During a recent interview about his early drumming influences, Travis Barker of Blink-182 discussed some of the artists and records he played along with as a kid, including Genesis, Metallica and Van Halen.
“There was a sick, sick mini-ramp in my neighborhood in Fontana where I grew up. The older cats in my neighborhood would always skate it,” Barker remembered of his formative years in Southern California. “In order for me to be able to go over there, for me to even be allowed to be over there and skate with them, I had to learn Master of Puppets from front to back by Metallica.
“So it wasn’t a matter of if I could learn it, it was when I was going to learn it,” he explained. “I needed to learn it, so I learned that from front to back like in a week.”
Barker also expressed a love for Genesis and Phil Collins, particularly the famous gated reverb sound on songs like Collins’ classic 1981 solo single “In the Air Tonight.”
“Phil Collins is a drummer I don’t see on the list that was awesome,” Barker added, referencing the recent Greatest Drummer of All-Time poll. “He always had drum fills that were so memorable and just stood out. I would always learn his fills. They were kind of like simple, but really effective. “
When asked if there was ever a fill that was more difficult for him to decipher than most, Barker had only one answer, and it was performed by a fellow Southern California drum legend.
“You know what was hard for me? ‘Hot for Teacher,’ Alex Van Halen,” he admitted in regards to Van Halen’s hit single from their sixth studio album, 1984. “I didn’t play double bass. I’ve always been a single bass drummer. But I was so hyped on ‘Hot for Teacher’ that I actually got a double-bass set-up and I learned ‘Hot for Teacher.’ But that one had me stumped for a while. He does a lot of things in the intro that are really complicated. Especially to keep your feet shuffling and not get them going straight sixteenth notes. That was a challenge. It was probably the hardest one, man. Still to this day that probably catches a lot of people.”
Barker and the rest of Blink-182 are currently writing songs for a new album the band hopes to release sometime in 2013. In the meantime, fans can satiate their desire for Fresh Blink tunes with the upcoming Christmas EP, Dogs Eating Dogs, available December 18th, with a special presale currently on the band’s website.
–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local