Somewhere in the mass of tattoos smothering Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker’s wiry body is the phrase, “Never say never,” likely a reference to the drummer’s reluctant but necessary decision to give up smoking marijuana – which he claims he hoped to do forever – after receiving a cancer scare.
Speaking to Red Bulletin (and quoted by the NME), the 36-year-old musician revealed that he was recently diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus and taken to hospital for an emergency tonsillectomy.
"They found that I had six ulcers, and I had a condition called Barrett's esophagus, which is basically from really extreme acid reflux or if you excessively smoked, your esophagus lining becomes pre-cancerous,” Barker says.
“Right then and there, I changed my whole life around. I had to stop eating and drinking certain things. And I had this lump in my throat around the same time. My tonsils were three to four times the size they should have been."
He continued: "I used to love smoking weed. I would smoke weed at night if I had anxiety. I always thought I'd be able to do that for the rest of my life, but when your health is on the line, you don't mess around. I love being a dad and I love playing music. I'm not trying to give up any of that."
Barker - who has somewhat improbably emerged as the most interesting member of Blink-182 - also recently admitted that he will be forced to sit out the band's planned tour of Australia next year as the prospect of the long flight is unbearable in the wake of a terrible plane crash which he survived in 2008.
Still, Barker managed to make it as far as Europe on a plane so, you know, there’s hope. Also on the plus side, the group’s latest album Neighborhoods has been doing well critically and commercially and seems to find the knuckleheaded pop/punk trio back in fine fettle.
Maybe it’s time for another celebratory tattoo… assuming Barker can find space somewhere. Maybe on his “Mick Jagger,” tee hee.