HUMAN RACE: Blink-182’s Travis Barker
Sober since almost losing his foot in a 2008 plane crash, he now gets high off running. – By Dana Meltzer Zepeda
I first laced up for a serious run the day I found out my ex-wife [Shanna Moakler] was pregnant with our son, Landon. I came home from the doctor’s office and ran to the freeway, which was six kilometres away.
I’d never really run for fun before, but I did it every day until he was born. I was going to be responsible for someone and be a role model. That was the beginning of being in shape.
When I got in that plane crash [in 2008], 65 percent of my body was burned and my right foot was almost amputated. Doctors told me, “You will probably never run again. You may not play drums again.”
The minute they said that, those became challenges for me. Once I taught myself to walk again in the hospital, the first thing I wanted to do was play drums and run.
Six to eight months after the accident, I was running. It was like a warning shot – another chance to better my life.
I feel off if I don’t run. It’s like a meal. I need it every day.
I don’t fly, so I’m on a bus for 10 to 12 hours on tour. Sometimes when the driver stops to get gas, I’ll say, “Which direction are you driving? I’m going to start running, so pick me up!”
Even in the studio, if there’s downtime, I can’t just sit there. They say sitting is the new cancer, and I kind of agree.
The coolest part about being on tour is running stairs at theatres and arenas. It’s so quiet after soundcheck. Six hours later the arena is going to be filled with 20,000 to 30,000 screaming kids. It’s the calm before the storm.
People trip out when I say that I run without music, but when I’m in the studio all day working and listening to music, sometimes I just want to zone out.
I’ve been sober since the accident, but I’ve replaced all of my bad addictions with good ones. Now, I get high off running.
I just love running. It makes me feel like I can conquer anything that comes at me. I’m never tapped out. I’m never tired around my two kids. I owe a lot of that to running.
Travis Barker is the drummer for the Grammy-nominated rock group blink-182. The band is currently on tour and in 2016 released its seventh studio album, California.