Why did Tom DeLonge leave Blink-182?

13 December 2022, 15:10

Blink-182 in 2001: Travis Barker, Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus
Blink-182 in 2001: Travis Barker, Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus. Picture: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

The musician has returned to the band for a new album and tour dates, but what was the main reason for his departure in 2015?

Radio X

By Radio X

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The Beginning of To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science

Blink-182 fans were overjoyed at the news that founding member Tom DeLonge was back in the fold.

On Tuesday 11th October, the band announced details of a new single titled Edging, a forthcoming new album and a world tour that would see them head to the UK and beyond across 2023 and into 2024.

blink-182 - EDGING (Official Audio)

The new LP marks the first time that DeLonge has been in a studio with fellow members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker in more than a decade.

A founding member of the Californian band, Tom DeLonge left Blink-182 in 2015. He was replaced by Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba, who with Hoppus and Barker went on to release the band's seventh studio album, California, in 2016 and NINE in 2019.

In 2019 in a post for his organisation To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, DeLonge gave a definitive reason why he left the trio.

Speaking in a video, the All The Small Things rocker revealed “The last show I played was in front of 100,000 people and then they wonder why I’m not doing that now, and I’ll say because this is the one moment in my life where I’ll be able to look back as an old man and say, ‘Oh my god, I was a part of the team that changed the world'."

He continued: "As an artist, I'd kind of conquered what I wanted to do with music, so I thought this is a great time to kind of do something else".

As the clip shows early footage of the band, the musician finally reveals: "I left my band and all that I was known for, because this is the moment in time that I can change the world for my kids and everybody else's."

READ MORE: We've been singing Blink 182's What's My Age Again wrong all along...

Tom DeLonge onstage with Angels & Airwaves in 2012
Tom DeLonge onstage with Angels & Airwaves in 2012. Picture: dpa picture alliance archive / Alamy Stock Photo

While it has been widely reported that DeLonge did seem to leave his Blink 182 life behind to delve deeper into the truth behind UFOs, there could be more to his departure than meets the eye.

At the time of DeLonge leaving the band, things seemed strained between the trio.

In January 2015, the remaining members of Blink issued statement which suggested their singer came to the decision quite suddenly.

They wrote in their official statement: "A week before we were scheduled to go in to the studio, we got an email from [Tom's] manager explaining that he didn’t want to participate in any Blink-182 projects indefinitely, but would rather work on his other non-musical endeavours.

"No hard feelings, but the show must go on for our fans."

However, in an open letter DeLonge claimed he'd "never quit the band".

In a post on his Facebook page, he wrote: "I love Blink and am incredibly grateful for having it in my life. It has given me everything...At the end of the day, all of this makes me really sad. Sad for us. Sad for you- that you’re witnessing this immaturity."

He added: "And even as I watch them act so different to what I know of them to be, I still care deeply for them. Like brothers, and like old friends. But our relationship got poisoned yesterday. Never planned on quitting, just find it hard as hell to commit."

READ MORE: The best trios in music

The cracks may have started to show when drummer Travis Barker was in a near-fatal plane accident in 2008.

Speaking about his book, Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, And Drums, Drums, Drums the sticksman revealed to Radio X why he chose to put gruesome pictures of his recovery in the autobiography.

"I got those pictures [taken] because Tom [DeLonge], especially, was pressuring me to fly again. I tried to explain it to him, like ‘I can’t do it yet, I’m not ready’.

"So I ended up showing Tom and Mark, although Mark was always very supportive from day one. He even visited me in the hospital."  

He added: "Whereas, with Tom, there was constant pressure."

Whether or not DeLonge's lack of support for Barker began to cause rifts in the band, he left to pursue the truth about UFOs or there was a massive misunderstanding between the bandmembers, it's clear that by 2015 his priorities had changed.

Blink 182 discuss NINE & Tom DeLonge | FULL INTERVIEW | Radio x

READ MORE: Mark Hoppus: Blink 182 "did its best work" with Tom DeLonge

Despite this public disagreement, both sides remained open to reconciliation.

In 2019, Mark Hoppus revealed he'd spoken to his former bandmate, and though they were happy doing their own thing, he'd "never say never" about a reunion.

Asked by Radio X's Polly James if the bromance between them was alive and well, Hoppus revealed: "I talked to him not too long ago, a couple of months [ago] right before we left to go out on this [Enema of the State anniversary] tour, actually."

He added: "He's good. Very Happy. He seems like he's in a good place."

Quizzed if we would ever see DeLonge back in the band's line-up again, the Dammit singer replied: "I don't know. Never say never.

"We haven't even talked about it. Like I said, he's very happy with what he's doing and we're very happy with what we're doing and we'll see what the future holds."

Hoppus even piled on the compliments for his ex-bandmate in another interview and admitted that Blink's "best work" took place when Tom Delonge was in the band.

Speaking to Alt Press, he mused: "There was a real unity of spirit in the band; [it’s] when the band found itself".

"When Tom was in the band, that’s when Blink did its best work,” he added. "Now post-Tom, with Matt in the band, we’re approaching songs differently."

Blink 182 on whether they're recognised by UK fans

This situation was not to last, however. In July 2022, Matt Skiba was asked by a fan if he was still in Blink-182. He'd not appeared on the lockdown song Quarantine, released in August 2020 and replied: "“Your guess is as good as mine.

“Regardless, I am very proud of and thankful for my time with Blink 182. We shall see…”

With the return of Tom DeLonge to the bosom of Blink-182 in October 2022, it seems like Skiba's time in the band is over...