I remember when Blink 182 first came out… They kind of took that SoCal punk rock sound and made it sweet, with singable choruses worthy of the radio. Driving riffs, bratty voices, and of course Travis Barker driving the pace with speed fills and fast trotting rhythms on the kick executed with robotic precision. Somehow, Blink 182 hit the mainstream in a way that bands like NOFX and the Descendents never did. I grew up playing in bands, and I remember thinking “these guys are doing what we’re doing, only way better.” I am sure there were plenty of other kids out there who thought the same.
The early Nineties were the heydays of Blink 182. Concurrently, I was starting to smoke weed regularly and loving it. I’m sure I can remember being stoned with Blink 182 in my headphones. If I do some quick math, my run as a chronic had to be at least 10 years shorter than Travis, and it looks like that extra 10 caught up with him. Doctors found six ulcers in his throat and diagnosed Barker with Barrett’s Esophagus, caused by heavy smoking and severe acid reflux from poor diet.
After receiving the diagnosis, Travis said that he loved smoking pot, but when it comes to health, “you don’t mess around”. Now, he’s on a health kick and preparing to overcome his fear of flying so he can tour Australia.
I remember when I quit smoking pot, one of my greatest fears had to do with my relationship with music. As a musician, I smoked weed to get the inspiration and focus to write music, play live, and record. Listening to my own recordings was also done best high. I was terrified what it would be like to do all these things sober. The truth is, it was a bizarre and uncomfortable transition. I almost stopped playing for months after quitting. It actually took me a really long time to find my groove again. When I did, I must admit that my relationship with my own musicality had changed. I could not deny missing that heightened sensory perception that makes music palpable, transforming tones and textures into a warm fuzzy blanket of sounds that massage your brain. That part was gone, but I still had plenty of songs to write and I still loved playing.
I’m sure Travis is facing some of the same feelings. I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope he continues to enjoy playing just the same without weed. And here’s a little ego boost for you Travis, Check out what kind of sticks I still use… look familiar?