I’ve been meaning to make this argument for some time now, and just as I was beginning to formulate what I wanted to say, the news broke that Outkast will be reuniting at Coachella. This is a true gift from the writing gods because I really had no basis for arguing that Blink-182 should headline Coachella other than the fact that they absolutely should. You could say the announcement of Outkast means that the festivals has filled their 90’s reunion quotient, but that’s not really true considering they had multiple bands from previous decades last year in Blur and The Stone Roses (and really RHCP too).
There’s a part in the Mark, Tom and Travis Show when Tom DeLonge tells the audience that they should shut up because “this song is really hard to play.” The trio then launches into what would turn out to be their more well-known songs “What’s my Age Again.” The Mark, Tom and Travis show is Blink in their comfort zone. The staple immaturity and crude toilet humor always went a long way for a band that wasn’t trying to be anything other than exactly what it was.
I don’t want to get too anecdotal here. We all know what the band meant to us then: Warped Tour, drawn-on Converse, falling in love with a girl at the mall/rock show. This was a teenage dream that was real and tangible, and if you had a car it was likely that you could recreate many of Mark and Tom’s romantic gestures.
So I guess question becomes what does Blink-182 mean to us now? Coachella headliners need to be massive and all-encompassing. I don’t care what anyone says, you go to music festivals for the headliners, everything else is the icing on the cake. The headliner needs to be the main course, or in the case of this metaphor, the cake.
The argument boils down to one question: Is Blink-182 just a nostalgia band?
Nostalgia has become a very dirty word. I hate it. I hate to think that my formative years were shaped by a passing fad of pop-punk. Then again, they absolutely were. But it’s not that simple. See, Blink-182 has legacy, and Coachella likes legacy. For them to give their stage up to a reunion decade and a half old band, they need to know that it’s a band that has left a lasting impression, one that elicit premium buzz from the correct places of the internet upon the announcement. The news that Outkast would be reuniting at the festival did exactly that.
Blink-182 introduced an entire generation of music fans to punk, and subsequently created the soundtrack to the turn of the millennia. In their debut video for “All the Small Things” Mark, Tom and Travis spend their entire single making fun of their boy band counterparts, their first act rebelliousness that would eventually see their brand of punk (in both music and attitude) spread itself through youth culture. For a generation that began to experience music at the height of the boy band era, Blink was a refreshing slap in the face. This was anti-arena pop for kids who’s first concert was Britney Spears by default.
Year’s later, if you were in a garage rock band and didn’t list Blink-182 on your MySpace band page under musical influences you were either lying or making really bad music. If you’re in your mid-twenties, there’s a good you thought about starting your own band after mastering the “Adam’s Song” tabs in less than an hour. For everyone else, you can measure the impact of the band by counting the number of bands that would not exist without Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch, Buddha, Enema of the State and Take off your Pants and Jacket.
Their influence in today’s current music landscape extends beyond the current pop-punk torchbearers. Artists like Grimes, DIIV, and Best Coast have all mentioned Blink as a major influencer of their respective sounds.
Or how about FIDLAR? I saw a video of the LA garage rock band covering Dammit about a year ago.
I love this because everyone knows how easy it is to cover this song (or really any Blink song). But that’s not the point. Every single person is shouting the words because that’s what your 14-year-old self would have wanted. Watching this video really is growing up. And as it turns out things didn’t go end up going that poorly after all.
I know this is really age specific but so is Coachella and so is the music blog monster. The generation that grew up with Mark, Tom and Travis are now internet tastemakers. Or should I say influencers? We’re the generation that put “Josie” on a mix CD and will tell anyone who is willing to listen what the other 11 songs were. My point is that there is vested interest in Blink-182 playing a major festival, and that interest would be loud amongst people with a lot of influence.
Just last September the trio played a benefit show in Brooklyn and every major online publication was there. You can’t read a review of this show without a personal anecdote about what Blink-182 means to the author. The continued cultural reach is a result of the sheer magnitude of people that will forever care about Mark, Tom and Travis.
Blink-182 needs to headline Coachella. They have the reach, the impact, the size and most of all the loyalty of an entire generation of music-lovers. In a recent interview, the band announced they are releasing an album in 2014, making their appearance at the festival make that much more sense.
I want this to happen very badly. Festivals have become way too streamlined. Featuring the same bands in different algorithms, Coachella needs to set itself apart by bringing the band that taught us how everything we knew about growing up. For most of us, there turned out to be a lot less nudity, but for one night, let’s change that.