San Diego punk-pranksters are back with their second album Dude Ranch bassist Mark Hoppus tells Truepunk. Interview by Steve Tauschke with Mark Hoppus.
Hey Mark, tell us about your idea of a Dude Ranch?
"Well, there's another definition, like when everyone says 'yeah, it's gonna be a great party' and everyone's like 'yeah, there's gonna be all kinds of hot girls there' or whatever but when you show up it's all guys."
Just sitting around a bong?
So you would you contrast Dude Ranch to your debut Cheshire Cat in terms of your approach to songwriting and recording?
"Well, Cheshire Cat we did in LA in three days and this album was recorded in San Diego over the course of about a month. We took a lot more time to try to get things to sound better and do better performances at each of our posts. I also felt a lot more pressure on this record whereas on the last one we were a tiny small band who'd never done any touring at all and it was our first album. I was just just stoked to have something to sell at our shows or whatever but for this album I felt people expected more from us. I felt we had to make a much better record and still keep our minds together."
Was moving to a major a big step for you?
"It was a huge step. It took a year and a half to decide exactly what we wanted to do because we wanted to make the right choice. Obviously there was a lot of concern about signing with a major because we grew up in the whole mind set that major labels were inherently evil. The problem with Cargo, they are a great label and they worked really hard but they just weren't able to get our records out to as many places as we needed them to. We have a better distribution with MCA and they honestly seem like a great label so far. They've been completely supportive and haven't pushed us to do stuff that would be out of character for us."
Have you kept your Fun With Goats publishing deal?
"Oh yeah, we kept our publishing rights for Cheshire Cat and so we had to make our own publishing company, Fun With Goats. It's always been a running joke in the band and for some reason we think sex with animals is funny and in fact for a long time we kept telling everyone we were going to name our next album Heavy Petting Zoo and then NOFX beat us to the punch. So now we just look like we're copying NOFX, haha! I mean we write songs about things that happen to us and our friends and we try to keep a sense of humor about everything. A lot of bands just get way down on trying to act really self-important and have a really strong message and there's definitely a place for that. But there's also a time to have fun with your friends and just say 'fuck everything'."
So is Blink your day job at the moment?
"Luckily we're able to scrape by with the money we make from the band. We're doing pretty good with the band but we're not able to be the full rock stars, buying cars and things like that. We survive on our band which is all we ever wanted to do, and we get to travel and hang out with our friends so you won't hear any complaints from us really."
I saw you on the Warped Tour in Florida last year and people seemed to really warm to you?
"Definitely! And this year is going to be the biggest ever! Warped is doing the US and Europe and it might go to Japan again and Australia."
So how does the whole skate-punk thing go down in Japan?
"It did ok in Japan. It did three shows there and we played one of them and it was a lot of fun. Japan rules - I love that place."
"It's completely un-Americanized! There's definitely influences of American culture here and there, like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken but for the most part it's all authentic Japanese, just like you would imagine it to be."
On your recent tour, you had surfer Rob Machaddo on board with you right?
"Yeah, he's a friend of ours, just through the surfers we know. We brought his band (Sack Lunch) on tour with us a few times. He's just a great guy."