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(+44) Puts Humor In Honda Tour

Of the Oakland Press

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Given blink-182's history of irreverence and attitude, it's easy to imagine singer-bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker, now leading the group (+44), as being the pranksters of the Honda Civic Tour.

"Oh, well, we have kinda been the troublemakers on the tour so far," confesses Hoppus, 35. "There were some shenanigans with some backstage passes the other night that got worked out, a lot of pounding on people's doors and running away, stuff like that.

"But everyone has a great sense of humor and everyone's really cool with one another, so it's all in good fun. Everyone's cool."

But Hoppus and Barker, who started (+44) after splitting with blink-182 bassist Tom DeLonge in 2005, are also putting plenty of energy into establishing their new band. Barker is back with the group after rehabilitating a broken arm, and the quartet is working a third single, "155," from its debut album, "When Your Heart Stops Beating." It's also contributed a version of Smashing Pumpkins' "I Am One" from an upcoming tribute album that will be distributed via MySpace and in July issues of Spin magazine.

And Hoppus says the group -- which has started playing some blink-182 hits in its sets -- hopes to hit the studio later this year to start work on its second album.

"This is our passion; we're dedicating ourselves to this band," he says. "It's been pretty much what we expected so far. We always approached this band as a new band, and we were very fortunate to come from blink-182 and have the kind of attention we have for this new band.

"But we wanted to start from the ground level and build our way up. That's how we've always approached everything we've done in music, so this is no different."

The Honda Civic Tour, featuring Fall Out Boy, (+44), The Academy Is..., Paul Wall and Cobra Starship, takes place at 6 p.m. Sunday (May 27th) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $38 pavilion, $26.50 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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