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MTV's "Meet the Barkers" is hyped as "putting the 'nuclear' in nuclear family." I asked program executive Rod Aissa if the show, starring blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, his wife, their one-year-old son, and her five-year-old daughter, and filmed at their Beverly Hills mansion, isn't just The Osbournes meets Newlyweds.

Aissa disagreed. "Shanna [Moakler, a former Miss USA whom Barker married on Halloween] isn't Jessica Simpson; nobody will ever call her a bimbo, nor is she anything like Sharon [Osbourne]. She's a modern young mom in all ways, and I think girls will be fascinated by her, make her a role model of sorts. The biggest hook is the surprise at how Travis goes about his life.... Everyone he meets [in the show] has these, I guess you'd say, expectations, of what a tattooed and Mohawked young punk rocker is supposed to be like. But here's a guy going to a PTA meeting, shopping at Toys 'R Us, even while he's doing quote-unquote rock star things like launching a new record label and solo career."

Solo career?

I ask, "So will blink-182 be appearing on the show?"

"Well, he's in the band, so obviously there'll be some cross-pollination. As to the extent they'll be involved, that's still undecided." Pressed for details, Aissa would only say, "We're still working that out with them." He was also unsure if Barker's side band the Transplants (recording a new CD and already booked for the summer 2005 Vans Warped Tour) would be featured. "Let's just say I haven't personally seen the signed release forms yet."

Meet the Barkers debuts in the spring.

In other Travis news, Wahoos Fish Tacos opened April 18 in Norco, CA; Famous Stars and Straps, which produces belt buckles, hats, beanies, girls' clothing, socks, T-shirts, key chains, and stickers, has its own website and is featured on many others; and there's also the record label Barker started, La Salle Records.

This week, however, the drummer is auctioning off the hand-decorated crutches he used after breaking his right ankle and foot walking from the tour bus in Australia. His cast is on display at Las Vegas's Hard Rock Café, but the crutches are currently on eBay. Aside from Barker's artwork, stickers, and signature, the crutches contain artwork by tattoo artist Mister Cartoon (who's inked Barker as well as Eminem, Slash, Dr. Dre, and Method Man). Proceeds will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. At this writing, five days into a ten-day auction, 45 bids have been placed with the highest at $1250.

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