Travis Barker, Blink 182’s inked-up drummer, won’t be joining his bandmates on their Australian tour that kicks off Wednesday in Sydney. The drummer has given the band his blessing to find a replacement, which they have in Bad Religion’s Brooks Wackerman. The reasoning behind decisions like this is usually selfish or motivated by inter-member conflicts, but this time it’s because of Barker’s fear of flying.
Barker’s distaste for flying comes justified, since he suffered through a nearly fatal plane crash in September 2008. The crash claimed the lives of two people close to Barker, his friend and assistant Chris Baker and his security guard Che Still. Barker survived the crash with severe injuries, as did his close friend DJ AM. Barker would make his way to recovery, while AM would die of an accidental overdose on cocaine and prescription drugs in 2009. He made this statement about his absence on the tour in a Facebook post:
I’m sorry to announce i won’t be joining Blink-182 on this Australian tour. I still haven’t gotten over the horrific events that took place the last time i flew when my plane crashed and 4 people were killed, two being my best friends. I gave the band my blessing to take another drummer if they still wanted to do the tour without me. I hope to come to Australia again some day perhaps by ship if need be. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a boat that worked with the schedule this time around. Once again I’m sorry to all the fans.
Barker hasn’t set foot on a plane since the crash, preferring to use sea travel to get around instead. He even went to the U.K. by sea to join his bandmates for their European tour. He ended up suing Clay Lacy Aviation, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Global Exec Aviation, Bombardier Inc. and more, bringing in an undisclosed sum in a settlement.