Travis Barker, skate punk-rocker turned businessman

Travis Barker keeps lifting his shirt and flashing his stomach.

No, this isn't for a music video for Blink 182 or the Transplants. Nope, he's not filming an episode of MTV's "Meet the Barkers."

This shirt-lifting-stomach-flashing stuff is business -- serious business for the 30-year-old drummer.

He's explaining where he gets the inspiration for his designs for Famous Stars and Straps, the apparel and accessories line that grew out of his skating lifestyle. Barker grew up skateboarding and fell in love with the fashion.

The alphabet building blocks his children play with inspired a T-shirt. A Cadillac -- his favorite ride -- inspired a necklace.

And the tattoo...

"The ghetto blaster I have tattooed on my stomach, right here," he says, "ends up being on my shoe" line.

asap hung out recently with Barker at an action sports retailer trade show to find out about his business, his clientele and a few other things:


Barker started the business in 1999, the year after he joined Blink 182 as a drummer, after years of making T-shirts and belt buckles for friends.

"It was just something I did for me and my two homies," he says.

Barker is the first to say that he really didn't have a business plan or a direction for the company. He hired his two best friends.

"We all just had to keep up with what was coming at us, and that's how we learned," he said. "It wasn't like my dad was in the screen-printing business or my dad's friend was. I didn't know anything. I just had a vision. I basically got key people who were my friends who could execute what I wanted to do."


"Walking into this (sports retailing) show, I'm more nervous and excited about coming to this show than I am walking on stage and performing in front of a million people," Barker said.

He compares running the business to being in a band.

"We develop a season, which is our record. We ... have 12 songs, 12 T-shirts. People go out and those T-shirts affect people. They really do. (People) choose to wear them or they don't. That's what keeps up going and seeing if we can keep up our game all the time -- be unique, do something different."


"I get it from hanging out with my friends. I get it from music, movies, models, furniture, drugs, everything," Barker said. "Everything I see around me -- not that I'm involved with everything I see -- but everything I see around me, influences some way, shape or form."

Now here's where the shirt-lifting-stomach-showing move comes in.

"I have a ghetto blaster collection. I've incorporated my ghetto blaster into my line. The ghetto blaster I have tattooed on my stomach, right here," he says, "ends up being on my shoe -- ten years after I get it tattooed on my stomach. And it becomes something that people want for some crazy reason. I think it all comes back to lifestyle."


"It's hard to say. I can't speak for other people. But for the time being, yeah. I produced five rap albums this last year. I could never have done that if I was still on tour. I could never be spending this much time on 'Famous,' if I was still doing it."


"It could get really old, if I did like three more seasons or something," Barker said.

He said when he was first approached about the idea more than a year ago, he thought he would say no. But after committing to it, he said it has been a good experience.

"I don't believe in staying around too long. There comes a time when you're like 'I'm done sharing,' and I think I'm there. I think two seasons is really cool. I gave people a sneak peek at my life, how my family runs, who I am. And I think that's good enough."

- by CHELSEA J. CARTER, Associated Press (ASAP)

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