A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Travis Barker Finds "Bright Side" of a "Horrific" Life in New Memoir


When done right, autobiographies can be masterworks of literature. They can take you inside the mind of a person/personality, and intimately let you into their lives. Most times, however, they follow a template and come off as formulaic story without the Clara Peller beef. Joe Perry managed to avoid the bottomless bargain bin with his unique, honest, and well-written Rocks last year, and Travis Barker has done it this year. With CAN I SAY: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums Drums Drums, the Blink 182 drummer is at his most vulnerable - revealing truths about drug addiction, failed marriage and projects, and the outer and inner wounds left from a 2008 plane crash that claimed the lives of four, and left him with second and third degree burns over about 1/3 of his body. The overdose of close friend Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein, who also survived the crash, is also discussed at length. Overall, the book, co-written by Rolling Stone contributing editor Gavin Edwards, hits you like a punch to the gut but there's an overall sense of hope and redemption throughout. It's an intimate look into Barker's life, his craft, his highs, his lows, and his in-betweens. Last month, I was fortunate to chat with the gifted drummer about his book, band, and breakthroughs.

The obvious first question - why did you decide to sit down and write this book at this moment in time?
I never really spoke about the accident. I remember when it happened, everyone was asking me to. I was like 'hey man, I can't just talk about this on Larry King or Oprah.' For me, I would've bawled my eyes out or had done something crazy. I couldn't even think about it without crying. A couple years ago, I just stopped doing press, because the accident or Adam were always mentioned by some journalist. I was finally like 'fuck it, I'm not going to do press anymore.' When the idea of a book came along, I considered it and met with different people. With Gavin, it just dawned on me that it should be him. He'd went with us (Blink 182) to Iraq, and had written about us a lot. He knew us, and he knew me. It seemed like a fit. I contacted him, and we sat down. The rest is history.

Touring with a band and doing a book tour are two vastly different things. Tell me how nice it was to get so up close and personal with fans at the various signings you've done a nd how they related to the book.
You know there were signings where there would be like 600 kids some days. I'd have them come up to me, and say 'look, I've been suicidal for the last two years. I stopped cutting myself two weeks ago after reading your book.' There were people who'd come up and say 'I've been sober three months.' So many stories like that... It was incredible to connect with the fans. It was so personal and raw - something so much more intimate.

To continue reading this interview, click here.

A-Sides' "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve" based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week (no matter when they were released -- think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, song posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls and, most importantly: what my toddler is currently enjoying thoroughly with an assist from my infant.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Jon Chattman's music series features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Air Supply, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds and Bastille.