Mark Hoppus of blink-182 keeps busy as a co-host of his TV show, "Hoppus on Music," while recording a new album with blink-182. He is pictured with Phil Collins, who was a guest on his show. Photo courtesy of Madison Square Garden, L.P.
NEW YORK — As a member of the pop-punk band blink-182, Mark Hoppus has become rich and famous beyond his wildest dreams.
Why, then, did he agree to begin co-hosting a new weekly music TV series for Fuse last fall, a third of the way through making blink’s first new studio album since 2003? And why is he again commuting from Los Angeles, where blink is still at work, to Fuse’s mid-Manhattan New York studios to start filming 15 more episodes of “Hoppus on Music”?
The answer, he insisted, is a simple matter of wish-fulfillment, if not destiny.
“Growing up, I always, always wanted to host a TV show,” Hoppus said as he sat in a bare, 9-by-6-foot Fuse dressing room, which he jokingly describes as “party central.”
The lanky bassist and singer, who is 38-going-on-18, grinned.
“Honestly,” he continued, “I thought I had the personality of a game-show host and thought I’d end up doing a TV show.”
Not just any TV show.
“Hoppus on Music” (whose first batch of episodes aired last fall as “A Different Spin With Mark Hoppus”) gives him the opportunity to reach a national audience each week and to promote both established talent and under-the-radar bands. It also lets him engage in a major role reversal by making himself the interviewer, not the interview subject.
To date, he’s conducted on-air Q&As with everyone from Cee Lo Green, Phil Collins and John Mayer to the members of Linkin Park, Mumford & Sons, Buck Cherry and The Damned Things.
Hoppus didn’t blink when asked if Collins and Mayer are precisely the kind of pop stars his band would mercilessly lampoon on stage.
“Blink tends to make fun of everybody, but I’ve always liked Phil Collins,” he replied. “He was one of the easiest interviews to do. He’s funny and has great stories to tell.
“And I’m actually friends with John. I’m very thankful he was the first (on-air) interview I did, because he’s such a generous person in all aspects. It was like two dudes sitting around talking about music.”
The fact that Hoppus, a member of blink since its inception in 1993, is a musician enables him to bond with many of his guests. He has also bonded with his “Hoppus on Music” co-host, Amy Schumer.
A stand-up comic by trade — she’s appeared on “Last Comic Standing,” “30 Rock” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — Schumer, 29, “grew up on blink.” She was following Hoppus on Twitter, even before she auditioned to be his Fuse co-host.
“Mark surpasses what you hope he’ll be,” Schumer said backstage, after she and Hoppus had shot a segment with the band Jimmy Eat World.
“We’re figuring it out as we go along, and I think we’re both very forgiving of each other. There’s no reason Mark should be as good an interviewer or host as he is, or as funny. He surprises me all the time.”
Founded in 2003 as MuchMusic, Fuse is Madison Square Garden’s exclusive national TV network devoted exclusively to music. Much of its programming and exclusive access to content is a coordinated effort among Fuse, Madison Square Garden Entertainment and such Big Apple venues as Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Theater at Madison Square Garden and the Beacon Theatre, as well as venues in Boston and Chicago.
Fuse approached Hoppus about having his own show and he didn’t have to be asked twice. Never mind that, prior to then, his only reference points for hosting a TV show existed only in his mind.
“I’ve learned to just get more comfortable being a host, reading a teleprompter, which I had no experience whatsoever,” he said in a follow-up interview from Los Angeles.
“I try and prepare as much as I can for each show, so that I know the gist of everything. Obviously, when we go off-script, the wheels come off the train and we have fun. But the intros and outros I try to learn. And I try to know about what each band on the show band is about, so I’m not just asking questions off the cue cards. I want to engage them. The one band I had to keep on my toes the most with was N*E*R*D. They weren’t very effusive with the interview. They answered almost everything ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ They’re all great guys, but it was difficult.”
Hoppus flies to New York for four days, every two weeks, and tapes two episodes each visit. So what will happen when blink tours abroad this summer?
“We’re talking about doing some shows from Europe,” he said. “The great thing is, with blink doing a lot of festivals over there, it gives us access to a lot of great bands that might not have time to fly to New York. It’s up to me to make both things, blink and the TV show, work.”
To find out more about George Varga and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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