As the new millennium officially kicked off, the music industry was about to see a major shift. Although physical album sales would continue to see mass consumption for another few years, file sharing and digital MP3s were beginning to proliferate, opening the door to a world where music fans didn’t actually have to pay in order to listen to their favourite music. Apart from illegal downloads, the internet was also quickly expanding the number of artists who were fighting for attention in the crowded world of music. The monoculture, a setting where everyone sees the same movies, watches the same shows, and listens to the same music, was coming to a swift end.
2000 was a fascinating year when you consider who was on top of the music industry mountain. Rap and hip hop were beginning their takeover of mainstream culture, and in just a few years’ time, the genre would become synonymous with pop music. Indie rock was beginning to bubble up in hotbeds like New York City, but for fans of guitar music, genres like nu-metal, pop-punk, and rap-rock were the flavours of the day.
One of the biggest bands in the world was Blink-182, the snot-nosed and sophomoric California trio who spat out two-minute pop songs disguised as punk rock. Blink wasn’t an overnight success story: nearly a decade of anonymous club gigs honed their craft, while a change in drummer allowed them to reach new musical heights. When Enema of the State dropped in the summer of 1999, Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Travis Barker went from scrappy underground Warped Tour favourites to mainstream hitmakers.
Thanks to the power of singles like ‘All the Small Things’ and ‘Adam’s Song’, Blink-182 were now on mainstream radio, headlining major festivals, and finding themselves among music’s biggest success stories. Their brand of short-burst pop tunes mixed with soft-loud dynamics and crude humour appealed to legions of teenagers across the world, and soon imitators began to filter through the halls that Blink had dominated for ten years.
When Blink arrived at Howard Stern’s New York studio in early January of 2000, Enema of the State was already certified triple platinum. Coinciding with a well-placed cameo in 1999’s American Pie, Enema of the State saw the band members become instantly recognizable rock stars on par with the likes of Dave Grohl and Billie Joe Armstrong. Whether it’s because of the exhaustion of promotion or the rapid influx of success that had come to them over the past six months, Blink-182 seem absolutely fried during their Stern appearance.
Hoppus can barely stay on key while DeLonge’s guitar arpeggios miss as much as they hit. Barker is solid behind the kit, but even he seems more restrained and uncomfortable in the cramped setting than normal. For a band whose entire brand is centred around loose fun, it doesn’t appear as though anyone is having even a little bit of fun during the performance of ‘What’s My Age Again’. Although they wouldn’t become more pronounced for a few more years, you can see the first cracks in Blink’s foundation here as the overwhelming success and attention starts to kick back at the band.
Check out Blink-182’s 2000 performance of ‘What’s My Age Again’ on The Howard Stern Show below.