Music Article

Nude Sensation

Blink-182 delivers songs and laughs--We get serious with the pop-punk band

The members of Blink-182 are not above toilet humor. Right now, they're not even above the toilet. At a photographer's behest, the three have plopped themselves into an empty bathtub in a swank Beverly Hills hotel. Their sense of humor is already on the potty-minded side, so putting them at eye level with a latrine is only asking for trouble.

Mark Hoppus leans out of the tub to get a little elbow room, swirls the Diet Coke in his brandy snifter, and shifts his gaze from bandmates Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker toward the nearby commode. He decides that the luxurious bathroom is lacking at least one essential accoutrement: ''What you really need is a shelf there,'' Hoppus explains, ''so you can set your drink down while you — ''

Uh, what's your age again? It may determine whether you greet Blink's scatological and, in this case, self-pleasuring humor with a snicker or groan. Certainly, the trio's triple-platinum third album, last year's Enema of the State, has been found immensely gratifying by a teen audience hungry for pop-punk. That's thanks to hummable hits like ''What's My Age Again?'' in which the narrator laments getting dumped by his girl after attention deficit disorder causes him to switch on the TV mid-fellati...oh, you get the idea. The ubiquitous video for the tune found the band eschewing Gucci for their favorite brand of suits — the birthday kind.

Proving that their rapidly expanding fan base isn't limited to hairy-palmed lads, this month the Blinksters have crossed over from alt-rock radio and landed their first top 10 single with ''All the Small Things.'' Its video forgoes nudity to concentrate on parodying the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync videos that run right before and after theirs on MTV's Total Request Live every day.

Blink-182 may not be a ''boy band'' themselves, but men will be boys: What Enema really flushes up is a perfect encapsulation of the American adolescent male mind-set circa 1999. ''We are exactly the same as kids hanging out in high school or junior high, making fart jokes and talking about girls,'' says singer-bassist Hoppus. ''Tom always wonders, if you gave a 14-year-old kid a microphone and a bunch of people to say something in front of, what would he say? That's us.'' He pauses. ''Although I'm 27.''

Hoppus and DeLonge are pretty much the pair for whom the phrase Am I gonna have to split you two up? was invented. They bonded almost instantly upon meeting nearly a decade ago in San Diego's skateboard scene. ''It sounds stupid and gay, but the first time we sat down and played together, it was just magical,'' says guitarist DeLonge, 24, who shares singing and songwriting duties with Hoppus. ''We played exactly the same, but he was doing it on bass guitar.'' They turned out to be brothers in temperament as well as punk tempo. ''In each band you've always got the loud one, the wild one, or whatever. We have two a--holes and a quiet guy'' — the latter being Barker, 24, who took over on drums two years ago after their original skins-man left for undisclosed reasons. Barker may be shyer, but he has no compunctions about nudity, which seems to be one of Blink-182's job requirements. Chuckles Enema producer Jerry Finn, ''I saw them naked more than I ever care to see anyone naked. In the mastering studio — pretty much anywhere.''

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