When the Reading & Leeds Festival line-up was announced and Blink 182 were the first headliners to be unveiled, a lot of people were grateful that it was a rock-oriented band even if they are a reformed dinosaur rather than anything fresh. Tomas Doyle, however, didn’t take any positives from it at all and so he mounted his soapbox once again…
I fucking hate Blink 182. “Oh how can you hate Blink 182, Tom? They’re a really big and important band and that.” First things first, loads of stuff is big, that doesn’t make it important. Michael McIntyre is big but at an artistic level he is colossally unimportant and colossally unfunny – just like Blink 182.
The announcement that the idiotic three-piece will headlining next years Reading and Leeds Festivals has once again brought loads of people out of the woodwork who think that three men in their late 30s (Mark Hoppus is 41!) who still tell dick jokes on stage are the best thing ever. It is important to realise that when people discuss how punk used to be an important, socially progressive counter culture and that nowadays it is basically a bunch of middle class brats calling each other ‘fags’ on the internet what they are talking about is Blink 182’s influence. Before the ‘hilariously’ titled Enema Of The State came lumbering into view just before the turn of the millennium, the funny punk band were NOFX. You remember NOFX, right – the politically aware, dryly satirical, take-a-pop-at-the-social-elite skatepunks who shit incredible tunes for breakfast? Well, they got superseded by the American Pie soundtrack. Great.
As soon as ‘What’s My Age Again’ hit, it wasn’t about being aware any more, it wasn’t about being an outsider and it certainly wasn’t about trying to make a difference in any palpable way. It was about dumb fuck fratboy-isms, casual misogyny and really, really bad vocals. The negative influence of Blink 182 on punk culture in the mainstream cannot be underestimated. Whenever the kids at school who wouldn’t know ‘When I Come Around’ from ‘Number of the Beast’ started push moshing to ‘All The Small Things’ at the local disco you could feel the notion of music having any message crumbling before your eyes.
When people liken Blink 182 to New Found Glory or The Offspring or – worst of all – Green Day, I shudder the deepest of shudders. For all their faults in recent years (and there are plenty of ’em) Billie Joe and co have never sold themselves on childishness for childishnesses sake. They sold themselves on brilliant songs with a bite in their edge and a glint in their eye. Contrast that with an album called Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and what you’ve basically got is Bill Hicks versus Andrew Dice Clay. It is barely even a contest.
Aside from their no brow, brain-rotting humour and counter-culturally corrosive teenage boy posturing, Blink’s musical output was also critically lacking. That at some point during the recording of ‘I Miss You’ someone didn’t turn to Tom DeLonge and ask, “Bro, what the fuck is up with your voice?!” is baffling beyond all logical thought. The moment he arrives, mewling and whining in the second verse of that song is the aural equivalent of walking in on your parents engaged in a game of hide the saveloy. Distressing and emotionally scarring, you just want to run away from it and hope the pain eventually fades.
So whether we’re talking about their sonically sub-par ‘serious’ phase, or their utterly see through LOLOL phase, Blink 182 are a band I love to hate. Their indelible mark on late ’90s and early ’00s popular punk culture was not a positive one, it entrenched the genre with sexism and a gleeful idiocy that is the antithesis of what punk rock ought to stand for. They sit as traitors to a cause who climbed to the top by effectively burning a lot of what went before them. Some people would try and argue that a generation of bands were influenced by Blink’s success, but the reality is that all the best poppy punk of the noughties, from MCR to Fall Out Boy, finds its lineage in more disparate routes than that. One can only assume that the people who were most directly affected by Blink didn’t have the gumption to pick up guitars themselves because they were too busy bog rolling houses.
Not only are Blink 182 not a good band but they are band who deserve your contempt. Fuck them and the horse they rode in on.