After scorching the pop world with the multiplatinum success of 1999's Enema of the State, Blink-182's goal now is to make the planet safe for punk rock again with the June 12 release of its next album, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.
"We definitely knew we wanted the record to sound harder," says bassist Mark Hoppus. "We wanted it to sound a little more raw, not as polished as Enema of the State. We were listening to a lot of bands like Fugazi and Refused and all these bands that are super, super heavy, with heavy guitars, and a little groovier. Those are the kinds of songs we ended up writing for this record."
Hoppus says that while he and bandmates Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker found the massive success of Enema to be rewarding, they also worried that it cost Blink-182 a certain measure of street-level credibility that the trio had enjoyed up until that point.
"We were not liking how our band was being perceived as this mainstream pretty band or whatever," he says. "When I started seeing weird shit in stores like pencils and notepads and shit like that, I was like, 'Oh my God, what the hell is going on?' That was pretty much the wake-up call. Now it's really time to make sure people realize what Blink-182 really is."
That's why, in addition to deeper fare such as "Anthem Part Two" and "Stay Together For the Kids," Take Off Your Pants and Jacket — co-produced by the band and Jerry Finn — is also outfitted with hidden "joke songs," with titles like "When You Fucked Grandpa," "Mother's Day," and "Hump a Dog."
"They're all pretty bad," Hoppus notes. "But we welcome the trouble. We don't really care about stuff like that. It's more important to us that kids listen to it and have a good time. I'm not worried that people are upset because we say a few bad words on our CD. A joke isn't going to cause the world to fall apart."