Blink-182's Tom DeLonge Feud Still Affects Former Emo Teens Even Now Because Of The Messy Circumstances
It has been a long time since I rushed to the store to get my hands on the latest Blink-182 CD, possibly in conjunction with some new My Chemical Romance or Taking Back Sunday. That phase in your musical and fashion life was popularly known as the "emo teen phrase" — having almost nothing to do with the actual emotional-punk movement. Mostly, you wore a lot of black in your clothes and on your nails, styled your hair in bright colors using a flat-iron to swoop it into your eyes, and listened to, like, the same eight emo bands on repeat. The emo music genre just kind of understood us moody teenagers as we had always wanted to be understood, thus becoming a mainstream success. So when we hear that Blink-182 and former member Tom DeLonge are feuding with one another, that unsure, insecure, moody teenage version of ourselves comes back with a vengeance, shocking us with how quickly invested we can get in the conflict. Didn't we get past this?
On Tuesday, after a back and forth that consisted of Blink-182 announcing that DeLonge was out of the band, DeLonge denying that he had ever quit the band, and Blink giving a Rolling Stone interview that insisted his departure had been a long time in coming, the next wave of the feud bled onto Facebook. DeLonge wrote a lengthy note detailing his own take on what caused the ultimate rift in the band, culminating in an explanation that the latest version of his contract with Blink-182 stood in direct conflict to several contracts he already had going from the time it had taken the band to sort out where they wanted to go in their future. According to him, "there’s three of us – we’re all accountable. At the end of the day, we’ve always been dysfunctional, which is why we haven’t talked in months. But we never did. In the eight years we have been together it has always been that way."
I'm not saying that the conflict will suddenly inspire people to dusty off their Blink-182 CDs, or their skinny jeans, or all that intense eyeliner magic. Hearing that a band we used to follow when we were teens is breaking up in the messiest of ways doesn't really inspire one to become a fan again. As my moody teenage self would have said, hearing their music again would just be pre-packaged Lies From The Establishment. But former Blink-182 fans learned all those lyrics, learned the names of band members Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Tom DeLonge, and probably congratulated them on being one of the few bands from that phase in our lives who were still gleefully making music. Seeing people that you once looked up to, who you've probably seen in concert at least once, and whose words you know by heart squabble like Kindergarteners fighting over the last graham cracker is rough, no matter who's fault it is.
There are some fans who outright refuse to take sides, some fans who are Team Blink-182, and some fans who are Team DeLonge. Then there are us, the former fans, vaguely interested but trying not to care too much because there are years separating us from our last Blink-182 album purchase and, well, haven't we outgrown this? Tattooed rockers with swooping hair are, like, so early '00s. And yet, every time there's another twist in the story, we find ourselves skimming the newest update and shaking our heads that things would turn out like this a decade later. For many people, Blink-182 was one of many bands that carried us through first love, fights with our parents, asserting our independence, and the entire generation experience of being a teenager. Along with our friends, they raised us when we refused to keep going to our parents.
So, here's hoping that this conflict between band members resolves itself fairly quickly after this. Hoppus and Barker have told their side of the story. As of Tuesday, DeLonge has told his side of the story. It's now in the hands of the fans and the public to decide what to believe, whose side to be on, and how much they care about the music we're sure to get as a result of this feud. I can't say what the future will hold for either DeLonge or for the band, but I can at least say that the he-said he-said mud slinging doesn't help either side grow or move past this. It doesn't help the current fans, and it doesn't help the former fans who are basically watching their musical parents get a messy divorce. Let's all make like Elsa and let it go. I'm not a moody teenager anymore.
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