What’s drummer Travis Barker’s beauty? His ability to vacillate between genres. Case in point: His new EP, Psycho White, with rapper YelaWolf. And his ink.
Travis Barker’s spirit animal must be a chameleon. His extensively tattooed skin demands to be noticed, just like the lizard—but, like a chameleon, the drummer has also found a way to fit into almost any musical situation, as a chameleon is wont to do. Over the course of his career, Barker has proven that he is just as comfortable pretending he is a superhero while playing ska with The Aquabats as he is pounding out the beats that provide a backbone to the fierce rhymes of Yelawolf. “Growing up I listened to everything. I was happily introduced to all genres of music and I embraced it all,” Barker says. “I never felt that one style was right or wrong as long as I liked it.”
Embracing such a multitude of musical genres has allowed Barker to avoid being pigeonholed into one genre and enabled him to pursue almost any path he chooses. Arguably, along with his gift, his adaptability has also made him one of the most popular drummers ever. “Drums are such a versatile instrument in so many types of music,” he says. “With guitar or some other instruments you can’t do it—there’s music that doesn’t have guitar in it. But with drums it’s all wide open.”
In addition to his main bands, the pop-punking Blink-182 and rap-rock act The Transplants, Barker has a list of collaborators that reads like a who’s who of music in the 21st century: Lil Wayne, Tom Morello, Britney Spears, Steve Aoki, Rihanna, Slash, Mary J. Blige, and even The Muppet Show’s Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. He’s the musical Kevin Bacon (no offense to The Bacon Brothers); it’s easy to play Six Degrees of Travis Barker.