Blink-182 was never that good; that their “punk cred” is as much a marketing gimmick as it is something authentic. But just like I’ll never be able to view Star Wars through clear eyes, so go my ears with Blink. Objectivity? THIS IS MY ADOLESCENCE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT!
I turned 13 in April of 1999 (you thought I was 42, didn’t you?) and very quickly worked to assemble my new teenage identity. Sports Illustrated for Kids subscription? OUT. Religious afternoon viewings of TRL? IN. I hadn’t been much for new music before – my favorite albums were the soundtracks to Little Shop of Horrors and A Night at the Roxbury (really) – but if everyone else was watching and listening, then so was I. Looking back, it really was something of a big year in music. The debut of Britney Spears. Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” Korn. MTV was the focal point of every kid’s social life. Do they even make music videos anymore?
Everyday after school I would obediently sit through the countdown, but always ached for a group to really call my own. The Offspring were too spastic. Limp Bizkit, at the time, sort of scared the shit out of me. Then Blink-182 came. From the moment I laid eyes on those… well, three naked guys, I knew I had found the band that would be my voice. My anthem. I mean, tell me “this state looks down on sodomy” isn’t some kind of poetry.
It was DJ Steve, funnily enough, who offered my first real introduction to the band. If you can’t tell from the numerous posts he’s written under the “Muzak” category, Steve is cuckoo for new music. In addition to being an accomplished musician in his own right, the guy is knowledgeable as they come (he wears GLASSES, people) and always happy to educate. So it was in 7th grade (though begrudgingly, I think – he was definitely sour about me infringing on his musical “turf”) when I asked him what Blink-182 albums I should buy. You said you wanted a dramatic re-enactment? Okay!
DJ Steve: You probably shouldn’t bother with their earlier stuff, you know? I’m not sure you’re, like, ready for it.
Henning: Oh my God, dude, who made you the ruler of all music? I just like them. I’m allowed to listen to Blink.
DJ Steve: Don’t call them ‘Blink.’ You didn’t even know who they were until like three days ago.
Henning: Oh my God, shut up! You just make up these stupid rules to make me feel uncool. I’ll ask Joey.
DJ Steve: He won’t help, either, because he’s a real fan, too. Do you even know what the Warped Tour is?
Henning: Oh my God, do you even know what “I hate you” is? You’re a jerk. I know so much more about Star Wars than you, Steve.
DJ Steve: What?
Henning: Don’t pretend like you didn’t hear me.
DJ Steve: …
Henning: Can we go to your house today? My brother has to go to the dentist or something.
We will never, of course, be as handsome as we were back then (and at quarter age know it’s all Metamucil and Dr. Scholl’s gel pads from here), but we’ll always have memories of our teenage years, however clouded, and those experiences that helped shape us into the delinquents we are today. Looks like we’ll always have Blink-182, too. Here’s to a changing cultural landscape!