10 Reasons Blink-182 Are Better Off Without Tom DeLonge

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With California leaking over the weekend, we now have our first Blink-182 album without Tom DeLonge, who left the band in early 2015 and was replaced by Matt Skiba. While DeLonge is a very talented songwriter and was an integral part of Blink-182’s success, this article is about why Blink-182 are better off without DeLonge in 2016, and why Tom himself is better off without Blink-182.

1. California sounds more cohesive than Neighborhoods

While Neighborhoods had some very underrated songs that showed off Blink-182’s more mature side, including “Up All Night,” “After Midnight,” “Ghosts on the Dance Floor,” and “MH 4.18.2011,” it sounds like an album that could have easily been right up there with Blink-182’s strongest work if they had worked together more on honing the songs. This was a challenge, as DeLonge recorded his parts separately from Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus, and the disconnect was obvious with the DeLonge and Hoppus songs sounding like they came off of different records at times.

California is a much tighter album because it sounds like a band in a studio focused on writing good songs. Most of the album’s tracks came together in a month, they didn’t overthink it, and the result is a cohesive record full of nonstop hooks.

2. Tom isn’t really missed on California

While it’s easy to imagine Tom singing the choruses to “Bored to Death” and “Home Is Such A Lonely Place,” I didn’t find myself missing him while listening to California. This is immediately established on album opener “Cynical,” where Matt Skiba delivers one of Blink-182’s most memorable refrains: ‘What’s the point of saying sorry now/not sorry you’re not sorry.’

Mark Hoppus also shines on California after taking a backseat on Neighborhoods and Dogs Eating Dogs, turning in his most inspired performances in a long time on songs like “Bored to Death,” “She’s Out Of Her Mind,” and “Left Alone.” Hoppus knows how to keep things simple and not over-complicate songs. It’s pop punk, not everything needs to be a 7 minute epic with an instrumental interlude.

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3. Matt Skiba is the perfect replacement

To compare Blink-182’s situation to Stone Temple Pilots, STP’s 2013 hiring of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington ultimately failed because Linkin Park and Stone Temple Pilots’ styles were completely different, despite Bennington’s STP fandom. They were bands from completely different eras with little in common musically and songwriting wise. The fanbases had little to no cross section because of this, and the little music they released (the 5-song EP High Rise) didn’t have the power to legitimize the lineup. Bennington’s Linkin Park fans for the most part didn’t care, and many STP fans saw Bennington as a poser, despite his very respectable live performances.

Matt Skiba’s band Alkaline Trio is actually a contemporary of Blink-182, they both come from the same genre so the fanbase has been more accepting. While it’s too early to tell if Blink-182 with Skiba could be pop punk’s equivalent to Van Hagar, the partnership is off to a great start. Skiba’s guitar playing, vocals, melodies, and lyrics fit onto California seamlessly.

4. Tom wasn’t as into live performances

Tom’s lack of passion for Blink-182 became evident as the reunion reached its later years. He even wore an Angels and Airwaves shirt at just about every show on one tour. His guitar playing and vocals at times were also lackluster, his heart just didn’t seem into it every night. Since Matt Skiba joined in 2015, Blink-182 have been re-energized as a live act.

5. Tom didn’t want to record

While Blink-182 did followup 2011’s Neighborhoods with the Dogs Eating Dogs EP the following year, DeLonge continually kept pushing back the writing and recording of the band’s next studio album for 2 years. According to Hoppus and Barker, he demanded a record label contract, but balked at the terms when it seemed like an agreement was set in stone. He then bailed on entering the studio in January 2015, telling his bandmates that he had no plans to do anything with Blink-182 in 2015.

6. Blink-182 could have become a nostalgia act

To followup the previous point, Tom’s lack of motivation to record had Blink-182 on the verge of becoming a nostalgia act. They had only released one studio album (and an EP) in the 5 and a half years they had been back together, and in their last 2 years of touring they had done an untitled album 10th anniversary tour, and a series of 2014 shows that weren’t backing any particular record.

7. California has classic Blink-182 songs

While California is a very polished and poppy record, it accomplishes what it set out to do. It’s an album full of made for radio songs, and they’re as catchy as anything in Blink-182’s discography. “Cynical” is on par with previous album openers, “Bored to Death” would fit right in on a Blink-182 greatest hits album, “Los Angeles” is a ready for ESPN highlight packages pop anthem, “Sober” and “She’s Out Of Her Mind” are tight pop punk songs, while “Left Alone” combines Blink-182’s best melodic and heavy elements. The lyrics aren’t anything too deep, but the simplicity is the key to this record’s success. It’s a pop punk record by dudes in their 40’s in 2016, this isn’t Dark Side of the Moon.

