Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 talks "A Different Spin" and Stealing from Kanye West and John Mayer
Fri, 17 Sep 2010 15:12:23
Blink-182 vocalist and bassist Mark Hoppus has wielded a razor sharp wit since day one.
With a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and a knack for a hook, he and Tom DeLonge wrote some of the most clever and catchy anthems of disillusionment for a generation raised by The Real World on the brink of discovering Internet porn. Blink-182 shined a little light onto rock 'n' roll, and every song could spark a party. Mark carries that sensibility over seamless to his new gig hosting A Different Spin with Mark Hoppus on FUSE. Alongside co-host Amy Schumer, Hoppus interviews some of the hottest acts in music, featuring fun, off-the-cuff segments and live performances.
Blink-182's Mark Hoppus discusses his brand new show "A Different Spin with Mark Hoppus" on FUSE, some current iPod selections, his favorite TV hosts and stealing from Kanye West and John Mayer in this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino.
What makes A Different Spin "different"?
It's different because we're going to make it different! [Laughs] We're going to make it super fun. It's all things music, and there's really nothing like it on TV right now. We're going to have in-studio performances, interviews, road reports, field pieces, panel discussions and more. We're going to put anything having to do with music that we think is fun on the show! We have total creative control, so it's great.
It's pretty boundless within the realm of music.
It's focused on music, for sure. However, if we could get an interview with Brad Pitt and talk to him about his favorite bands, we're going to. We always want to tie whatever we do back into music. I'm very excited! I want to get through these first couple shows so I can get completely used to it. Knock on wood, we're on a good track right now. We haven't taped any of the interviews yet though. We've just been rehearsing and filming test episodes. To have it actually underway will be a great feeling.
Is hosting something that you've always wanted to do? Or did you find this passion recently?
More so than hosting, I've always tried to be a gigantic proponent of new music and bands. Back in Blink-182's early days, we'd take bands that we loved out on tour. I started my own podcast called, "Hi, My Name is Mark" for a couple years. I've been doing some work with Spin Magazine for a column called "Hop on Pop" where we talk about new bands. The show is just a giant leap forward as far as that goes. I talk to artists that I love, have new bands on, play great music and do something different.
No one's doing anything this music-centric right now.
True! There's a lot less and less music being covered on TV. There are a lot fewer outlets for bands to perform and talk about music. Hopefully, this is going to fill a space that's out there right now.
How do you choose guests?
We try to structure the show so there's a big-name artist who people know very well that they tune in for. Then also we put on some new music that they might not have heard of and try to strike a good balance between very popular artists and acts that make up the undercurrent of music right now. For instance, on the first show we have John Mayer as the guest and Neon Trees are performing. On the second episode, we have Linkin Park as guests and The National are performing.
It seems like there's a diversity inherent in the choice of acts.
Yeah, we want it to be really diverse. We don't want to simply stick to alternative rock or anything like that. We want to run the gamut from anything and everything our crew is interested in—be it indie rock, hip hop, dance or a rad country artist. As long as we like it and we're passionate about it, we'll want it to be on the show.
Humor is so integral to Blink-182. Does that sense of humor extend to hosting for you?
Absolutely! I think we have to concentrate more on keeping on track with our interviews and our subjects and tone down the ridiculous comedy that Amy and I have. Amy's a brilliant comic! She's really quick-witted and foul-mouthed. She's a total fan of music. Once we start talking, it just goes in a hurry! I think the comedy will definitely be a gigantic part of the show.
Was the chemistry between you and Amy instant?
Yeah, once I got the job hosting, we auditioned a bunch of co-hosts. From the first minute that Amy and I were on camera together, it felt like we'd been friends for years. We have very similar tastes in comedy and timing. We really play off of each other very well.
There's a rhythm to comedy that's very musical.
True! For A Different Spin, she's like Tom is in Blink-182 to me. We just play off of each other, and we're always trying to one-up each other and see who can say the most outrageous thing.
You probably know most of the guests…
We've played shows with Linkin Park and hung out together. John Mayer and I are actually friends back in Los Angeles, so it's really cool to have a perspective as an artist while interviewing other artists. It's a lot different being on the other side in the interview chair: I'm the one who's asking the questions now! Hopefully, that's an advantage I have where I've played in bands for 20 years, I've been in the music industry and I know this stuff. I think I know what's interesting for bands to talk about and what's actually interesting for artists as well as fans.
Has the show been in the making for awhile?
It's been in the making at FUSE for a couple of years now. For me, it just happened at the end of last year. They called me up and had this idea for a show. It sounded like something I'd be really interested in. I flew out to New York, and we did a couple of tests. They said they wanted me to do it, and I was down. It just started from there.
Were there any TV hosts you grew up watching and looked up to?
All of them! I've always loved David Letterman. I love Jay Leno. Conan O'Brien's amazing. Growing up, if I could stay up late enough to watch Johnny Carson, that was a huge thing. They all have different styles and their own personalities. They all bring their own takes. That's what makes them interesting hosts. They're accessible yet not vanilla.
When you hit the stage, you can take on that iconic rock star presence but, at the same time, you're a regular dude. So people identify with you on both levels.
Thanks! That's a huge compliment, I appreciate that. In Blink-182, that's something we've always done. We've never thought of our performances as anything but a giant party that everyone's invited to. We're the hosts of that party! We're not self-important guys on stage saying, "Witness my art!" [Laughs] You know?
Everybody can have a good time and cut loose. That's what rock 'n' roll is about.
I think so too! That's kind of energy that we're trying to bring to this show.
You must be psyched about Epicenter.
We're really excited about Epicenter! That's going to be a really fun way to end the touring cycle before we go back into the studio and start recording the next Blink-182 record.
You guys are tighter now than ever!
Thanks, that's how we feel! We really are trying to make the Blink-182 shows a dynamic, fun, rad musical experience! I think we take our playing a lot more seriously now than we ever have in our careers. At the same time, we love to have a good time. We're really happy to be touring and having this response from people for sure.
Will hosting help inform you creatively with your music? Getting to bounce off other artists is invaluable.
For sure! Anytime you talk with another artist, discuss things or meet new people, it influences your world perspective in some way. I'm really hoping I can steal a bunch of ideas from creative geniuses like John Mayer and, hopefully, Kanye West and take their ideas and claim them as my own [Laughs].
Good artists borrow and great ones steal!
What are you listening to right now?
Right now, before I talked to you I was listening to Fugazi. I'm really into Best Coast. I actually got an album by Band of Horses from a few years ago that I'm really into right now. It's just a bunch of obscure awesome indie rock cooler-than-you music that I like [Laughs].
What's your favorite Blink-182 song? Are you excited to see Mark host?