Blink-182, the Gateway Drug of Punk Rock

Say what you will about Blink-182, but the common thread amongst all major pop-punk bands is that they have the inherent effect of being gateway bands - a sort of Fisher-Price "My First Punk Band," as singer/bassist Mark Hoppus once described Blink at the height of their mania in the wake of 1999's Enema Of The State. One also can't overlook the immense influence of that album's cover girl, Janine Lindemulder, on the thriving nurse-fetish scene.

Punk rock has a funny way of repeating itself in cycles that confound the old guard and bring in new meat to the tribe. A more publicly palatable punk band will come along and swoop up kids in need of a social family. Most kids won't stay in the fold long enough to lay down roots, while others will become lifers and take what they have learned into almost every facet of the rest of their lives.

Every few years it takes a band like Green Day, Rancid or Bad Religion to lure kids into the circle and soon enough they will either by card-carrying obnoxious teens armed with three chords and the truth, or casual fans wearing the T-shirt to school. In 1999, that band was Blink-182 for a majority of impressionable kids, for better or worse.

To be honest, nothing that Hoppus and Tom DeLonge were doing was breaking any real ground, but they showed how fun punk rock could be for a group of kids who were preparing to turn away from radio rock and looking for a party to call their own. To say that Blink-182 did some sort of disservice to kids is patently false and discounts the tastes of their listeners, who can't help but seek out the harder liquor once the sweet stuff runs out. Punk rock directly and indirectly shines a light on it's past, making a future possible for the genre. For every grizzled metalhead we saw at Motorhead last week, there was probably a faded and worn-out Sabbath tape in some attic that they can trace back their personal lineage to. Right now Rocks Off is thinking of that tape at his parent's house full of Metallica and Nirvana songs taped right off the radio from Z-Rock in 1993. Blink-182 was a gateway drug into an innumerable amount of old-guard pop-punk bands, from the Descendents to the Cure. How many kids went and picked up a Dag Nasty record after seeing drummer Travis Barker's tattoo on his chest, or started carving Bad Religions iconic logo onto every surface they could find after they saw them open for Blink in 2000? Good punk rock always hails back to its past, and even if you disagree with Blink's punk-credentials, there are no doubt dozens of your favorite bands who had to start out learning the tabs for "Dammit" before they could get on the cover of Spin. These are just a handful of bands that Blink brought to the consciousness of their younger fans at the turn of the century, when rap-metal ruled the Earth and Britney Spears' womb was still an inviting place full of wonder and hope.

With Fall Out Boy and Asher Roth, 7 p.m. tonight at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands, 281-363-3300 or

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty