Tom DeLonge has always been a vital member of Blink-182, a key part of what makes the band tick.
Sadly, though, a cloud remains over the guitarist's involvement. Increasing devotion to his own Angels & Airwaves project seemed to pull him away from Blink, with the remaining duo recruiting Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba as a replacement.
Clash spoke to the guitarist just before the row blew up, and - due to a slight technical fault with our rusty Dictaphone - the audio has only just been uncovered.
"Well, Blink is one of those things that comes and goes at first," he explains. "Everyone has so many things going on, I feel it works better when things are a little bit more loose, but not until we get started it takes a life of its own so we’ll take it casually until we all get in a room and then we get all excited and we start moving faster."
"I think that with Angels & Airways in particular, I’ve really experienced another few doors musically that I think will have profound effect on my writing and I think Blink will benefit from that. Also, I think the band will also benefit from what those guys are doing - those guys are always doing a number of different things as well. I like the idea that we can go off and learn shit and come back and see how it helps."
Remarks shrouded in a certain poignancy by recent ruptures within the band, Tom DeLonge is now concentrating on Angels & Airwaves. Part of a wider, multi-disciplinary project, the band's new album 'The Dream Walker' is a fascinating, exploratory work which explodes notions about the type of music DeLonge could and should make.
"We have a company that was set up as a record label, a book publisher, and a film studio," he states. "We have the ability to do something really special that’s cohesive. If we ever get the chance to do it in the way that I envision, I think we can do something that is fantastically futuristic, esoteric and intriguing. I just don’t want to do the usual with this band and I understand that we are a small band. But these projects aren’t a product of the band. These are projects that live on their own- the band is just doing the musical side of it. And so hopefully it will all come together in the way that I am hoping and I am just excited for people to enjoy it."
For this new instalment of Foundations the singer has picked records that inspire him, that fire him up before going out onstage. "In my own time at home I listen to really obscure weird shit - you know, I’m kind of a Pandora guy where I like anything I don’t know," he says. "I listen to these records before I play shows. For an hour or two hours before I go out on stage I listen to these records."
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Descendants - 'Liveage!'
Well, I would say the first album would be the Descendants with 'Liveage!', which is a live record but it has all the hits on there. That was one of the first records that really threw me into the music scene and into the punk rock scene - that was a very important record and that’s when I said I wanted to do this for a living.
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Fugazi - '13 Songs'
Another record I would say would be Fugazi with '13 Songs'. It was the first punk band that were really good at their instruments and they seemed like they sounded totally different from the traditional punk rock stuff but it was so cool and so dynamic.
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U2 - 'October'
A third record would be U2's 'October'. It was my first favourite band when I was in 5th grade, it was a punk band that had much larger aspirations but really, really clicked with me as a person before I got into music.
Stiff Little Fingers - 'Go For It'
A fourth record for me would be, I would say, Stiff Little Fingers and 'Go For It'. Stiff Little Fingers was one of the first bands that I heard in the 7th grade - alongside the Descendants - that made me love punk rock music. I listened to that record over and over again - it was one of their newer ones, but I just really liked it. I was young, it was the first one I heard and it got me crazy.
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The Cure - 'The Head On The Door'
The last one that I would mention, that was a foundational record - for me - I would have to say The Cure and probably 'The Head On The Door'. It's a pretty awesome record. All their records are good but it's kind of like a punk rock turned goth type atmosphere and I really loved it. There are so many more records... but mostly punk rock stuff and if I have a little bit of the Cure and U2 then I’m golden.
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Angels & Airwaves' new album 'The Dream Walker' is out now.