In the world of teen-targeted rock, where proud virgin Britney Spears coos Hit Me Baby One More Time and the Backstreet Boys uncork cloudy carnal cravings from their fuzz-faced fans, Blink 182 are more about cock than coquettishness.They sing and talk to the awakening obsession of their young audience -- sex -- with honesty and humour, traits loudly missing from the sanitized songs of the scene's saccharine sweethearts.
So when Blink's lead singer, Tom DeLonge, mid-show during their Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens gig in the fall, asks everybody with a big dick to raise their hands, my 13-year-old son and I exchange a glance and then point skyward along with about half the evenly gender-split audience of teens and pre-teens.
DeLonge taunts and teases the crowd of now-smiling boys along with the tank-topped young girls who are challenging the arm-raisers around them. Panties are tossed at the singers, who are determined to deconstruct the rock-star myth.
Momentum is continually allowed to dissipate while the singers stop to wisecrack and riff on what goofs rock stars are.
"Look at what kind of job we have," says DeLonge incredulously. "I can do this," he says, knocking a mike to the ground, "and some guy has to do this" as a dutiful roadie rushes to right the fallen stand.
As the band tears through another poppy punk powerhouse, one of the few dads in the house gets caught up and says to his 12-year-old, "It's just like Sabbath."
"No, it's not, Dad," he's told dismissively. Blink 182, from videos that take the piss out of rock-star excess to shows where they blow off their pyro between songs -- just to fuck around -- tap into the rawness of rock, tickling titillation while sharing a sage message with their young fans: Don't take rock, or sex, too seriously.
"We know you're all going home to masturbate tonight -- we can see you," they assure the room of fans, and, yes, it is funny how condoms look so much like balloons.