Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus has recorded a new solo song, “Not All Dogs Go To Heaven,” for the compilation album, Dog Songs(https://dogsongs.bandcamp.com/album/dog-songs). The 14-song collection, conceived by songwriter Allie Goertz, benefits animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Ask Hoppus, who recorded the song with his Blink band mate Travis Barker, why he got involved with the project and his answer is simple – he is an animal lover. I spoke with Hoppus about his passion for dogs, how he got his beagle rescue, his vegetarianism and how Blink’s activism is likely to continue to grow.
Steve Baltin: What kind of dog do you have?
Mark Hoppus: We have a rescued beagle.
Baltin: Why was this project important for you?
Hoppus: Let me tell you about my background as an animal lover. We currently have a beagle, who is probably about 10 years old at this point. We housed our older dog, who passed away, at a place here in Los Angeles, who works with Karma Rescue. And Karma Rescue hit up the place where we would keep our dogs and said, “We have a beagle here who is days away from being euthanized. Do you have anybody who’d be interested in adopting s beagle?” So we went and met the beagle, immediately fell in love with him and brought him home. When he was first in our house he’d been so horribly abused by his previous owner that anytime you went to pet him he would cower. [But] since then he’s become the best dog we’ve ever had and is great with our son and great with other dogs and is the happiest, kindest dog you can ever hope to meet. That story is not atypical from the people who I’ve spoken with who’ve gotten their dogs from rescues. There are so many animals in need of help and in need of a home that pretty much anyone you talk to who rescues an animal has the same story. And I just love dogs in general and think that animals have a shitty rap in the world compared to what we humans put them through a lot of the time.
Baltin: Tell me more about Karma Rescue.
Hoppus: Karma Rescue works with various dogs and particularly the place where we board our dogs when we leave to go on tour. They’re giant animal advocates and try and get animals placed in homes. They’re all about education and finding good homes with the right people. Even though our dog was days away from being euthanized we had to go through an entire vetting process. They come and visit us at our home with the dog and they came back a couple of times afterwards to check on the dog’s well-being. That’s how much they care about the animals.
Baltin: Have you always been a dog person?
Hoppus: I grew up with a basset hound. Then I bought my first house when the band got a little bit successful and I had a decent space for the dog to live so I got my first dog and I’ve had dogs ever since.
Baltin: So tell me a little about Dog Songs.
Hoppus: I had been friends with Allie Goertz on Twitter for maybe a couple of years now. She’s a songwriter and she had an idea a few months ago about writing an album of songs entirely about dogs based on animals in TV shows and movies. Of course I wanted to be part of it, [but] I was on tour for a lot of it. So she was collecting songs from a bunch of other artists, like Nerf Herder and Jonah Ray. And I’d just gotten home from tour and she said, “It’s time for us to collect the record.” So I went in the studio at John Feldmann’s house and he and I wrote the song. We wrote it in a few hours, Travis came in and played drums and it was done that evening.
Baltin: And then the proceeds go to animals affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Hoppus: The proceeds from the album were always gonna be donated to the ASPCA. And as Hurricane Harvey was hitting just as everybody was turning in the songs for the album they designated that money specifically to go for the rescue and help for the dogs and animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey because it was happening that week and it seemed like a very important time for all these people who had to leave or were washed out of their homes and forced to leave their animals behind. There were a lot of animals that needed help and the ASPCA is a great organization that does exactly that. So they designated the money to go to them, which I think is a great cause.
Baltin: Do you see yourself or the band delving further into animal rights and causes as you get older?
Hoppus: I definitely think we’re becoming more and more involved. Travis is a dedicated vegan and he loans his image and support to those vegan organizations and animal rights programs he supports. And Matt [Skiba] does his fair share or work with animal rights people and something I very much believe in is animal rights. I think as we go on you try and figure out what’s important to you in life and you work to help those causes.
Baltin: With so many causes what is it about helping animals that jumps out at you?
Hoppus: Because animals are awesome, amazing creatures on the planet and a lot of times we treat them like a product, whether it be food, dairy products, leather or elephants in the circus. A lot of times they’re not treated as sentient beings, they’re treated as a commodity and that bums me out. Like six years ago I started being vegetarian and educating myself more. I start coming closer and closer to vegan every day and try to make more choices that positively impact animals and lessen the burden on the planet and hopefully, in small manners, make the world a better place.