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New blink-182 guitarist was shocked by offer to join the band

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Monday, August 29, 2016

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As a friend and fan of the band, Matt Skiba never really entertained the idea of being blink-182's guitarist. He was friendly with Tom DeLonge, for one.

And Skiba had plenty to do with his own bands, Alkaline Trio and the Sekrets.

But after an acrimonious split with DeLonge last year, blink bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker tapped Skiba to fill in for a pair of club shows and a festival date in March of 2015, which led to him becoming a full-time member and a full creative partner on "California," blink's seventh studio album and first in five years.

"I was pretty shocked," Skiba, 40, says by phone about the invitation. "I really didn't know what the call was about. I knew that I was meeting Mark and Travis for lunch, but I didn't know why. It took me a good week to kind of wrap my head around on what they had just asked me to do."

But if there were any doubts, those initial shows dispelled them for the Illinois-born guitarist.

"The experience was really great," recalls Skiba, who learned 27 blink songs during two months of rehearsals. "We clicked. We had a really great time together. I've know the blink guys for 15 some odd years, so we were already friends but we'd never played music together. But when you're playing with such great guys and such great musicians, it's a lot of work but fun work."

"It went really well and the shows went really well. The fans are really happy. I'm sure there's some disgruntled fans, but it seems the majority of people were really impressed with what we put together."

Among those, interestingly, was the deposed DeLonge, who's given Skiba's addition to the band his tacit blessing. "I don't mind anything. I want people to be happy," he says. And Skiba expresses mutual regard for his predecessor.

"Tom and I have always been very friendly," Skiba says. "We've toured with blink several times over the years, and Tom and I have always been friends. I'd like to think that we still are. It's in no way personal. Tom's been nothing but cool to me over the years, so I don't have a negative thing in the world to say about the guy.

"The story I got is he left the band and I was asked to fill in, so that's what I did. I hope there aren't any hard feelings. I don't go up there and try and do what Tom did. I go up there and do Matt Skiba."

blink-182, A Day To Remember and All Time Low

7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

Tickets are $39.50-$75 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $75 lawn four-pack.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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