Released December 18, 2012
18 min, 59 sec
If one were to trust the words of Tom DeLonge (and that is, to be fair, a risky proposition), then the latest destruction of blink-182 can be traced back to Dogs Eating Dogs.
The band had been doing well following the success of Neighborhoods and the subsequent tours behind the album. In the public eye, blink’s reunion meant good times for them in the future, even though the album had taken a while to release. Cracks had been showing a bit during the recording sessions, with DeLonge, Hoppus, and Barker recording separately, but the band seemed to be back to their old ways during the tour, jovial, upbeat, and, most of all, cooperative and comfortable with each other.
A year later, the band became a wholly independent entity, and, to celebrate, and begin their next project, blink-182 quickly recorded and released the Dogs Eating Dogs EP. Similar in sound to Neighborhoods, but with twinges of something more around the edges, the EP promised further prosperity for the band, and a promise that their reunion would not be a one-and-done deal. However, under the surface, blink-182 began to face a series of events that would eventually bring about the same result as what had happened to them a decade prior: DeLonge’s departure, and the band’s future put in jeopardy yet again.
But, before that, the EP.
Dogs Eating Dogs is an exciting little five-pack of songs. Neighborhoods introduced a wider electronic influence into the band’s music, brought on from both Angels & Airwaves’s and +44’s experimentation with electronic elements in their music. Though blink-182’s core was still intact, it was clear that the band was taking pieces of both post-breakup projects and combining them on this album, though not always in a truly meshed-together manner. “Wishing Well,” for instance, is almost exclusively an AVA song, while “Heart’s All Gone” feels like +44. What blink did for Dogs Eating Dogs is blend their sound together a little cleaner, making the electronic elements a little more unique to blink, and keeping DeLonge and Hoppus on the same tracks, to drive home that this was not a solo project for either of them. The result – even with a weird Yelawolf feature on the closing track – is a true blink-182 record, with a huge amount of promise for the band’s future attached to it.
A future that, as it turns out, would never see fulfillment.
blink-182’s January 2015 implosion is centered around DeLonge, much as it had been almost exactly ten years prior, when the band missed a Music for Relief concert, and later revealed that DeLonge had quit the band amidst sudden desires to tour far less and spend more time with his family. This time, Hoppus and Barker stated that DeLonge was simply being completely uncooperative, refusing to participate in recording sessions in any meaningful manner. A record deal was on the table, studio time was booked, and DeLonge, according to them, pulled out. DeLonge fired back the next day with several biting indictments regarding the band’s lack of internal cooperation, much of it being sourced to the brief recording period of Dogs Eating Dogs.
The timeline: in October 2012, blink-182 officially left Interscope Records and became an independent entity. To test this out, and see how sustainable it was, the band decided to write and record an EP and self-release it, to see how well their own infrastructure worked. Though, from an outside viewpoint, everything went great – the EP sounded incredible, the rollout worked fine, and the band got tons of buzz from it – internally, DeLonge claimed that, of the two months between the band’s independence and the EP’s release in December, Hoppus and Barker worked on the EP for 11 days, compared to DeLonge’s “two months” of work. According to DeLonge, this led to a lack of faith for him, which eventually trickled down to his forced departure in January.
Now, the public will probably never know which parts of each members’ stories are true and which parts are falsified or embellished to make the given party look good. Perhaps even the band isn’t sure, because a lack of communication seemed to be the connecting thread between every story in the whole debacle. But what’s clear to me is that blink-182 was not a band when it reformed in 2009. The theatrics of their reunion hid the fact that this was two business ventures joining together under a banner they once worked in, and the connection was messy and difficult. DeLonge has made it clear through his various actions since 2009 that Angels & Airwaves is his priority, and blink-182 is there to be fun. For Hoppus and Barker, that wasn’t enough. There was an inherent disconnect between the two parties in 2009, and that disconnect meant that the reunion could never really last. A disjointed, confused (if solid) album and an improved EP were all that the reunion could take before it unraveled once more.
And you know what? That sucks. It really does. I became a fan of blink through Angels & Airwaves, and when they reunited, I was excited, because that meant that I could experience, in real-time, the thrill of a new blink-182 album. The fact that it was never built to last is upsetting, but it also seemed inevitable in retrospect. Some bands simply can’t reconcile once they’ve drifted apart, and blink-182 ended up being one of those bands.
As for Hoppus and Barker deciding to, for now, hold the corpse of blink-182 in front of them and continue masquerading as a functional band, I’m not really about that. +44 existed for a reason. Dig that one back up instead.
Hey, at least we got to experience blink-182 feat. Yelawolf. What a time to be alive.