Mark and Travis playing with a broken wrist.
|Also known as||Plus 44|
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, USA|
|Genres||Alternative Rock, Electronic Rock|
|Associated Acts||Blink-182, Box Car Racer, Expensive Taste, The Transplants, The Aquabats|
|Current Members||None (Hiatus)|
|Former Members||Mark Hoppus, Shane Gallagher, Craig Fairbaugh,Travis Barker, Carol Heller|
+44 was an alternative rock band formed by Blink-182 members Mark Hoppus (lead vocals, bass guitar) and Travis Barker (drums, electronics, keyboards). The band also included former Transplants touring guitarist Craig Fairbaugh and the lead guitarist of The Nervous Return, Shane Gallagher.
Their sound has been described as "originally more electronic-based, eventually falling instead under the alternative rock umbrella". The band name refers to the international dialing code of the United Kingdom, the country where Hoppus and Barker first discussed the project. The band is currently on hiatus but Hoppus says the project still has not served its purpose.
History[edit | edit source]
Formation (2005)[edit | edit source]
+44 was announced in April 2005, only three months after Blink-182 had announced their indefinite hiatus. The band originally consisted of elements not usually present in Blink-182's work, namely electronic drums, samples, keyboards and direct computer recordings.
As work continued on the demos, Get the Girl vocalist Carol Heller was invited by Hoppus and Barker to audition her vocals. Heller's performance was agreeable enough to the band and as a result the three kept working on more songs together. The band's lineup changed again early 2006, with the addition of guitarist Shane Gallagher.
In order to progress with their demos, Barker and Hoppus acquired a studio, a move which marked a "turning point for +44." The band began working solely in the studio they had purchased, playing live drums, guitars and vocals. The band's original electronic elements became less evident, but still remained a key feature. As a result, Heller found she wasn't compatible with the band's direction, and with the addition of her wish to start a family, she left the band. The vocal work that Heller contributed is still present in the song "Make You Smile". After this, Hoppus, Barker, and Gallagher were left to find a new backing vocalist. Guitarist Craig Fairbaugh of Mercy Killers then joined the band.
When Your Heart Stops Beating (2006–2007)[edit | edit source]
As the projected release date started to draw in, speculation on the title of the band's debut album began to circulate. At first, it was believed that the album would be called Little Death as it was listed as such in AP magazine. This was later revealed to be one of the tracks of the album. Hoppus finally settled on When Your Heart Stops Beating. The song "Lycanthrope" was released on the +44 website in early September 2006. This was only the second song that fans had heard other than "No, It Isn't". Lycanthrope was also featured on the soundtrack of the videogame Tony Hawk's Project 8.
Later in September KROQ-FM played the title track of the forthcoming album. The band played their first show on September 7, 2006 at The Roxy Theatre in Hollywood; Hoppus stated it was the first show he had performed in two years. The band followed this up by their second show and first UK performance at the London Astoria venue.
Prior to the album's release, Hoppus stated he was pleased that the original experimentation with keyboards and other electronic embellishments remained, particularly in songs like "155" and "Weatherman", his two favourite tracks on the record. He stated the album was "by far the most lyrically personal music I have ever written" and it was in direct reference to Blink-182's split and "the ugly feelings that were left over afterwards".
The album was released on November 14, 2006, in North America, November 13, 2006, in Europe, and November 11, 2006, in Australia.
During the shooting of the video for "When Your Heart Stops Beating", Travis Barker injured his arm, which was discovered weeks later after playing a whole European promo tour. This forced him to cancel drumming in the upcoming Australia and Europe tours. Gil Sharone filled in for him in these tours.
+44 then covered The Smashing Pumpkins' song "I Am One" for a MySpace tribute to the band and also participated in the iTunes Foreign Exchange. For this they covered Wir sind Helden's song "Guten Tag" with an English translation and Wir sind Helden covered "When Your Heart Stops Beating" in a German translation, entitled "Wenn Dein Herz zu Schlagen Aufhört".
In 2007, +44 set off on the Honda Civic Tour along with Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is..., Paul Wall, and Cobra Starship. During the tour they filmed themselves playing for the music video of their upcoming single "155". On this tour, Victoria Asher from Cobra Starship performed vocals on "Make You Smile", and the band began adding "Dammit," "The Rock Show" and "What's My Age Again?" by Blink-182 to their setlists.
In 2011, When Your Heart Stops Beating was released for the first time on vinyl. Hot Topic sold the album on a blue/white swirl vinyl, matching the color scheme of the artwork on the sleeve.
Canceled second studio album and hiatus (2007–2009)[edit | edit source]
The first mention of +44 pulling out of their Sunday slot at the European festival; Reading Festival and show appearances was on August 6, 2007. The music website NME then released on August 8 with the official reason of studio commitments for their second album. On October 23, 2007, Hoppus stated that +44 had officially signed a deal with Interscope to start recording the new record. On April 9, Hoppus stated that the delay of the second studio album was due to the lack of funding by the label. On May 25, he also stated that the new +44 album was still in pre-production.
On July 30, 2008, Metromix interviewed Barker where he explained about his solo record. When asked about +44, he stated:
"We're going to be a lot more proactive about it after I get my record finished and Mark [Hoppus] finishes producing the two records he's doing this year."
On September 19, 2008, Travis Barker was injured in a plane crash in Columbia, South Carolina. Barker has since made a full recovery.
In an interview with MTV on January 19, 2009, Hoppus stated that he was working on songs for a solo album, with ten songs in various stages of completion. During the interview he neither confirmed nor denied +44 were finished. On February 8, it was announced that Hoppus and Barker's former band, Blink-182, had reunited.
In an interview with Alternative Press on February 19, 2009, when asked about the future of +44, Hoppus stated "I don't consider it done. We'll never say never with anything. As soon as you say, 'I'm not gonna do that anymore,' you find yourself in a situation where you wanna do that. Shane [Gallagher] and Craig [Fairbaugh] are awesome guitarists and great fun to play in a band with, so we definitely won't say that the band is done. But obviously, for the foreseeable future, all of our energy is going into Blink-182."
In an interview with Blunt Magazine in March 2009, Hoppus was asked if +44 will continue again, where he stated "I think so, yes. I love Shane [Gallagher] and Craig [Fairbaugh]. They are great guitarists and good friends and I'd love to do another record with them. I know that Tom [DeLonge] plans to continue doing Angels & Airwaves in some capacity but right now all of our efforts are on Blink."
Band members[edit | edit source]
- Former members
- Mark Hoppus – lead vocals, bass (2005–2009)
- Travis Barker – drums, percussion (2005–2009)
- Craig Fairbaugh – rhythm guitar, vocals (2006–2009)
- Shane Gallagher – lead guitar (2006–2009)
- Carol Heller – vocals, guitars (2005–2006)
- Touring members
- Gil Sharone – drums, percussion (2006–2007)
Filled in for Barker when he injured his arm.