‘Dammit,” Blink-182 has finally grown up

They were the soundtrack to our adolescent summers when we weren’t worried about jobs, internships or homework. As our lives changed, so did their music, ushering us into pseudo-adulthood.

But these feelings of maturity were not unique to the fans – the band grew up too. Last month, Blink-182 went on an indefinite hiatus, leaving its catchy hooks and guitar riffs eternally burned in our teenage memories.

The San-Diego based trio of Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker cited a desire to spend more time with family and friends as a reason for the hiatus. However, with the band’s label, Geffen Records, releasing a cryptic announcement of the Feb. 22 split, Internet rumors swirled about fighting within the group.

To quell the conspiracy theorists, Barker called Los Angeles radio station KROQ the next day to set the record straight. “I love those dudes, they’re my brothers,” Barker said. “I wanted to clear up the rumors of us fighting with each other. It’s just not true.”

Barker’s positive attitude on the radio was a far cry from the Geffen press release. The official statement cited no clear reason for the break and no timetable for future collaboration. The only reference to future plans was “No one knows what tomorrow may bring.” It was this mysteriousness that left many Blink fans wondering what went wrong.

Although Geffen painted a grim future for the band, Barker assured listeners that Blink-182 will be back. “We’re taking a break and letting everyone have their time off, and have fun and come back when it’s time and when it’s ready and right,” Barker said. “I believe there’s great things in the future.”

The break will also give the band members a chance to work at their other jobs as husbands and fathers. “We all have children,” Barker said, “And I think it’s a good time to be home with them.”

During their time off, the guys plan to keep busy with solo projects. Barker will perform in this summer’s Vans Warped Tour with the Transplants, DeLonge will continue directing music videos and Hoppus will develop his production credits (he is currently working with Motion City Soundtrack). If the past is any indicator, the future of the band may depend on the success of these side projects.

Fans were undoubtedly surprised and saddened by the break-up announcement, but the current situation begs the question, “Is it really time to call it quits?”

Since its founding in a So-Cal garage in the early 1990’s, Blink-182 has recorded eight albums. “Fly Swatter” (1993) and “Buddha” (1994), their first two self-released discs, made the band, known at the time only as Blink, a hit with the young punk scene.

A name change and a spot on the 1996-1997 Warped Tour raised Blink-182’s profile and heavy MTV rotation of the single “Dammit” off their fourth album “Dude Ranch” (1997) brought an onslaught of major label and mainstream attention. Known for their fun-loving anti-establishment lyrics and catchy melodies, the boys from San Diego had the kind of widespread appeal – and punky good looks – to make them a musical phenomenon.

They disappeared from the radar after releasing three major label albums in three years, only to re-emerge in 2003 with a self-titled record. The album found fans in unlikely places, receiving favorable reviews from industry heavyweights “Spin” and “Rolling Stone.” The darker lyrics and minor chord melodies of the new disc were a slight indication that the boys who ran nakedly into our hearts in the “What’s My Age Again” video were ready to get serious.

And so the time has come for Blink-182 to take a break, perhaps forever. The music was great and the shows were entertaining, but now we have internships, jobs and homework to worry about. It’s not the summer after eighth grade anymore, although sometimes we wish it was.

Blink-182, the band whose songs captured many of our most memorable teenage moments, has outgrown their music. And so have we. Well, I guess this is growing up.