Everyone has heard of Travis Barker: he’s a celebrity drummer! He’s made big name lists such as Rolling Stone’s top 100 drummers and has been cited as ‘the most influential person in music’ in a 2021 article from The Guardian.
While many people know him for his marchy-feeling tracks in Blink-182, he has an extensive discography with other bands, small and large.
Travis Barker cites being inspired by everyone from Alex Van Halen to Danny Carey and John Bonham, and it shows. His claim is fame is now multi-genre, starting with pop-punk, which then expanded to hip-hop, rap, and even (occasionally) straight-up pop.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Early Life and Style
Travis Landon Barker was born in Fontana, California, in 1975. His mom got him his first drum set at the age of 4, and he (obviously!) stuck with it. Then, when he was 5, he started lessons, learning many different drumming styles.
Travis Barker played in marching and jazz bands in high school, which set him up for success (and influenced his style). In high school, he marched snare. (check out the rolls in the video here!).
Though he performed in more traditional music competitions in high school, Barker also found himself interested in historically newer genres, like rock and hip-hop. This led him to join his first band, Snot and Feeble (also known as just “Feeble”).
Snot and Feeble
Many folks believe that Barker’s first band was The Aquabats, but it was actually Snot and Feeble. Snot and Feeble was a punk band based in Fontana and included member Chad Larson (Who would later add Barker to The Aquabats).
Interesting Fact: Though it seems unlikely, before Feeble, Travis Barker worked as a garbage collector.
I went the extra mile and dug up this recording posted by Travis himself. Check it out!
The second band Travis Barker ever played for was a superhero-themed rock/ska group called the Aquabats in 1996. He joined The Aquabats after original member Roddy B. left. Barker became known as “The Baron von Tito,” although nobody is quite sure why.
Travis Barker was still a budding drummer when he was in this group. His experience with this band was his first time in a pro studio. His sound is completely different in The Fury of the Aquabats than in his later work, but it’s still impressive. His drumbeats were simple yet solid and often very quick.
Barker’s time in The Aquabats was short: from 1996-1998. After that, he ended up leaving to join Blink. According to an article from Drum Magazine, he wanted to avoid pursuing making the T.V. show (The Aquabats) with the rest of the band.
“And at the time, the Aquabats were trying to get their own T.V. show. They kind of wanted to be like, I wouldn’t say the Monkees, but like, cool action heroes. That’s the whole thing, they’re superheroes, and it was really aiming more towards a T.V. show rather than being a band anymore. I was just like,’ I don’t want to be an actor. I want to play the drums. I want to be a musician and write songs and write music.”
In 2019, he rejoined the band on stage; it’s pretty clear that there’s no bad blood.
As you probably already know, Barker’s success took off with Blink 182. When Scott Raynor of the band fell ill, the band found themselves in a pickle, so they called up Barker (Barker in 2000). According to the book Tales From Beneath Your Mom (Hoppus, 2001), he learned 20 of the band’s tunes in just 45 minutes. He landed the gig.
Together, Barker and the rest of the band created the wildfire pop-punk album Enema of the State, released in 1999 with MCA records. This was Blink’s third album and most popular to date.
Travis Barker chooses instruments as if they were different paintbrushes. In this case, he used 12 brushes (in the form of snare drums) on his first album with the band (Barker in 2000).
Blink-182 went on hiatus in 2005 and reunited in 2008 after Travis Barker almost died in a plane crash.
Box Car Racer
Box Car Racer is a Blink-182 offshoot band and a single album by the same name. Tom Delonge and Travis Barker formed the group with David Kennedy when Blink-182 was on a break. Travis Barker’s style is similar in Box Car Racer as it is in Blink, in a good way:
The first time I ever heard +44, I was sitting next to my friend/guitar performance major Sam. He was jamming to a song that I could’ve sworn was Blink-182. But I knew I had already heard all of Blink-182’s records. “What is this?!” I exclaimed. The answer was +44.
+44 was another band that formed during this break and stopped playing when Blink got back together.
The band Transplants includes Rancid’s famed vocalist Tim Armstrong and is considered a rap-rock, punk-rock outfit. Travis Barker joined in 2002 and is a long-time member. With the band, he recorded albums like Take Cover (2017), In a Warzone (2013), and Transplants (2002).
