Heavens, Patent Pending
Your divorce ultimately inspired a lot of the 2010 album This Addiction. Was the catharsis
of writing that record any different to, say, a ‘normal’ breakup?
No, because all marriage is a fucking piece of paper. Our wedding was the best wedding I’ve ever been to. It was fucking beautiful and not your typical wedding. It was one of the best times I ever had, but when money and the ‘this is mine and this is yours’ garbage come into play, you’re writing from a place of anger rather than hurt, because somebody is bleeding you dry – whether it’s monetarily or emotionally or, in my case, both. It’s a different kind of pain, but by the time it gets to paper and through a guitar and on to a tape it’s pretty much the same thing. Pain is pain.
You mentioned you weren’t religious earlier, but when 2005 record Crimson came out, a lot was made of the fact that you’re a card-carrying member of the Church of Satan. Do you think people misunderstood what that actually meant?
I love the art and the fashion and the aesthetic of the Church Of Satan. That’s what always drew me to it. I have a lot of books about black magic and demonology, and I err on the side of that being real, but I wasn’t putting curses on people. And there was a time when I would say I was a Satanist. Me and Derek bought each other Church of Satan membership cards for Christmas because we didn’t want to pay the $300 or whatever it was to join, so that kind of shows you how loyal a member I am. For me, it was all aesthetics, and my interests were solely on the black arts. Then a friend of mine gave me a book that I have on my coffee table to this day. She introduced more of what a witch would call white magic – or, as I’ll put it, positivity, kindness, beauty. You also keep revenge and all the seven deadly sins in your pocket because they’re good to have, but you need balance. Before that good juju came into my life, there were a lot of kids who really loved it, but somebody said to me recently, ‘Your band probably would have been a lot bigger had you not had the satanic imagery,’ and my answer to that was, ‘Good!’ I feel people made a bigger deal of it than it actually is. I’m still a fan of black magic, but I’ve also learned such a lot in the last 20 years that that little black-magic kid seems like a different person to me now. I mean, I have crystals at my house that I meditate with. I’m such a fucking hippy. But it works for me and if you were me you’d do it, too. You’d try fucking anything.
How long did you have to think about the decision to join blink-182 when you were offered the chance in 2015?
What does blink-182 give you that Alkaline Trio doesn’t? Presumably you’re dealing with a whole other level of fame right now that you never had before?
I’ve been around really, really famous people – legitimately where you walk down the street and people start screaming and stuff – and that doesn’t look like any fun to me. A lot more people know who I am, but I feel like fame isn’t a real thing. It’s an idea of something. I think you can chase fame and you can inflate it or you can shy away from it. I think it’s a lot easier for men, because they make women sex symbols when somebody becomes really famous. But people are always pretty nice to me and I’m friends with the same people I was before. It’s all about how you treat it. I think the one thing that blink does that Alkaline Trio didn’t is… my parents have always been very supportive, but now that I play in blink, all of my parents’ friends are so jazzed that it makes my folks excited. From the outside looking in, it is a huge new step – it’s definitely a point in my life that will always stand out. It’s been fucking wild. But I haven’t really let fame into my little weird world.