Travis Barker Lands in Deptford
Hundreds waited in line for an autograph from the iconic drummer in celebration of his new CD release.
Steve Mongiovi and his friends Phil Zumbano, Peter Knauer and Pat McKeon left Forked River at 7:15 a.m. in their quest to meet Travis Barker.
They rolled up to the Deptford Mall by 9 a.m., and spent the next six hours taking shifts holding their place near the front of the line.
But it was worth it, they said.
Behind them, the line stretched, and stretched, and stretched some more.
It ran halfway across Tilly’s, and after a gap to allow for mall traffic into stores, filled a side hallway with a river of fans.
In all, 300 waited at the mall Saturday afternoon for their chance to meet Barker, drummer extraordinaire from such bands as the punk rock power trio Blink-182, The Aquabats, +44 and The Transplants.
This event was part of a six-stop autographing tour in honor of Barker’s solo debut album Give the Drummer Some, which was released March 15, and was being hosted nationwide by the clothing and apparel store, Tilly’s.
The 300 were the lucky ones who scored a wristband–the only way you could get in–which sold out well before 3 p.m.
Extra private and mall security were present for the signing, but everyone was getting along, according to four teens from the Williamstown and Mantua areas.
Chelsea Short and Kaitlyn Patton, both 15, noted that there was no animosity between patrons. During their wait they were trying to get people in the line “pumped up” with high fives.
“It didn’t really work,” said Patton.
Short’s brother Anthony had been there since noon and confessed to being a big Travis Barker and Blink-182 fan. “I listened to every song since the Buddha album.”
The line moved rather quickly as the star signed personal effects, CDs and shook hands. A team of photographers snapped shots of the mostly adolescent fans while security kept people back to keep the area clear.
One of the lucky fans was Bobby Gregg of Browns Mills. He had been waiting in line for about five hours with his friends, Andrew Sippel and Kevin Gross.
“Travis Barker is one of our heroes,” said Gregg. “Blink-182 is our favorite band.”
The trio said that they had a chance once to meet Barker with one of his side projects, +44, when they were in Cherry Hill, but missed them by three minutes.
“We finally got to meet Travis Barker,” said a very jazzed Gregg after the signing. Gross noted that Barker was very polite during the signing, and shook his hand.
He and Gross even attributed the formation of their punk band 18-Over in part to the genre-spanning drummer, and were still in awe minutes after meeting him.
“I’m shaking right now,” said Sippel. “It’s just a rush of adrenaline.”
There were quite a few musicians and fledgling bands in the line, eagerly waiting to meet one of the men who inspired them to play. Everything from T-shirts to drum heads to bass guitars was being signed.
Xavier Acevedo and Ian Sawats from Lindenwold got their instruments autographed after a long wait in line.
"You never think the time is actually going to come," said Acevedo. "But once it did, it was very worth the wait."
He and Sawats make up two-thirds of the local band Saints of Suburbia, and had been waiting since 10 a.m.
Anthony Friedlander and Steve Nuzzo from the Blackwood-based band Royal were lucky enough to give Barker their demo.
“I’m just excited,” said Friedlander.
And as for Barker’s demeanor, their friend Meghan Coyle of Bellmawr summed it up simply.
“He’s like one of us,” she said.
Barker was signing autographs alongside his own children, as several families waited in line.
Christine Soto from Millville brought her son Cam’Ron after he found out about the event while he was browsing the Internet at school.
Another dedicated mother was there just in the nick of time. Kim Noldar, No. 300, waited by herself at the very back of the line, carrying two T-shirts and the mandatory Give the Drummer Some CD. Her two sons are big Barker fans, she explained, but were unable to make it out to Tilly's.
The dress and apparel store normally does not sell music, but sells surf and skate clothes, shoes and accessories and will feature CDs when they pair up with a musician for an album debut.
This latest release was Barker’s first solo CD and featured collaboration from many hip-hop and rap artists such as T.I., Snoop Dogg, RZA, Raekwon and Lil Jon, as well as rock guitarists Tom Morello and Slash.
Jon Montgomery, who oversees all events, promotions and band relationships with Tilly’s, was here from his home in California to make sure things went smoothly.
He said Tilly’s is responsible for 50 percent of the album’s sales nationwide, which as of today, sits at No. 9 on the Billboard Top 200.
“It’s a really good album,” said Montgomery. “It’s going to break new areas. It’s going to create new boundaries.”