8. Tom is focused on his UFO research with the CIA

Tom is more passionate about researching UFO’s and aliens, and focusing on projects like Angels and Airwaves, To The Stars, and Sekret Machines.

DeLonge talked about his departure from Blink-182 in a recent interview with Mic, “Well it’s not so much about Blink. It’s about what I’m doing with my life now. When you’re an individual like me, dealing with something that’s a national security issue, and you’re being gifted with the opportunity to communicate something you’ve been passionate about your whole life — something that has the opportunity to change the world over time — being a small part of that is enormously important for my life path. But I can’t do everything. I can’t tour nine months out of the year with enough time to do the enormity of what I’m setting out to do.”

He also wrote on Instagram, “Am I currently working with people in the Government on something important? YES. Including the DOD, Intelligence and Executive Branch? Absolutely.”

He later added, “Sometimes, I would be up late at night, sending messages back-and-forth to people within the CIA and DOD, discussing the best way to position certain information within the Sekret Machines Novel, finding a better way to lay the foundation to what will be said over the course of the project. I was on the computer at midnight, talking with an Advisor about why the secrecy was so important… The answer gave great clarity to why our government builds space craft out in the desert, and far underground away from prying eyes… As many questions that there are, this will all make sense very soon.”

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9. It’s better than a breakup

If Blink-182 had broken up like they did in 2005 the first time Tom DeLonge quit, the songs would lie dormant. The argument can be made that the band could have used a different name with Matt Skiba, but it doesn’t make sense with the way DeLonge departed, and the fact that they are still performing sets full of old Blink-182 songs.

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10. Everyone involved will release more music

Tom will release more music with Angels and Airwaves, and Mark and Travis will release more music with Blink-182. Mark spent years waiting at Tom’s beck and call to write Blink-182 music, and fans will now ultimately see more music from everyone involved in Blink-182. If a reunion ever happens, it will hopefully be because Tom is excited and passionate about wanting to record and tour with Blink-182.

  • Felonious Punk

    You could have easily condensed all 10 of these reasons into one reason: Delonge is a prima donna who thinks he’s bigger than the sum of the parts of the bands he plays in.

    In Blink’s case, they’re better off without him, if anyone still cares.

  • Brad Johnny

    if you want the album you can hopefully still find it at blink182californialeak*com

  • zack

    the thing is, the new record is not better than any blink album except flyswatter. tom left at the right time. mark and matt didnt mesh like i hoped and blink 182 took a step backwards. at the end of the day it just made me melancholy about the whole situation. plus lyrically marks been getting a little non sequitur.

  • zack

    the real elephant in the room no one talks about is the fact that toms voice is destroyed. he literally cannot sing blink hits. all toms machinations are probably avoidance of that one simple fact. all good things must come to an end they gave us a good 5 classic albums

  • Daniel Saulnier

    I saw them live at Rockfest and it was extremely underwhelming, the entire crowd felt it. Skiba’s an awesome musician (better than Delonge) but he has no stage presence and his voice simply doesn’t fit with Mark’s live. There is no Blink without Tom, only those three guys can be Blink, anything else is just a cover band. If you haven’t seen them live yet, definitely check it out, but don’t have high hopes.

    • Daniel

      Na, you’re wrong. Been a fan for 15 years and I can say it’s more blink than it’s been in many years.

  • Raj

    10 reasons: 1-10 Mark Hoppus has been the driving force since Blink’s inception and also the vastly superior vocalist.

    • unicornhearts

      Yes! that’s why most of their hits are sung by Mark.

  • Chris Ross

    Ill admit it, I still listen to Blink (hate away!). They were one of my favorite bands when i was 15 and 16, and just stuck with me.

    That being said, I actually really do enjoy the new album with Skiba. Tom is not missed on it, and I really do appreciate what Skiba added.

    My worry is this: I would honestly hate for this to be the only album with Skiba on it, just to have Tom come back which would result in this album becoming a one-off, almost like the Chili Peppers album, One Hot Minute where Navarro replaced Frusciante. That album is overlooked quite a bit, and I would hate for that to happen to this album for Blink if Tom were to ever return.

    Seems they have a good thing going right now, I’d like to see them keep it up and keep Skiba as a full time permanent member.

  • Wam Meesly

    Although never much a fan myself, I have been hearing the new songs on the radio and I think they are decent. I was thinking about it and realized I have not heard much from them since their breakthrough years, until the last few weeks. From what I see on here, and on the news about Tom Delonge, it is almost certain he has a mental illness, all the signs are there. The other band members seem to have a well composed idea of their direction and looks like they are doing alright.

  • Terry Trowbridge

    I disagree. I like Tom a lot. I enjoyed California, it was a very good +44 album. Blink is Mark and Tom.

  • unicornhearts

    Never liked Tom. Not even from the start. He’s in egomaniacal pseudo-intellectual petulant teenager.