I got my first tat­too at the age of 12. How punk is that?

Matt Sk­iba is help­ing Blink-182 write the next chap­ter as they pre­pare for a UK tour. He tells MAR­ION McMULLEN why join­ing the punk pop favourites has been a nat­u­ral fit for him

Harefield Gazette - - Sound Out -

IT WON’T take Matt Sk­iba long to pack his bags for Blink-182’s UK tour next month. He’s per­fected the art of min­i­mal­ist pack­ing and is plan­ning to fly from Los An­ge­les with ev­ery­thing he needs squeezed into a back­pack.

“I’ve a bit of a com­pe­ti­tion with (fel­low band mem­ber) Mark Hop­pus on how lit­tle our lug­gage is,” he laughs. “I travel as lightly as pos­si­ble. I never check lug­gage.

“All our gear – our amps, gui­tars and what­ever – is here in the States and is sent to the UK on a slow boat to one of the ports like Liver­pool and we’ll have some clean clothes in the road cases.

“I al­ways travel light when the band tours, com­pared to my ex-wife. She once had a suit­case for just shoes.” He adds with a chuckle: “Maybe that’s part of the rea­son we’re not mar­ried any more.”

Blink-182 started play­ing in a San Diego garage 25 years ago and went on the sell more than 50 mil­lion records world­wide.

Matt, pre­vi­ously of Illi­nois punk band Al­ka­line Trio, be­came the band’s singer/gui­tarist two years ago fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Tom DeLonge. He stepped in to per­form two shows at the Musink Fes­ti­val and the dates were so suc­cess­ful he then went on to work with Mark Hop­pus and Travis Barker on the band’s best­selling al­bum Cal­i­for­nia.

“The Musink Fes­ti­val was a big show and I was lucky it went re­ally well. Tom had just ex­ited the band and they had shows lined up and asked me to join them.

“They have recorded a lot of songs that’s for sure, I had to learn them all quickly.

“When we got to­gether to record that al­bum, we knew we had to at least try and put out one of the best Blink-182 records to date,” ex­plains Matt.

“It had to hold up to the other great Blink records so there were no half mea­sures, that was not an op­tion, but it was also a great deal of fun and I think that comes across.”

A deluxe ver­sion of Cal­i­for­nia has just been re­leased and the trio will be tour­ing the UK through­out July with dates in­clud­ing Cardiff, Not­ting­ham, Leeds, Birm­ing­ham, New­cas­tle, Manch­ester and Liver­pool.

“I love com­ing over to the UK,” de­clares Matt. “It’s the best mu­sic there is. I grew up with tons of English mu­sic. We had a tele­vi­sion show called 120 Min­utes on MTV here in the States and I grew up watch­ing punk rock videos and al­ter­na­tive bands.

“Most of my all-time favourite bands are from Eng­land. Acts like David Bowie, The Who, Joy Di­vi­sion, The Smiths, The Damned. I ac­tu­ally in­ter­viewed Dave Va­nian from The Damned a cou­ple of weeks ago. I love, love English mu­sic and what came out of Manch­ester. I sort of dis­cov­ered English mu­sic, but my fam­ily in­tro­duced me to mu­sic as well and we took pi­ano lessons as young chil­dren.

“I lis­tened to stuff on the ra­dio and stuff my par­ents were lis­ten­ing to. Then I dis­cov­ered punk rock and that was a game-changer for me.”

He got his first tat­too be­fore he was 13 – “How punk is that!” – and his favourites in­clude a fighter pi­lot skele­ton on his el­bow and a cover-up pan­ther tat­too.

“My par­ents were con­fused at the time. They were like ‘Is that even our kid? Where has this kid come from? I’d be in my bed­room punch­ing holes in the walls and ev­ery­thing. We’re now re­ally close though and they are not con­fused any more.”

The 41-year-old says he feels at home in Blink-182, but he had to deal with a back­lash from some quar­ters ini­tially.

“I have been do­ing this a long time, but when we play to­gether it is like play­ing for the first time, but I think peo­ple were a lit­tle con­fused,” says Matt, “and won­der­ing what it was go­ing to mean. I had peo­ple call­ing me ugly and gay and I was like ‘Is that sup­posed to be an in­sult? F**k you.’ I put them in their place. It is just so ig­no­rant.

“The only so­cial me­dia I’m on is In­sta­gram and I’ll post a pic­ture or write some­thing and not look at it ever again. I don’t re­ally care, but I must be do­ing some­thing right – no-one’s ever said I’m not a good singer or gui­tarist.” Go to blink182.com for UK tour dates.

For­mer Al­ka­line Trio front man Matt Sk­iba, on stage with Blink-182

Matt, cen­tre, joined Blink 182 af­ter they parted ways with Tom DeLonge. Right: One of his in­spi­ra­tions, Dave Va­nian of punk band The Damned

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