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Blink 182 Despondent Over New Album's Poor Review in North Bay Nugget

Blink 182 in happier times, prior to the infamous North Bay Nugget panning of Take off your Pants and Jacket

San Diego based pop-punk band Blink 182 are said to be overcome with grief after the North Bay Nugget gave their new album a mere two stars out of the maximum five.

Sources close to the group claim that they are seriously considering disbanding on the basis of the review by North Bay freelance journalist Denton Mecklenberg. In the review of the band's Take off your Pants and Jacket, Mecklenberg called the album both "tired" and "vapid" while also labeling the disc as "a retrograde and cynical manipulation of teenagers' wallets lacking in any new ideas or direction."

A source said to be a confidant of the band confirmed that the group immediately cancelled the remainder of their summer dates with the Edgefest Tour after reading the review in question. A press release issued last week by the band made no direct reference to the North Bay Nugget review, but the link appears obvious.

The brief communiqué stated that Blink 182 is presently on "indefinite hiatus" and "re-evaluating their future as musicians and as a band," while asking for respect of their families' privacy during "this difficult time."

The three members of the band, Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, were unavailable for comment.

Take off your Pants and Jacket, which has sold 3 million copies worldwide since its release six weeks ago, is certainly a commercial success. But critical approval from the influential Northern Ontario press is crucial for most band's 'street' credibility, explained DePaul Weston, a music critic for Rolling Stone magazine.

"Regardless of sales, a group does not typically consider an album a true, unabashed success without positive reviews from the North Bay Nugget, and, to a lesser extent, journals such as the Timmins Daily Press and the Sudbury Star," said Weston.

Although the band cited the infamous 'creative differences,' most music industry insiders have said off the record that the real reason Seattle mega-group Soundgarden broke up in 1997 was due to a scathing review of their final album, Down on the Upside, in the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal in late 1996.

Denton Mecklenberg

Mecklenberg, for his part, remained defiant, claiming that he calls it as he sees it.

"Were my comments acidic and biting? Yes. Were they factually accurate? Yes they were."

The three-time recipient of the Northern Ontario Music Critic of the Year award was quick to point out that he gave a generally positive three and-a-half star review of Blink 182's last album, 1999's Enema of the State.

"They might as well have called this most recent "effort" (Mecklenberg asked that that word be put in quotations) Enema of the State part 2," chuckled the critic snidely.

While Mecklenberg expressed dismay for the band's uncertain future out of respect for its fans, he refused to accept any responsibility for Blink 182's plight:

"If you make a good record, I will give it a good review. You make a half-assed record that rests shamelessly on your laurels, I will not give it a good review. Myself and the North Bay Nugget have standards to uphold."

"I owe it to the discriminating North Bay music fan. Without me, how would the folks here know what CDs to buy at Wal-Mart?"

Posted on July 27th, 2001

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