Travis Barker, hailed as one of the most famous drummers of all time by Rolling Stone, skyrocketed into stardom with Blink-182. Whether it’s Travis Barker’s first tattoo or his regular day job before finding fame, fans are still eager to find out about the drummer.

Punk rock fans have followed his career for decades and see him transform into the music icon we know today.

Despite being listed in Rolling Stone’s Top 100 list, some fans felt he deserved a higher ranking than number 99 at the time. But, six years after the list, Travis has continued to thrive in the industry. This includes teaming up with other beloved artists, like Machine Gun Kelly, or forming his own record label, DTA Records, which signed the likes of punk princess Avril Lavigne.

However, how did he get there? To mark the musician’s 47th birthday, we dive into his life so far.

Travis Barker’s life – first childhood hero to tattoo enthusiast

Travis Barker’s first tattoo

The theatrical musician, who never seems afraid of the beat in front of him, is also known for his inked look. Travis Barker’s body is almost entirely covered in intricate art, but what was his first tattoo?

His first ink was of his nickname, Bones. Speaking to Fuse he explained it was written like the palprota bones, with a Dag Nasty symbol above the writing. This was also in tribute to a hardcore band he “really likes”. However, the art doesn’t exist anymore, as he says it was “burned off” during his horrific plane crash in 2008.

He was a passenger in the accident that tragically killed everyone on board except Travis and one other person.

The plane, heading to LA from Columbia in South Carolina, aborted lift-off on the runway after pressure loss led to the tires blowing off. The aircraft veered off the end of the runway and crashed through a fence before it burst into flames.

Travis himself was left with burns on more than 65 per cent of his body. After he jumped out to escape, he was covered in jet fuel, which ignited. Travis and friend Adam ‘DJ AM’ Goldstein survived, however, Adam sadly died a year later following a drug overdose.

The musician underwent 27 separate surgeries and skin grafts and was in hospital for 11 weeks, writes The Mirror.

He later told Vice after his skin graft from his back, he “ended up doing a whole new back piece”. But he also lost all his tatts on his legs due to the surgeries. But, due to his ‘nerve endings being messed up,’ the new ink was a ‘crazy’ feeling.

He isn’t fazed by getting inked

The star went on to tell Fuse he doesn’t really get “bothered” when getting new ink. He admitted he always goes in “completely sober”, and he actually looks forward to the tattoo.

Travis Barker was also happy to get his head done as part of his extensive tattoos. The inspiration came after he “had seen someone when I was young with their whole head done.”

He added: “During summertime, it was shaved, and you could see the tattoos. And then you can grow your hair out, and no one can tell.”

However, Travis himself prefers a shaved head look, so fans always get to see his ink.

Opening up on being an addict

2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards - Backstage
Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The star told Vice how the plane crash helped him take the steps in fighting his drug addiction.

Travis said: “The worst thing that could possibly happen to me in my life ended my drug addiction.”

He added he saw a therapist before the accident and was asked ‘If you died today would you be the man you want your kids to remember, right now, the way you are?’. Simply, the answer was no for the drummer.

“I would flush pills down the toilet and throw cigarettes out the window, I was trying my hardest, but I was still hanging on,” Travis explained. “It wasn’t until the crash happened that I was actually forced to do all these drugs, then stronger drugs, then I didn’t want them anymore.”

Speaking on how the crash sparked a change in him, he confessed: “It changed so much about me, all for the better, but it took the most unfortunate thing ever for me to wake up.”

Being robbed by ‘seven dudes’ on first day working at Pizza Hut

Before fame, before drums and Blink-182’s international success, the drummer faced tough times growing up.

In his memoir, Can I Say, Travis explained his first day working as a delivery driver for Pizza Hut also ended in chaos. It came after he was sent to deliver an order in a “sketchy” part of town in Fontana.

He wrote: “I was heading into this apartment building when I got robbed by seven dudes with knives”. They took the food and let him go, and Travis returned to Pizza Hut and gave in his resignation.

One of his first jobs before fame was to work as a trash man after graduating from high school. He then worked with The Aquabats in 1994 before he was asked to fill-in on the drums for Blink-182 in 1998. He impressed the group after learning the drum sets for 20 songs in only 45 minutes – and played them perfectly.

The star has come a long way after revealing his first drumming hero from childhood was Animal from The Muppets.

“Honestly, that was my first exposure to a true drummer,” Barker previously told CBS Local. “That was who made me pick up the drum sticks, you know? My first drum kit was an Animal drum kit. He was amazing. And then after that was Buddy Rich.”

Family is everything to him

His children, daughter Alabama Luella and Landon Asher, he shares with ex-wife Shannon Moakler. They were married for four years before they divorced in 2008. However, Travis is also incredibly close and a father figure to Atiana De La Hoya. The drummer treats Atiana like his own daughter, despite being her stepfather.

In his book, Travis admitted he would be in a plane crash again for his kids.

He later elaborated to Vice: “I would battle an army. For my kids and my family, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do.” Adding: “But yeah, that’s the truth. I’d go through it all again. For them, I’d do anything.”

Travis moved into the gated community within Calabasas in 2017, and became neighbors to the Kardashian family.

Kourtney and Travis went Instagram official in 2021, with the Blink-182 star getting down on one knee in October that year. The duo tied the knot in a lavish ceremony in Portofino, Italy, in the summer of 2022 – and they haven’t looked back since.

Travis opened up about his life in his memoir released in 2015, Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, And Drums, Drums, Drums, which was co-written by Rolling Stone’s Gavin Edwards.

If you’ve been affected by this story, you can contact American Addiction Centers on (877) 686-7688. Or Talk To Frank on 0300 123 6600 in the UK.

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Lottie O'Neill
Lottie O'Neill

Lottie is the Head of Audience for Entertainment and Gaming, working with the teams on HITC, Reality Titbit, The Focus and Freshered. She is passionate about news being accessible to everyone, and focuses on bringing audiences quality content that they enjoy. She loves the art of storytelling, whether that be news, movies or heavy hardback fiction.

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