Punk trio Blink-182 to reunite this summer

Matilda Swartz

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards kept the audience in a whirlwind of emotion.

Just when onlookers everywhere were fanning themselves from the thrill ride that was a Stevie Wonder/Jonas Brothers mash up, along came a much-appreciated turn of events.

The trio formerly known as Blink-182: Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker graced the stage to drop the reunion bomb before announcing the year’s best rock album. Blink-182 is officially playing music together again.

Whether you idolize them, consider them too mainstream for your tastes or hide them in your box of guilty pleasures, their story is still a classic.

1993-era San Diego was the beginning of it all for then-band Blink, consisting of bassist/vocalist Hoppus, guitarist/vocalist Delonge and drummer Scott Raynor.

A couple of years, an EP and two full-length albums (“Cheshire Cat,” “Buddha”) later, the band was forced to alter its name after legal threats were promised by an identically titled Irish band.

They tacked on the now-universally recognized three digit combination “182” in 1996.

The band’s third official album, but first under its new name and dual label Cargo/MCA, “Dude Ranch,” was released in 1997 and acquired platinum status by the end of the following year.

Such is the result when bands provide raging teenage fans with basic but ever-so-catchy ear-bugs.

After making the total crossover to MCA and exchanging Raynor for Aquabats’ drummer Barker, Blink-182 released its fourth album, “Enema of the State.”

If radio-listeners’ and MTV devotees’ radars had not yet detected Blink-182, by 1999, they certainly had.

Between the album’s pun of a name, the suggestive cover and comical singles like “What’s My Age Again,” “All the Small Things” and the more somber and comtemplative “Adam’s Song,” there was enough spunk and spontaneity to please the masses.

The trio, with two credible albums under their studded belts, released “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,” a neat 13-track package of more easy hits including “First Date,” “Rock Show” and “Stay Together for the Kids.”

After making yet another label conversion, this time to Geffen, Blink-182 delivered again with a self-titled record in 2003.

Their sound showed maturity, losing some of the “devil may care” tone present in their prior work.

More seasoned lyrics and serious undertones graced tracks like “Down” and “I Miss You,” but there was still fun to be had (recall “Feeling This”).

Even the fruits of a victorious grown-up album were not enough to keep a dark cloud from looming nearby.

In late February 2005, after a couple of reneged engagements and unfortunate rumors, the band announced an “indefinite hiatus.”

Signs only worsened when Blink-182 made that seemingly final decision to release a greatest hits album later that year.

Despite the sudden separation and family lives, each member stayed active. Delonge perhaps found the greatest success as frontman of Angels and Airwaves, the alternative space-rock band responsible for the hit single “The Adventure.”

Hoppus focused on his clothing line Atticus and eventually teamed up with Barker for band +44.

Barker continued to make music with side-project The Transplants, oversaw clothing line Famous Stars & Straps, and had his own MTV reality show.

More recently, Barker was in a plane crash that left him hospitalized with second and third degree burns. He has since recovered.

Such has been the state of affairs for the last three years- each fraction of the band letting his own project simmer on low heat, each paling in comparison to the force they once were. Until now.

Following the awards show announcement, a “written statement” was issued on the band’s official Web site. The note is as blunt as it is vague. They confirm the reunion and let us know they are “writing … recording … Preparing to tour the world yet again … Summer 2009.”

In journalistic terms this covers the who, when and where, but an enigmatic air surrounds the what.

What can we expect? What should we expect? Must we be cynical and dash expectations altogether?

For the sake of the new year, the new president and new beginnings, some optimism may be in order.

The members of Blink-182 may all be fathers, husbands, or company chairs, but they are also well-rested.

After about four years of stagnation, one is led to conclude that by some law of nature, there must be a mass of energy just waiting to burst in the form of likable, sing-a-long-able riff-driven masterpieces.

The margin of the unknown is wide; a myriad of speculation will continue to mount over the next few months as the music world sits by watching. Waiting. Commiserating.

For now contentment can only be found in the joy that comes with welcoming back an old friend, or listening to a great song you haven’t heard in years and discovering you can still croon each lyric from memory.

So scroll through your mp3 player under “B” and prepare for a long-awaited summer engagement with Hoppus, Delonge and Barker. See you at the rock show.