When I first heard that Matt Skiba was going to replace Tom DeLonge in blink-182, I had several reactions. First, what about Alkaline Trio? I love that band. Second, okay, whatever. blink hasn't been all that exciting these last few years. I didn't even buy their last album and the whole drama scenario that Tom brought to the band sort of ruined what had been one of the biggest bands to influence me as a musician. I used to love blink but they really had become a let down in every facet of a band worth following. Lastly, what the Hell is this going to sound like? How is the King of morbid Chicago pop punk going to sound in the band that brought the light hearted, fun pop punk of Southern California? The scenes and styles couldn't be much more different. This made no sense to me.
Until I thought about it.
Bizarro was a villain from the DC Comics universe. He was basically Superman with an evil twist. He came from Bizarro world. This whole Bizarro version of Superman was later expanded into pop culture by the T.V. show, "Seinfeld". Jerry Seinfeld is a big Superman fan, so it's no wonder this became a running joke on the show, as characters would run into the Bizarro versions of each other throughout the seasons. The idea was picked up by "How I Met Your Mother", as the characters would run into the 'doppelganger' versions of themeselves. Bizarro branding even appeared in an episode of "South Park", with the little Bizarro versions of the Colorado kids appearing identical, but with goatees.
It was from this perspective that I decided to start comparing the two bands. And what I found is that Alkaline Trio is indeed the Bizarro blink-182.
From this perspective, blink-182 and Alkaline Trio are the same band from different universes. Let's call the universes the SoCal Scene vs. the Chicago Scene. And honestly, they are two different worlds. First, let's look at the band names. Each name has a numerical reference and blink has a 'trio' of numbers in their name. Keeping with the 'trio' reference, each band is a three-piece, with drums, bass, guitar, and dual attack vocalists. Both bands have also gone through line-up changes. Let's look at each positions, starting with the back end, drums
Travis Baker vs. Derek Grant
Both of these drummers are highly regarded. Obviously, Travis get's the most hype but Derek is a very talented drummer in his own right. Both drummers are students of their instruments. They both play in relatively simple bands for their talent levels. They are definitely the most talented musicians in their respective bands. Each drummer plays a pretty simple kit as well. Travis and and Derek are also not original band members. Barker is the second drummer for blink and Grant is the third drummer for Alkaline Trio. Which brings me to my favorite fact about both drummers; they both played in ska bands in their careers. Barker played in the Aquabats and Grant played in the Skolars/Telegraph. The only major difference between the two, besides looks, would be that Barker is a lot more flashy, indulging in drum solos during blink's live sets.
Mark Hoppus vs. Dan Andriano
These two bassists anchor their respective bands. Both are considered moderately talented musicians by the music world. Their vocal dynamics in their bands are very similar, each employing the more laid back, crooner style vocals, completely different from their counterparts on guitar. Although different in theme and style, both project a more optimistic, romantic view of the world through their lyrics. During live sets, Mark and Dan are the more laid back of their partnered frontmen, although I'm not sure you could really call Mark laid back. Hoppus and Andriano both have side projects.
Tom DeLonge vs. Matt Skiba
Okay, time for the biggest comparison, seeing as how Skiba has replaced DeLonge. What could they have in common? Both are not considered very good guitarists. DeLonge gets a lot more hate just because of who he is and how he acts. I love Matt, but I would never call him a creative or talented guitarist. Both have vocals that are more in your face than their counterparts and that also seem to drive the most controversy because of their style. Tom is very nasally and high pitched and Matt is very throaty and high pitched. Tom's vocals have been called outright annoying. Matt seems to be under attack for the changing of his vocals. I remember a friend asking why Matt smoked a pack of cigarettes before the recording of every song off of "Good Mourning". Tom and Matt both have side projects that seem to have taken time away from their main bands, which includes Tom's first departure from blink. Both frontmen have a knack for ticking people off and alienating them. Tom, for being an outright douche bag and Matt, for being on the pretentious side. I'll take pretentious over douche any day.
Which brings us to the future of both bands. Alkaline Trio is going to march on for sure, Dan having said it's time for them to get back into the studio. blink-182 is marching on without Tom and welcoming Bizarro Tom(Matt) into the fold with open arms. I saw some of their live performances with Matt on youtube and he definitely did not seem out of place. Now they are going into the studio to record a new blink album and I'm actually excited about a blink release for the first time in a long while. I think it's because they could use a little bit of that Bizarro world of Chicago in their music.
Music, Food, Hockey, and Society through the eyes of a misanthrope named Quez Def.