Tom DeLonge spoke with Wondering Sound for a celebration of blink-182 's Enema Of The State . In the interview , DeLonge discusses the direction the band’s major label took them in, and how they didn’t realize how far their image had been taken.
What do you wish someone had told you before the success of that album and the band?
To be in control of our image. Because we didn’t know the latitude that the labels worldwide would take in marketing us to make money. We had no clue. We were so naïve that we would run around naked, but they’d make it all glossy and put it on posters and make it look like we really were some kind of erotic boy band or some shit. We were coming from the punk scene, but the label fashioned a whole thing around us that we didn’t even understand; we were just kinda caught up in it. So it took us a little bit to dig out of that and come back to who we really were. And it’s hard to do that once people spend millions of dollars making you into something visually that we weren’t.
What kind of stuff would the label ask you to do, or what surprised you about how they marketed you?
They would make posters off of weird photos or they would set up a photo shoot and you’d think you were being funny [but] you didn’t realize what happens later. On Take Off Your Pants and Jacket we came around afterward and made a lot of changes.
Beside the aesthetic change that came from the marketing, there was also a huge difference in the actual music compared to the band’s previous records. How conscious was that?
We just knew that punk rock was becoming polished. NOFX [was] a punk band we grew up listening to, and they had a record called Punk in Drublic, and it was awesome. It was game-changing; it sounded good. If you listened to it now it wouldn’t sound good, probably, but to the punk scene — all through the ’80s and early ’90s punk never sounded like that. We wanted to take it to the next level and [Enema producer] Jerry Finn, at the time, was doing Green Day, Jawbreaker and Rancid — he was involved with the cooler punk rock bands that were doing really big, produced albums. So that was the thing to do, was to elevate the art form, and we wanted to be on par with the most elevated [laughs]
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