Blink-182 Would Like to Remind You That They’re Very Edgy

The band's Coachella reunion featured plenty of references to "cancel culture"

Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 performs at the Sahara Tent during the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 14, 2023.
Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 performs at Coachella on April 14, 2023.
Getty Images for Coachella

On Friday night, Blink-182 played a last-minute Coachella set that saw Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker reunite onstage with original member and noted UFO hunter Tom DeLonge for the first time since 2015. It was, by all accounts, a great set full of hits like “All the Small Things,” “What’s My Age Again?” and “The Rock Show” that had all the Millennials in attendance feeling nostalgic for their youth.

A lot has happened since the trio’s heyday. Barker was involved in a harrowing plane crash — one that killed four of the six people onboard and left the drummer hospitalized for 11 weeks — in 2008, and Hoppus was diagnosed with cancer in 2021. He’s now 51 years old, while Barker and DeLonge are both 47. But if you think any of that has caused them to dial back their schtick and take themselves a little more seriously onstage, you’re mistaken. As Yahoo’s Lyndsey Parker wrote, “Their between-song stage banter still packed with jokes about vulvas, butts, balls, herpes, UTIs, and, just to be topical, the Coachella festival’s rumored ‘gnarly’ Dalai Lama kissing booth. (That was DeLonge’s recurring gag, while Hoppus’s best zinger in the desert heat was: ‘I’m probably hydrated because your mom is so wet.’)”

DeLonge also swapped out some lyrics while performing “All the Small Things,” changing “watching, waiting, commiserating” to “watching, waiting, masturbating” and “surprises let me know she cares” to “handjobs let me know she cares.” Who cares if neither of those substitutions have the right number of syllables to match the melody, right?

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Blink-182 have made this kind of goofy, semi-problematic chatter part of their brand for decades now, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone vaguely familiar with them that they’re still at it. But times are different, and the band now seems hung up on pointing out how they likely would have been canceled back in the day if “cancel culture” existed back then.

“There’s a lot of shit we should have been canceled for,” DeLonge said onstage at Coachella. “We say: Fuck you, cancellation!” He also shared a photo of him giving the crowd the finger — very cool and rock ‘n’ roll — during the set and captioned it “We’ve only just begun to offend. Ya can’t cancel this shiiiiiiiiittttttt.”

Again: People have been calling the band sexist since 1999. A 27-year-old Hoppus and 23-year-old DeLonge telling the teen girls in the crowd to “show us your tits” was already deemed gross enough by the time Enema of the State came out that Barker felt the need to distance himself from it, telling SPIN, “That’s Mark and Tom. They get on stage and shout, ‘Show us your vagina!’ — it’s like diarrhea of the mouth.” And yet they’re all still performing to thousands of adoring fans nearly a quarter-century later. The reception to their Coachella set has been overwhelmingly positive.

To be clear, no one is calling for the band to be “canceled” in 2023, and as a person in their mid-30s, I will always have a soft spot for songs like “All the Small Things.” But there’s something extra cringey about a bunch of guys who are either pushing or past 50 patting themselves on the back for joking about handjobs. (When the answer to “What’s My Age Again?” is 51, perhaps it’s time to get a new bit.) It’s all in good fun, and it’d be a bummer if the band reunited and suddenly took itself way too seriously, but there’s a hint of desperation to hold onto their image from 20-plus years ago that feels a little sad.

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