Blink-182 are back in the news as details of their new album continue to emerge. Even today, they arguably remain the most important and widely-followed pop-punk group, which is quite a feat when one considers the quality of 2016's California. This was their seventh studio album but the very first without co-frontman Tom DeLonge. Of course, he was one of the key components of the California three-piece and fans reasonably assumed that the band would call it a day once he had left. Yet, it turns out he was to be replaced by Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio, who features on California.
To be brutally honest, the band's most recent record is their worst by quite a significant margin. Some of the material is frankly embarrassing, and after the album boasts a promising start, it gradually declines to become something bordering on the unbearable. Some considered it a welcome return to form, which is a little baffling when one considers 2011's Neighbourhoods was more satisfying from every angle.
Blink-182's second album without DeLonge is on the way, but what is he up to while the others are working on the band he helped pioneer? Many fans will answer such a question with the simple answer of “he's looking for aliens“, which many found an absurd reason to leave such a successful band.
NME reports that in a recent interview his organisation To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, the former member addressed his departure from the band. “The last show I played was in front of 100,000 people,” he says. “...they wonder why I’m not doing that now and I’ll say because this is the one moment in my life where I’ll be able to look back as an old man and say, ‘Oh my god, I was a part of the team that changed the world.’”
It seems that DeLonge felt that Blink-182 were no longer making that impact; that the band was no longer a great help or contribution. The group continue to touch the hearts of their fans, but DeLonge's ambitions stemmed much higher than this sort of service. His current preoccupation is with his organisation's work studying UFO's and extraterrestrial life. Although doubt has been expressed regarding the organisation's operations due to financial concerns, the former singer seems dead set on continuing to explore life's mysteries.
Whenever he is in the news discussing such matters, it always seems to reflect on Blink-182. His shadow still looms over the group despite his considerable distance from it. Do we still listen to their more recent material with DeLonge in mind? It seems that this is the case and the band may never escape his absence. So many fans still express their demand for him to return, but as the years pass it looks like this will never be the case.
Whether or not the band's forthcoming record will be an improvement on their last remains to be seen, but when it drops, we'll still be talking about DeLonge, as if he still plays a crucial role even from such a distance. In this sense, he will always be a member.
In other news, have Muse suffered as a result of artistic grandeur?