May 16, 2023 - News

Cleveland's pop-punk connection

Two members of Fall Out Boy perform on stage.

Live from the 2014 Alternative Press Music Awards. Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Redferns via Getty Images

Cleveland may not be a pop-punk haven like Los Angeles or Chicago, but the city has been connected to the genre for more than 30 years.

Driving the news: Blink-182 brings its North America Tour to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse tonight at 7:30pm.

Why it matters: The tour comes during a resurgence in pop punk, a genre Blink-182 helped popularize in the late 1990s.

The big picture: Influenced by punk rock and power pop, pop punk got off to a slow start when the genre emerged in the late 1980s.

  • "We were told we were too punk for some shows and too poppy for other shows," Ken Blaze, founder of The Unknown, one of Cleveland's earliest pop-punk bands, tells Axios.

Yes, but: That changed when Green Day's album "Dookie" became a huge hit in 1994. Bands like Blink-182 and Sum 41 rode the wave of popularity into the 21st century.

  • Magazines like Alternative Press — founded in Cleveland in 1985 — shifted their focus from cover stories on grunge and alternative bands to pop-punk acts like Fall Out Boy and Paramore.

The intrigue: Pop-punk's popularity waned in the 2010s, but the genre's recent resurgence has been led by Machine Gun Kelly.

  • The Cleveland musician switched from hip-hop to pop punk in 2020 and has released two albums produced by Blink-182's Travis Barker that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

The bottom line: "I was surprised at how popular pop punk got, but I'm not surprised by its resurgence," Blaze says.

  • "I can see why 40-year-old dudes want to have one last blast at a rock show."

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