Hate Is The New Love: Mark Hoppus vs. Tom DeLonge

So, I’ve held off on doing one of these as I wanted to do a non-rap ‘beef’, but couldn’t think of one. I’m officially an idiot, as it was this very fallout that gave me some of my favourite music ever.

Seeing as Blink are back in the headlines for being confirmed as Reading/Leeds headliners, it seems even more appropriate to take this week’s HITNL in that direction. Amidst the joy of their reunion, many people don’t/didn’t really know the ugly history of the years between the Blink break-up and reunion. Click on for a little lot of info, and of course some tracks to enjoy from the fallout.

A lot of the causes of this breakup are quite subjective to each perspective, but there are some pretty familiar themes throughout. Tensions are believed to have begun when Tom created his side project Box Car Racer whilst still with Blink. Apparently Mark wasn’t best pleased with this, and whilst he’s generally believed to have been OK with it in the end, it’s hard to deny that this tension probably wasn’t still simmering a little.

Then, on a tour of the UK, allegedly Mark saw an email to Tom from the record label asking him if he’d like to do a solo album. Despite Tom declining, this supposedly caused fights and friction, and led to Tom asking for a break after the tour they were on. (Keep in mind that last part is from Tom’s perspective, and was never confirmed by Mark). It’s at this point that Mark and Travis Barker decide to put together +44, a spinoff project, and supposedly did not inform Tom. Whether this was a backlash to Tom’s break requests or decided before this is unclear.

So, eventually the dissention becomes too much and they agree to a break from touring. Tom states he needs to spend time with his family, and will pick up touring again in a few months. Not long after, the Asian tsunami happened, and Mark agreed on behalf of Blink to play some benefit concerts. This is where the story gets a little subjective: Tom states he was given very little notice, but agrees as it’s a worthy cause. Supposedly Mark and Travis then were giving him grief for wanting a break and such, and this doesn’t sit too well. The other side of the story suggests Tom was being wholly uncooperative with regard to doing these concerts, and his manager called Travis/Mark up to tell them that he wasn’t doing it.

The next day, the band’s manager informs Mark and Travis that Tom has left Blink. Not Tom himself, but his manager. Tom also changed his phone number, and simply cut off from the others. This much is agreed.

So cue the fallout: Tom forms Angels & Airwaves, goes very public with the breakup/what happened, whilst the other two stay absolutely silent for 18 months until they release the +44 album. Tom’s debut effort with Angels was a huge success, and the final track Start The Machine was viewed by many as a direct address to the Blink breakup (the first verse at least). Whilst it was never confirmed, lyrics such as ‘I grew so close to all the thoughts I had to leave forever‘, and ‘I left the chill and voice of screams and kids and ran for shelter‘ are fairly clear indicators of the subject topic.

Zip forward 6 months and we get the +44 album, and of all the songs on the +44 album that were rumoured/believed to be aimed at the breakup, only No, It Isn’t was confirmed as such. It’s a scathing, dark and emotional track, with an insightful view into just how Mark felt. Aside from the breakup, the track is actually fantastic, and definitely one of my favourites ever. It will appeal to almost anyone of any genre, and should really be checked out. The metaphors, symbolism and descriptors Mark uses throughout are incredible, and he does a great job of painting the emotional images from the prior 18 months. It’s difficult to pick out quotes on this one, as it’s all totally aimed at the situation.

From that point, the reconciliation never looked likely. However, Travis Barker’s unfortunate plane crash changed things a little, and from there on the three of them restarted their friendship, and have never looked back. It’s all one big happy family now, and it’s nice to see. However, it’s undeniable that the breakup period brought out the best in them all musically, and I hope that influences and inspires their future work.

+44-No, It Isn’t

Angels & Airwaves-Start The Machine

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