Travis Barker is a genuine drumming celebrity, a larger-than-life personality with chops and talent to match the tabloid headlines. He came to fame with the highly successful pop-punk band Blink-182 and has moved on to play with groups such as +44, The Transplants, and Box Car Racer — all this while keeping busy in his “free” time by producing hip-hop beats, taking piano lessons, writing songs, and starring in his own reality TV series.
Born on November 14, 1975 in Fontana, California, Barker got his first drum set at age four. His mother’s death the day before the start of his freshman year of high school had a huge impact on Barker, urging him to get serious about his craft. Barker played in the school’s jazz ensemble, earning second chair in the drum line. In the mid-to-late ’90s Barker became involved in the punk scene, playing with Feeble before joining The Aquabats, who released The Fury Of The Aquabats in 1997.
While on tour with The Aquabats, headliners Blink-182 asked Barker to fill in for drummer Scott Raynor, who had recently been ejected from the band. Astoundingly, Barker saved Blink-182’s show by learning 20 songs in one day and performing them almost flawlessly later that night. Once a full-fledged member of Blink, Barker quickly earned a reputation with his inventive and energetic punk drumming, which combined rapid-fire sixteenth-note fills with colorful accents and pin-point accuracy to accompany the punchy riffs and catchy lyrics of bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge.
During their seven-year career, Blink-182 released several top-selling albums, including the quintuple-platinum Enema Of The State (1999). In the process, Barker gained worldwide fame for his spunky and innovative pop-punk drumming, winning his first DRUMMIE! Award for Drummer Of The Year in 2001.
In 2005 Blink-182 went on indefinite hiatus, and Barker took the chance to spend more time with his family before forming +44 with Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus — originally an electronic-based project that later fell into the alternative rock genre. Additionally, Barker began putting more energy into The Transplants, a genre-bending collaboration formed in 2002 between Barker, Rancid singer/guitarist Tim Armstrong, and singer “Skinhead Rob” Ashton that mixes hip-hop, punk, and drum ’n’ bass rhythms. He also kept busy working in a variety of styles with various groups, recording for such artists as Avril Lavinge and Pink.
After barely surviving a high-profile plain crash in September 2008 that killed four other members of his entourage, Barker’s return to the stage took on a whole new significance. And now, with Blink-182’s reunion, his star power promises to only grow brighter in the years ahead.
- BANDSBlink-182, +44, The Transplants, Independent
- DATE OF BIRTHNovember 14, 1975
- INFLUENCES Stewart Copeland, Tommy Lee, Tré Cool, Latin beats, hip-hop
- FACTOIDAfter breaking his foot in Australia while on tour in 2004, Travis Barker played out the remainder of the U.S. dates left-footed with his kit reversed.
DRUMS ORANGE COUNTY DRUM & PERCUSSION
24″ x 22″ Bass Drum
14″ x 6.5″ Modern Classic Snare Drum
10″ x 5″ Snare
12″ x 10″ Tom
16″ x 14″ Floor Tom
14″ Mastersound Hi-Hats
11″ K Custom Hybrid Splash
20″ K Crash/Ride
22″ K Ride
21″ Brilliant Sweet Ride
20″ Oriental Crash Of Doom
Other Endorsements DW hardware and pedals, Zildjian sticks, Remo heads, LP percussion, and Roland electronics.