Tom DeLonge felt like people saw Blink-182 as a "boyband".
The 45-year-old star - who left the group in 2015 as Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba replaced him in the line-up alongside Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus - has reflected on the trio's astronomical rise with their 1999 album 'Enema of the State', and the contrast between their success and punk rock attitude.
He told Guitar magazine: "We weren't a mainstream pop-punk band. We were touring for seven years with bands like Guttermouth and the Vandals.
"We were coming from a more raw, unfiltered, unproduced scene. Those attributes are in our DNA, regardless of how big 'Enema' got.
"People were putting us up and thinking we were a boyband. We didn't get it. We were like, 'What the f*** is going on?'
"A week ago we were lighting drumsticks on fire in our ass on stage and then people think we're supposed to be on MTV dancing around."
This saw Tom and his bandmates take a keen interest in the punk scene for their 2001 follow-up 'Take Off Your Pants and Jacket', which features hit singles 'The Rock Show' and 'First Date'.
He explained: "On that record, I remember specifically the things that appealed to us were, 'What's NOFX doing? What's Fugazi doing? What's Propagandhi doing, or the Queers?'
"Just cool s*** that's raw, where you can hear the guitars. You can hear the angst. You can hear the, 'F*** off, what I've been doing is cooler than what you've been doing.' "
And Tom has suggested that outlook is missing from much of the current scene.
He added: "You don't hear that now in pop punk bands. They do vocal acrobatics or they f*****' have lots of electronics that disguise everything.
"We were trying to be very clever with three instruments, coming from a place that was all angst and breaking the law and growing up in broken families."