Best known as sticksman for punk-pop power trio Blink-182, Travis’s power, technique, cool licks and enviable work ethic has also seen him power records by Blink spin-offs Boxcar Racer and +44 as well as Transplants with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and more.
He’s also a devoted hip-hop head, working with many of the hip-hop world’s biggest names as a producer and a drummer bringing his live beats to their work. His solo album, a collaboration with the hip-hop world’s biggest names, saw drums at the forefront of everything – and he continues to be a fantastic ambassador for the drums.
Enema Of The State (1999)
The album that kicked off pop-punk and spawned a million imitators. It's still Blink's signature record, and Travis’s first for the band.
The drummer, who had previously been bashing the skins for the awesome Aquabats, brought his hard-hitting but intelligent drumming style with no small amount of flair on with 'What's My Age Again' and 'All The Small Things'. His tom-heavy groove on 'Adam's Song' is a particular standout.
Key track: 'Adam's Song'
The punk supergroup comprised of Rancid's Tim Armstrong, former Rancid roadie ‘Skinhead’ Rob Aston and Travis made this furious debut in 2002, perhaps sewing the seeds for Travis's later love affair with hip-hop on 'Tall Cans In The Air' and 'Diamonds And Guns', the latter featuring a stomping rock beat that sets off the Ike Turner-style boogie piano riff perfectly.
‘Down In Oakland’ with its Spaghetti Western feel and the stomping ‘California Babylon’ show Travis mixing classic breakbeats with a repetitive groove driving the quirky pace.
Key track: 'Diamonds And Guns'
Boxcar Racer (2002)
With Blink’s Tom DeLonge, Travis produced an album leaning more towards post-hardcore influences such as Fugazi, but with teen-themes and pop sensibilities still at its core. Lead-off single ‘I Feel So’ has Travis pounding his drums with conviction and power, on the brilliant ‘There Is’, Travis's drum corps background is put to good use on a beat that back’s DeLonge’s long-distance love story with an irresistible drum cadence. Blink’s Mark Hoppus was not invited to be involved, causing tension within the band, as DeLonge didn’t want it to be another Blink album. Barker, supposedly only brought in to avoid having to pay a session drummer, completed his drum tracks in a day.
Key track: ‘There Is’
Fresh from Boxcar Racer, Tom DeLonge brought that project’s post-hardcore sound and feel to the band’s self-titled fifth album.
An undoubted highlight for drummers is ‘Feeling This’, where right from the ace intro we can hear Travis’s wide-ranging influences. The intro has a drum’n’bass feel, but the groove is latin-tinged, while also steeped in Bonham-esque rock tradition too.
Travis also experimented with drum sounds throughout. On ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, his drum fills were recorded separately, sped up and compressed, then played back at normal speed to sound bigger. ‘The Fallen Interlude’ has a funky, jazzy feel, with Travis pulling out all the stops percussively.
Key track: ‘Feeling This’
Give The Drummer Some (2010)
Having already dabbled extensively in hip-hop drumming and production, Travis’ solo outing showcases his hip-hop chops to great effect.
‘Can The Drummer Get Some?’ is a rock/rap hybrid that features a unique layering of live, programmed and electronic drums with a driving, syncopated rhythm. ‘If You Want’ has Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams throwing down the rhymes, with Travis’ real drums adding real flavour to the trad-rap feel; ‘My Uzi Weighs A Ton’ with Tom Morello on guitar, also sees Travis playing bass.
‘Jump Down’ featuring The Cool Kids has almost a shuffle feel, while Travis’ trademark hyper-energetic drumming is in evidence on the furious ‘On My Own’.
Key track: ‘Can A Drummer Get Some’