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Beatles are our rheroes.

THEY'RE the all-American multimillion-selling kings of the three-minute pop-punk anthem. Blink 182 are the perennially teenage and - let''s admit it - hugely catchy punk-pop band that brought their Californian sounds to the world.

So I'm surprised when singer Mark Hoppus tells me he's moved to England for a year.

"It's really fun," he grins. "Really cold, but really fun. In California I get in my car and drive everywhere. Now I can walk pretty much everywhere I want to go.

"I've been to pretty much every tourist attraction. I loved Windsor Castle. That was ridiculously cool. And the Cabinet War Rooms were awesome. Now I'm heading north.

"When I come to Liverpool I am going to be the biggest Beatles tourist you've ever seen. I can't wait.

"We're massive Beatles fans, I grew up listening to British music and The Beatles were huge among my friends - I owe everything to those guys - so I'm going to be the biggest Beatles geek when I get to Liverpool. I'll be there at Paul and John's houses. Can you go to George and Ringo's too? I want to see everything while I'm there."

Mark and the lads will be in Liverpool this summer as part of their world tour.

Mark says they're looking forward to performing for the Liverpool crowd.

"It depends on the show, of course, but I think there is a real difference in the crowd depending on where you are," says Mark. "I've heard the crowd is great in Liverpool. I think the English crowds in general are really cool. You guys get really into the show. For a band, that's the best thing there is."

Blink 182 were formed in San Diego in 1992 by Mark and Tom De Longe and later joined by drummer Travis Barker. The band's breakthrough album, the excretion themed Enema Of The State, was released in 1999 and went on to sell in excess of 15 million copies worldwide. Their next two albums, Take Off Your Pants And Jacket and blink 182 cemented their position as a pop punk supergroup.

Now marking 20 years in the music business, they must have seen some changes.

"The music industry has changed almost beyond recognition," says Mark.

"It's a lot easier for bands to get their music out there these days. When we were starting out you needed record company backing, there was no recording on your phone and putting it on the internet. We recorded our demos on a four-track. It was really tough to get noticed.

"Every weekend I'd go to every record store in San Diego and try to get them to take a few of our records. I would make the sleeves myself, cut out all the liner notes myself. It was a lot of work, for at the time not that much reward. But that's what every band did in those days. But now that bit is easier, I think.

"The difficult bit for new bands now is rising above the noise. There is so much music out there now it's about filtering it and finding the best. I go on recommendations. If someone tells me about a great new band, I'll always check them out."

How about if the band hadn't worked out? "I was training to be a high school English teacher," explains Mark.

"So I hope I'd be doing that if I wasn't in the band. I was inspired when I was at school.

"My English teacher taught us Shakespeare - she brought the whole world to life for me. I learned so much about life and people from those plays.

"Maybe that's why I came to England. I have to admit I haven't been to the theatre yet. I keep meaning to. I want to go to Stratford on Avon too. I'm a Shakespeare tourist as well as a Beatles one."

While he's here, Mark is hoping the inspiration will rub off on him.

"I'm writing all the time now I'm over here," he says.

"I'm hoping I'll get to write a song or two while I'm in Liverpool. Maybe the whole Lennon and McCartney thing will get me writing. I hope so.

"Living in a different country has certainly broken me out of my rut. Now I'm feeling like I can do anything."

? Blink 182 play the ECHO arena on July 12. To book tickets call the ECHO ticketline on 0844 800 3680.

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ENEMA OF THE STATE: Blink 182 play the ECHO arena
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 2, 2012
Words:746
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