How Did Blink-182 Gets Its Name?

It’s rare for legends to receive full honors while they’re still alive. Yet, it surprises few music aficionados to hear Blink-182 called a revolutionary pop-punk band. They helped develop the rock genre into what it is today thanks to the music they made in the ’90s and 2000s. Many bands credit Blink-182 for influencing their songwriting and producing.   

In the three decades since the band has been active — feel old yet? — one question has always bugged fans. What’s up with the band name? Why 182? Read on to unravel the mystery of “Blink-182.”

Blink-182 poses for the camera at the 1998 KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concert in LA
(L-R) Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus, and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 in 1998 | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Formed in August 1992, Blink-182’s origin story begins in Poway, California. As Last FM reports, budding guitarist Tom DeLonge met drummer Scott Raynor in Rancho Bernardo High School’s Battle of the Bands. Through one of his friend Kerry Key, DeLonge met Anne Hoppus, bassist Mark Hoppus’s sister.

The pieces began to fit, and the original line-up of Mark Hoppus (singer/bassist), DeLonge (singer/guitarist), and Raynor (drummer) materialized. Yet, only two-thirds of the trio would achieve local and international success with Blink-182.

Their 1995 project, Cheshire Cat, launched them into the spotlight with fan-favorites like “M+M’s” and “Carousel.” With increased popularity, they realized their label’s ambivalence stifled their ambition and thus sought a different direction. Raynor wanted to partner with Epitaph Records. Hoppus and DeLonge had other ideas and overruled him, signing with MCA. Under the new label, they made their second album, Dude Ranch, in 1997.

Midway through a 1998 tour, Raynor got booted from the band. There was a lot of speculation as to why this happened. One rumor alleges he went to college; another cites alcohol abuse, as Grunge reports. They asked Aquabat’s stickman, Travis Barker, to fill in for the departed Raynor for the rest of the tour.

Barker went on to master the 20-song setlist in less than an hour. Needless to say, he impressed Hoppus and DeLonge. In July of the same year, Barker became the final piece of the trifecta. As they say, the rest is history.    

First off, we won’t blame Blink-182 for the strange, late -90’s/ early ’00s trend of bands adding meaningless numbers at the end of seemingly meaningless words. (We’re definitely not talking about Matchbox 20 and Sum 41 here.)

Before Blink-182 came to be, the band was simply called “Blink.” Before that, they called themselves “Figure 8” and “Duck Tape.” They were Blink for a while, using this moniker during early garage sessions, late-night song-writing hangouts, performances in small SoCal clubs, and a few tours around the San Diego region. January 1994’s Buddha, their first project of note, was produced under the name Blink.

After signing to punk label Cargo Music, the band released their full-length debut album in February 1995, Cheshire Cat. The group made waves — just not how anyone expected. It turns out an Irish band called “Blink” already existed. After getting wind of San Diego’s famous punk rockers, they threatened to sue. Unwilling to wage a legal battle, Cargo Music told the band to rethink the name. The trio did, and Blink-182 was born.

As you’d expect, the “-182” was subject to many a discussion over the years. Some common reasons they’ve given for adding “182” include:

  • It’s related to how many times Tony Montana says the F-word in Scarface.
  • It pays homage to Timothy Hutton’s 1985 movie, Turk 182.
  • It’s Hoppus’s ideal weight, among others.

However, DeLonge’s recent tweet about the band’s pronunciation sheds new light on the matter. According to Spin, after DeLonge was expelled from Poway High School for attending a basketball game drunk, he attended Rancho Bernardo in a neighboring town. As Rancho Bernardo can be initialized as “RB,” some people think 182 represents R and B. (R is the 18th letter of the alphabet; B is the second.)

The title of “laidback geniuses” fits this band like a glove. While they helped define pop and punk rock, Blink-182 was also known for its PG-rated stage banter and crass toilet humor. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking the only things the band cared for were teen angst and fart jokes (though they later evolved to tackling mature themes). They’ve also faced their fair share of adult experiences.

After the 1999 release of their third album, Enema of the State, they garnered national fame. Their star was still rising in 2002. Unsurprisingly, they co-headlined a tour with Green Day. They kept up the work ethic and, in 2003, released their fifth album, Blink-182, and co-headlined a 2004 tour with No Doubt.

Unfortunately, 2005 was a dark time for the group. DeLonge quit the band. The band scrapped plans for any future projects and announced an indefinite hiatus. Hoppus and Barker joined together to form the band +44. DeLonge disappeared from the rock scene for a few months but later declared a comeback with alt-rock group Angels & Airwaves in 2005.

Misfortune followed the group when Jerry Finn, a producer and friend of Blink-182, died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 2008. Not even one month later, Barker survived the tragic crash of South Caroline Learjet 60 and spent weeks recuperating in hospital. Hoppus and DeLonge frequently visited Barker in recovery, and talk of a reunion was soon on the table.

The trio reunited at the 2009 Grammy Awards. They went on to release their sixth album, Neighborhoods, in 2011. Tensions within the band as well as Barker’s aerophobia affected Blink-182’s touring logistics, delaying the seventh album’s release.

DeLonge left the group again in 2015. This time, Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio replaced him. The band released their long-awaited seventh studio album, California, in 2016 to great success.

Blink-182 was scheduled to perform at 2017’s scam of the year, Fyre Festival. However, a combo of suspicion from frontman Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker’s air travel constraints, and dumb luck motivated the band to pull out from the debacle. In a bid to quell his worsening depression, Hoppus partnered with Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low to form Simple Creatures in 2019.

In June 2021, the world received some thoroughly disheartening and unwelcome news: Mark Hoppus revealed he was three months into a fight for his life against breast cancer. Barker, DeLonge, and the rest of the world showed their support. Then, in September 2021, Hoppus announced he’s cancer-free thanks to chemotherapy. 

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