In Their Own Words: Travis Barker
When we last spoke with kit-crushing mixtape king Travis Barker, the drummer was still on the mend from a devastating plane wreck he suffered in the fall of 2009. Our latest chat was under happier circumstances: the seventh annual MusInk Tattoo Convention & Music Festival, a three-day weekend of music, custom lolos and muscle cars, and world renowned skin art that Barker's apparel company, Famous Stars And Straps, had the honor of presenting. When not playing CEO, Barker can be found trading fours with his favorite drummers, crashing the NAMM show, or sampling Austin's best BBQ. He was gracious enough to share the details of his crazy life as he rode shotgun to his North Hollywood studio for rehearsal with the Transplants, the headliner on Day 2 of MusInk.
Ink Is Forever
A couple my great friends that are tattoo artists — and have done a bunch of my tattoos and were a part MuseInk — wanted to get me involved through Famous or through one of my bands. And I was like, "Well, shoot man, this festival is like everything I'm about: Tattoos, skateboarding, music, cars — I'll do whatever." So then the next thing I know they're like, "Will you present it?" You have a group of tattoo artists that are traveling all across the world just to be there that day. You might get work done that you normally would have to have to to Europe or Japan to get done." Famous' first group of T-shirt graphics 15 years ago were all tattoo-inspired.
Briding The Punk/Hip Hop Divide
Descendents are playing, Vandals are playing — just some of my favorite bands of all time. And the last night, which is "hardcore night," has Gorilla Biscuits, another band that changed my life, and then H20, Strife, and Judge. But then there's also a whole rap element with TECH N9NE. This is something that really hasn't been in any tattoo convention, having any rap music, and it felt like they were missing out on a huge market there. My other band, Transplants, kind of appeals to both crowds. I'm stoked not [just as the presenter] but I'm going to be there to witness every night. I am so excited, man, like Bill Stevenson [of the Descendents] is one of the greatest punk rock drummers early on. This is not only my favorite tattoo artists but great drummers are going to be there as well.
Messing With Texas
Yelawolf and I just did South By Southwest together. We had two Famous Stars And Straps showcases out there where we had everyone from Slim Thug to Paul Wall, Bun B, Trae Tha Truth, Hopsin, Rittz, Mod Son, Problem, Bad Luck — it was just a crazy, crazy showcase.
The next day Yelawolf and I played the Rachael Ray showcase [laughs], but she had a really dope show cooked up.
Who's Your Daddy?
Chris "Daddy" Dave and I got together a week before I left for Texas. We played for like an hour and half straight, just shedded back and forth. We didn't speak the whole time we played drums. And then we both just ended the same time and it was dope. When I did Zildjian's Instagram Takeover I put a little clip of our jam on there, so maybe we will find parts of it and release it. He is a very innovative experimental drummer who I love to watch and listen to.
Trade Show Trade-Off
I caught up with Aaron Spears and Thomas Pridgen, who are good friends of mine, and just chopped it up. We were getting followed everywhere we went by tons of people [around the Anaheim Convention Center]. And I wanted to sit there and sign and talk to everyone, but it was just a madhouse, man. So the Zildjian people just ended up dragging me in the back. [chuckles] I went to the Remo booth, hoping I'd get to play marching stuff, but they were like, "Dude, you're causing too much chaos at our booth! Get outta here!" [laughs] I was basically kicked out of NAMM, which was kind of messed up, but for me, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I just want to be there and mess with the drums, but at the same time I never want to walk away from a fan, or someone who, you know, is just asking "what up?" to me.
As time goes on all of my skin grafts, they just get better and better. You know, it'll never be exactly the same, but I've gotten so used to playing with my injuries, you know? Like, people forget I have half the feeling in my left hand. But, man, I can't let anything like that slow me down or stop me. I don't like having excuses, so after everything that I've been through, I'm just appreciative that I still get to play every day and still get to do what I love.
Blink And You Miss Them
If I had it my way Blink would have five records under our belts by now. But it takes quite a bit to get everyone in the same room and to get everyone's schedules popping, but my mind is open. It hasn't come to where we have been able to get into the studio, which is kind of a bummer. We have shows this summer in Reading and Leeds, but in the meantime I just stay busy playing with all my other projects and starting on my next solo album. Something new is always coming up. Man, I am just doing what I love, which is playing drums. If all the Blink guys want to get in a room together I'm super-down to record a new album, but it just hasn't happened yet, and it sucks.