I’m being escorted backstage with my camera to photograph Blink 182 at a sold-out O2 Arena gig in front of 20,000 screaming fans. I was walking through the concrete corridor where the biggest artists in the world make their way to the stage. It was surreal, and even though I had photographed many shows at this legendary venue, it was the first time I would take this route.
It was me and a handful of other photographers and we were eagerly awaiting the cue to take our positions at the front of the stage.
One camera body, two lenses, that’s it.
Very rarely I get a glimpse of the band before they take the stage. Usually, they are in their dressing room until the final moment, but this time the three members of Blink 182 are standing directly across from us, about 20 meters away.
I raise my camera for a quick candid shot only to have my lens blocked by security “no photos backstage.”
Seconds later, Blink 182 frontman Mark Hoppus energetically skips over to us, “Hey guys, at the end of the third song Matt and I do an epic jump. Hope that’s helpful,” he says with a smile before he races back to his bandmates as they head to the stage.
Most musicians wouldn’t even think about giving us photogs a tip, let alone running over to do so and ask if it was helpful.
Out of the thousands of shows I’ve shot over the years, this was one of the coolest moments, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
That pretty much says exactly the kind of a guy Mark Hoppus is. Combine that with his personality, sense of humor, and knack for writing incredible hooks; it speaks volumes.
It also reminds me that sometimes it is ok to meet your heroes, even if it’s ever so briefly.
Mark announced last week that he’s battling cancer, and I wanted to share this story because I hope he kicks cancer’s ass and continues writing anthems and entertaining his millions of fans. The world needs more Marks.