The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently announced its 2020 nominees. While The Doobie Brothers, The Notorious B.I.G., and Soundgarden round out a diverse class of potential inductees (all of which have my vote personally), one notable act — and one we’ve loved at Mind Equals Blown for a long time — is missing: Blink-182.
No, I’m being serious. Can a band with songs about screwing pooches (literally) and videos of them running down the streets buck naked join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Part of why this is a legitimate question is because I’m not the first one to suggest it. Last year, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and a fan poll inside the museum had Blink-182 with the most votes of any act currently eligible, but not nominated, to be in the Hall of Fame. Last month, Alternative Press reported that the three-piece is now in second place in this poll, behind Motley Crue (barf).
Typically considered an adolescent afterthought that you outgrow once you’re 18, Blink-182 deserves a bit more credit than they get. We’re still singing “All the Small Things” 20 years later. We still reference the lyrics to “What’s My Age Again?” on all of our friends’ 23rd birthdays. The band is still headlining amphitheaters — albeit without Tom DeLonge. Still, we bring up DeLonge in basically every conversation about aliens. Blink is practically a walking meme.
On top of that, the group has not one, not two, not three, but four albums that have gone platinum. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has said they don’t look at statistics like record sales as criteria, but the sales here say something significant. Imagine writing songs about training women like pets, ejaculating into socks, and Star Wars-style romances — and becoming as big as Blink-182 is. That takes a special band, doesn’t it?
Perhaps the reason Blink has catapulted to the top of the Hall of Fame’s poll is because they defined an entire genre and an entire generation. We often talk about the Holy Trinity of Pop Punk as featuring Green Day, Blink-182, and New Found Glory. Okay, New Found Glory is too small to get into the Hall of Fame. But Green Day is in, inducted in 2015. Sure, they’ve been more successful (Dookie went diamond) and for longer (nine of their past 10 albums charted in the top 10), but their genre counterparts have had every bit the cultural impact.
I bought an old copy of Enema of the State on CD a few years ago, and inside was a filled-out-but-not-mailed-in form to join the Blink-182 fan club. It was a fabulous time capsule of a time when the group was plastered all over MTV, somehow competing with The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.
The previous owner of the CD, Zack, listed his birth year as 1985. He was 14 when the album came out, and he’s 34 now. He was likely one of millions of teenagers who wore the record out then. I can’t help but wonder: Does Zack blast “Dysentery Gary” when driving his kids to school? Does he still turn on “First Date” when going out to dinner with his wife? The fact that I bought the CD used suggests he may have moved on from his awkward, crude, and angsty teenage years, but many haven’t (*raises hand*).
Even for the many who have moved on, you can’t deny the effect this band had during the formation years of its millions of listeners.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts acts who have had major influence on the development of rock music, and Blink-182 is no doubt influential. Green Day may have been the ones to bring pop punk to the mainstream, but Blink is the primary influence behind most artists in the genre today (Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and 5 Seconds of Summer). They defined the late ‘90s/early 2000s zeitgeist, standing above every other rock band from that era for the way their sheer personality reached youth. In fact, Maria Sherman of The Village Voice compared them to The Beatles for their influence on punk.
There’s still a part of us that hangs onto this youth in ourselves, even if we’re 25 (like me) or 34 (like Zack). We were the ones who voted for Blink-182 in the fan poll, adoring them for the impact they’ve had on us. In the band’s case for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, their long-lasting and wide-reaching influence says a lot — dick jokes and all.