Solo Album: Give the Drummer Some
Enough about all these bands! Let’s talk about Barker’s other work. His (suggestively titled) debut solo album, Give the Drummer Some, was released in 2011. The name of the album is inspired by the hip-hop group Ultramagnetic MC.
Give the Drummer Some took four years to record and was released on Interscope. It is more rap-rock-influenced but also has elements of hip-hop. It features artists like Snoop Dog, Slaughterhouse, and Yelawolf.
Other Groups and Remixes
Barker has been crucial in forming other bands, including the hip-hop supergroup Expensive Taste and the duo TRV$DJAM. According to an Instagram post from last year, Barker said he was a “musical prostitute” because of how many tracks he’s released with various musicians.
In the early 2000s, Barker got into playing remixes. He has released remixes of hit songs like Magic’s “Rude,” Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” and Soulja Boy’s “Crank That.” His sheer technical skill in these remixes is undeniable.
One of my favorite remixes is his version of Illenium and Bellion’s “Good Things Fall Apart.” Watch him play drums on the track here.
Hip-Hop and Rap Collaborations
Though Travis Barker was once considered a punk-punk drummer solely, he has branched out a lot over the years. He has been featured in tunes by Yelawolf, Asher Roth, Nottz, and T.I.
One of the first times Barker got into the hip-hop scene was in 2010, when he collaborated with T.I. on “Yeah You Know.” But unlike Blink-182, Barker didn’t find immediate fame and success in the hip-hop genre: it took some time to ripen.
Some other, more famous examples of his rap, fusion, and hip-hop collaborations include Machine Gun Kelly’s “Mainstream Sellout” and 93PUNX’s grungy rap-rock tune “Three Years Sober.”
Work in Pop Music
Charlie Puth has even requested a track from Barker for his single “I Don’t Think I Like Her.”
Other pop and pop-rock artists he has worked with include his long-time friend Avril Lavigne (Bite Me) and Bebe Rexha’s “Break My Heart Myself.”
Barker is exceptionally open to the progression of pop and rock music and says he loves artists such as Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo.
In 2019, he created his record label, titled DTA records, along with Elektra Music, an offshoot of Warner Music. Barker’s goal with this record label is to bring underground artists to the surface and get their unknown talent into an arena.
An artist named jxtn (Jaden Hossler) was the first to ever sign with the label. Avril’s Love Sux was also released under DTA.
Fun fact: Barker also had a clothing line/company since 1999 called Stars and Straps.
Other Interesting Tidbits
Travis Barker also learned how to play the trumpet after he began playing the drums. After learning drums and trumpet, he dipped his toes briefly into the world of piano and classical vocals. He supposedly joined a men’s madrigal group at one point. Another little-known fact is that he owns a restaurant in C.A. called Wahoo’s fish taco.
Travis Barker’s Net Worth
Travis Barker’s net worth is anticipated to be over $50 million as of 2021. This is a combination of his successful musical career and his economic endeavors outside of music. For example, Barker has delved into fashion in addition to his drumming career, launching his own apparel boutique, Famous Stars and Straps.
Additionally, he has invested in several companies, including a CBD health firm and a chain of vegan restaurants. Despite setbacks in his personal life, such as a narrowly avoiding death plane crash in 2008, Barker has persevered in his career and steadily increased his net worth over time.
Travis Barker’s Kids
Two children, a son named Landon Asher Barker and a daughter named Alabama Luella Barker, make Travis Barker a proud father. While Alabama was born in 2005, Landon was born in 2003.
Barker has been transparent about his tight bond with his kids and frequently posts pictures of them on social media. He has also discussed how becoming a father has altered him and taught him to put his family first.
As a result of the plane crash tragedy, Barker and his kids became even closer since he knew how much he valued them and wanted to be there for them. Despite the difficulties in his personal life, Barker is still a devoted and caring father to Alabama and Landon.
Current Lineup and Closing Thoughts
Travis Barker is Machine Gun Kelly’s drummer and is still in Blink-182. Travis Barker doesn’t play favorites to genres, which is one of the reasons why he is one of my favorite drummers. From his marching band background to his fusion style, what’s not to like?!