We walked out of the record store that day giggling. Furtive, suspicious giggles. At 13 years old my best friend and I had just executed our first big con and in my hands I grasped our haul: Blink 182’s The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show”a live concert album complete with the “parental advisory” sticker on the outside packaging. We were in the big leagues now, boys.
I don’t know if it was the foul language, the fast paced music, or that the lyrics were about things I was dying to understand, but I spent that whole weekend in Sunriver (as my friend’s plus one on her family vacation) entranced by Blink 182. Since 2001 I’ve listened to that CD on repeat memorizing every song and the raunchy dialogue in-between. My teenage years were formed around this stuff. Defeated by angst I would cry to songs like “Untitled” with it’s deep subtext of heartbreak paired with its upbeat melody.
Other times I would simply agree, “Yes. It would be nice to get a blow job.” Blink was my jam. They were my gateway to other bands that defined how I viewed middle school, high school, and growing up in general: Greenday, Sugarcult, MXPX, Sum 41, Third Eye Blind, Good Charlotte, P!nk, The Killers... Forget the boy bands, these dudes understood things. They were dark, and real, and hardened by life experience. They sang about struggling, and drugs, and sex [they were also like 23 singing about prom]. I was pretty sure I was cool.
But over time Blink 182 has become just another album in my “Nostalgia” playlist on my iPhone. My guilty pleasure when I need access to Grade A high school level feels. When I play their music I can still feel the thrill, the loneliness, the social anxiety, and the passion that I felt at 16 while I was trying to get it all sorted out enough to head into adulthood. I realize that time in my life is over, although my taste for mediocre punk rock bands will never die.
But when that band that who helped you navigate high school’s tormented waters comes to play a mere 29 miles from your house, you gotta go, right?! Right. Without having to convince any bored record store staff members that we were older than we are, or assuring any mom’s that “parental advisory” doesn’t really mean anything and it’s just part of the cover art, Randi and I giggled as we drove to Sunlight Supply Amphitheater for an evening with Blink 182 and Lil Wayne. TBH, this was a weird lineup with two pretty different demographics, but we all went with it and it turned out AWESOME.
I was worried that for a band with only 3 members the fact that one of the lead singers has been replaced would be a BIG DEAL. And it’s true the chemistry/banter from The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show was largely missing, but was that because of the bandmate change or because they are now 40 years old trying to hold on to the last 2 decades? Doesn’t matter. The music rocked. They played each song perfectly and with energy. They mocked the crowd knowing their 13 year old fans with emo hair have all aged into avocado-toast-eating millenials. We ate it up [like we do our toast]. Mark came into the crowd with his acoustic guitar. We lost our minds. Then when Travis played an expert level drum solo in a CAGE that revolved until he was upside down we just. couldn’t. even.
Soon it was a quarter to 11 and even though that’s considered early for this sorta event and even though they were playing one of my favorite songs (“First Date”) it was time to tear ourselves away. I didn’t want to get stuck in hours of traffic trying to leave the venue because at the end of the day I wasn’t 15 years old anymore and I had babies to get back to.
I’m thrilled that Randi and I went on this adventure. It’s always hard for me to trade my comfortable routine for something out of the ordinary, and even as I was dropping off the baby with Nana I contemplated staying in for a night of cards instead. As is almost always the case, I am so grateful I went out of my box. I owed myself a little fun, and it was great to pay tribute to a band that has undoubtedly changed me in some way.