Friday, April 20, 2012
Blink-182's Mark Hoppus adopts Chelsea
By Zach McCann
Last summer, Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 decided he had had enough of Southern California. He'd lived there his entire life -- between all the music travels and tour stops -- and needed a change.
So he uprooted his wife and 9-year-old son to live in London for a year.
The weather is colder, he walks instead of drives and there are historic buildings everywhere -- marking quite the contrast from the sunny concrete of SoCal.
And in London, everybody there loves soccer, something the 39-year-old rocker has tried to embrace. He's thrown his soccer support behind Chelsea FC, the high-spending English Premier League team that boasts international superstars Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres.
Drogba's goal on Wednesday night helped the Blues to a 1-0 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal. The second leg of the series is next week in Spain.
And despite moving to another country, Hoppus returned with his old bandmates to create a new album, "Neighborhoods," which was released in September -- the first album of new material in eight years for the trio of Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker.
Hoppus travels back to New York to host his television show, "Hoppus on Music," which airs on Fuse at midnight ET on Thursday nights.
Mark Hoppus and Blink-182 will be back out on the road in May.
Blink-182 is also heading out on a wide-ranging tour, which begins May 10 in Thackerville, Okla., and wraps up on July 21 in Lisbon, Portugal.
We caught up with Hoppus to talk about his new team, the strange way he's treated by English soccer fans and what parts of soccer he thinks "make no sense."
When you moved to London, you decided to throw yourself into supporting Chelsea FC of the English Premier League. How's that gone?
It's been an educational experience for me, for sure. When Blink toured over here, it always fascinated me, the passion and fanaticism people had for their team. They are dedicated, lifelong fans who are totally committed to their team. So I started following it and I'm kind of into it now. When I moved to London, I wanted to take my hometown team. The closest is Chelsea, so that's my hometown team. Once you declare your loyalty to a team, every person who doesn't support that team, it's their job to ruin you, to tell you you're an idiot and to tell you that you made the wrong choice. [Laughs]
Chelsea is one of the highest-spending and most successful teams in the world. Do you worry about being called a front-runner?
They kind of have the reputation for being the Yankees of the Premier League. They have a bunch of money behind them and they'll pay for the best players, but the best team in any sport across the world will do what it takes to get the best players.
How have interactions with the English fans been?
It's strange because I'll tweet about it or post it on my Facebook when Chelsea is playing. And one time we got our asses handed to us, so I was like, "Hey, too bad for us, but congratulations to Manchester United on a great game." And people over here were like, "Why would you ever congratulate the other team for beating your team?" You're supposed to blame the refs, the conditions on the field, the position of the sunlight. [Laughs] You never say congratulations.
Wait so you're saying we Americans are more polite than the British?
[Laughs] I think by and large, painting with a very wide brush, on the whole, the U.K. is more polite than the U.S. When it comes to sports, though, I think they put everyone else to shame in terms of, "It's my team or death."
Is it all soccer, all the time over there? Or are you into any other sports in the U.K. that aren't necessarily popular over here?
Living over here, I've really gotten into televised darts. [Laughs] Dart championships. Another interest, I have no idea about these two sports, but I'm interested in cricket and rugby. I have no idea anything about them. I know cricket takes, like, five days to play one game.
Have you always been a sports fan?
The last few years I became a lot more into sports. Growing up, the sports I liked were independent sports, like skateboarding. I was really into skateboarding, and not necessarily team televised sports. The past five or six years I've gotten more into American football, and a little bit into the NBA. I've also liked hockey for a long time now. I basically just know enough to get by the dinner-party conversation. I can have an opinion and support my opinion. I can't spit out any stats, but I can at least carry out my end of the conversation.
Has your interest in these sports helped you break the ice in your new culture?
Totally. I think for men especially -- and women, as well -- it breaks the ice. I was fortunate enough to get invited to the Carling Cup [an English soccer tournament, which Liverpool won in penalties over Cardiff City on Feb. 26]. I was in a group of 12 people I've never met, but we can still talk about the game and different players, and how your team's doing and my team's doing. It's a good way to bridge cultural gaps. I was talking about how I didn't know anything about cricket or rugby. So it's definitely a nice way to break the ice and meet new people. And for guys at a dinner party, it's all we really have. [Laughs] It's all we have. Then you ask if there are good movies out, or if there are any good new bands. That's it.
For such an intense guy -- always traveling, always creating music, and even your music is fast-paced -- soccer seems like a slow sport for you.
Oh my God, OK, as an American I cannot stand a 0-0 game. I cannot stand the fact they allow draws and all that in the first place. How you can have a sports match and not have a victor? It's wrong. [Laughs] It's wrong in my eyes. That makes no sense. You watch a game for 90 minutes and no one scores and people walk off and shake hands. It's wrong. No. Someone has to win. That's a fundamental flaw in the system you have. That should never happen. Someone has to walk out of the stadium a winner and a loser, that's the only thing that makes any sense.
We Americans don't go for ties.
They're like, 'Oh, it's a draw today.' How boring is that? They'll say there were some great attempts and great saves. 'Oh, the defense was amazing today!' [Laughs] Amazing defense. That makes no sense at all. That's them trying to cover their ass because it seems like a waste of time. [Laughs] But I'm a visitor in a different land so I have to abide the best I can. But it makes no sense.