Caught somewhere in the crosshairs of punk and modern rock with a modest tinge of pop thrown in for good measure, The Offspring has been producing some of the most anthemic, commercially successful music for the better part of the last twenty years. Their latest release, June’s “Days Go By” shows that despite the band’s undoubted maturity, they’ve stayed the course along a path that’s been so rewarding for them to this point and have remained true to The Offspring’s signature sound. And some seven major label studio albums later, The Offspring remains a band that refuses to take themselves too seriously. They’re still having too much fun.today.
The band’s string of chart topping rock singles is lengthy enough to take up an entire iPod. Or at least a dual-sided audio cassette tape. And the tracks from the new album fit into the band’s versatile catalog of songs perfectly. Somehow, it’s been a full 18 years since the release of “Smash,” featuring the singles “Come Out and Play,” “Self Esteem,” and “Gotta Get Away,” which to date has sold a whopping six million copies and made The Offspring a household name. But as the years have progressed, not much has changed for the Orange County band, who continues to create hard rocking, tongue in cheek, and outright fun tunes, for their loyal fans.
Wednesday, September 19th marks the band’s return to the New York City area with a headlining show at Terminal 5 featuring support from rising pop music royalty Neon Trees and Dead Sara. With a second show the following evening at the nearby Paramount in Huntington, fans will be treated to two full evenings from some of the most legendary punk music performers in the genre’s rich history. LocalBozo.com was fortunate to sit down with frontman of The Offspring, Dexter Holland for an exclusive interview. Listen in as we discuss the challenges in working toward finishing the album, managing to appease new listeners and longtime fans, why The Offspring has had such longevity, the band’s upcoming shows in New York, which of the band’s singles’ commercial success has surprised him the most, and his reflections on the band’s legacy.
The audio has been transcribed for your reading pleasure below.
LocalBozo.com: Dexter, rumors of a new record from The Offspring began back in 2009, but the new album “Days Go By” was only released this past June. Talk about the challenges of putting out the new album and how pleased you’ve been with the final result and the response it’s received.
Dexter Holland: Yeah, our record did just come out a few months ago and we’re really proud of it and proud of the way it turned out. I think the challenge is just that, for us we want to make sure the record is really good and really solid the whole way through and for us to do that it takes a little bit longer. So it did take a couple years of us working on the record pretty consistently to get it to where we were really happy and satisfied with all the songs.
LocalBozo.com: The new album opens up fast and furious in typical Offspring fashion with the song “The Future is Now.” And while the trademark power punk sound is still there, there lies almost this maturity to this album and also a nod to pop music on a song like “Cruising Caifornia.” Is that a difficult fine line to satisfy long time fans while still appealing to first time listeners?
DH: Well, I think we’re trying to satisfy ourselves. Every record does have the fast and furious stuff you were talking about- stuff that people really think of when they think of our band. But we always throw in some things that are unexpected on every album whether it’s “Cruising California” on this record or “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” on ‘Americana’ or what have you.
LocalBozo.com: I think the biggest compliment that one can pay the album is that after twenty plus years being in a band, the entire album fits into the best of the band’s catalog so seamlessly. How have you guys harnessed this fountain of youth? I mean, the entire band seems to be ageless.
DH: Thank you very much. You’re too kind. We really love what we do and ultimately you gotta make the music that feels like you and feels natural and authentic to yourself. It comes across that way definitely to your listeners so we’re just doing what we love to do.
LocalBozo.com: Over the years, The Offspring has always been a fearless band- one that always writes fun and catchy rock music, a band that always looks like they’re having as much fun playing as their fans are in the crowd, and one that never takes themselves too seriously. What do you think it is about this band that’s given you the legs for such longevity?
DH: Well, we grew up and were very influenced and inspired by punk bands that we were listening to like The Sex Pistols or The Ramones or The Dead Kennedys, for example. But when we started writing music, we didn’t want to be sort of, stuck to one particular genre or style. We didn’t want to be a dark band necessarily or just a funny band- we were kind of writing whatever came to mind at the time. And not taking ourselves too seriously maybe goes back to our roots in the punk scene where it was very much- there were no airs on the scene back then.
LocalBozo.com: What surprises me most about the band’s catalog is that “Conspiracy of One” is often overlooked as a vastly underrated album. Everyone always wants to talk about “Smash,” “Americana,” even “Ixnay on the Hombre.” Of the albums you’ve written, which specific song’s commercial success surprised you the most?
DH: Well I mean the first time we got on the radio- “Come Out and Play,” that was a surprise just because we had never had anything like that happen to us before. Songs like maybe “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” you kind of knew it was gonna go one way or the other- either it was gonna be something that people really were gonna like or they were really gonna hate. So maybe the one that surprised me the most would probably be “The Kids Aren’t Alright” because it’s very much not meant to be a popular, commercial type single. It’s very much a punk rock anthem kind of song but it seemed to really resonate with people. It still gets played a lot on the radio.
LocalBozo.com: Now the band is stopping locally in New York City at Terminal 5 on Wednesday, September 19th with support from Dead Sara and Neon Trees. Talk about what it’s like for you guys to perform here in the Big Apple and your recollections of playing here in the past.
DH: You know, it’s great. New York City is awesome to play at. We’ve had tons of great shows at places like Roseland and, I mean you name it- Coney High, and stuff like that. I think one of the first times we ever played was a little tiny club called ABC No Rio. And I couldn’t even tell you where it was now but it was gnarly. It only held like 100 people and it was raining so water was dripping on our equipment and it was a little bit sketchy, but a fun time.
LocalBozo.com: It sounds like New York City. Now with a list of dates in the US through the beginning of October and a tour of Japan thereafter, what are the band’s plans for the rest of 2012?
DH: This is kind of our main US headlining tour right now. We’re out for about five weeks and it’s been really awesome so far. We’re having a great time just- we’re happy to have this record out and happy to be out there just playing new stuff to as many people as we can. We’re gonna go to Japan after this in the fall and maybe a couple dates here and there like there’s something in Miami towards the end of the year. But not a whole lot for the rest of the year. We’ll kind of regroup and see what we can put together next year. We’re planning on going to Australia next February and I’m sure South America will be in there as well but, just a lot of touring right now because the record’s sort of just come out.
LocalBozo.com: Dexter, it’s hard to fathom that “Days Go By” is the band’s ninth overall album and The Offspring’s seventh on a major label. When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame eventually comes calling, looking back at having created so many anthemic and successful rock songs and reflecting upon the past two decades as a whole, what do you hope The Offspring’s legacy will be?
DH: Oh just that we were just a good rock and roll band. That’s what we were basically trying to be. And that we gave people some good times. There’s a lot of things to get you down out there in the world and music can be a great way of getting a release from that and feeling better even if it’s just for a little while. So that’s what we’re trying to bring to the people.
LocalBozo.com: Dexter, you’ve been so gracious with your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to leave for the readers of LocalBozo.com?
DH: Oh thank you very much. We always have a great time playing in New York City and we hope to see you all at the show.
LocalBozo.com: Fans, “Days Go By,” the brand new album from punk rock legends The Offspring is available now wherever you pick up your rock music. You can catch the band locally right here in Manhattan at Terminal 5 on Wednesday, September 19th or at The Paramount in Huntington, New York on Thursday, September 20th. Tickets are available right now on Ticketmaster and are just $39- and this is a band that delivers every time out. For more information on the band and tour dates, check out theoffspring.com. And it’s been our absolute pleasure speaking with The Offspring’s Dexter Holland today- all the best of luck with the new album and on tour.
DH: Hey thank you very much. Nice talking to you.
- Jane Van Arsdale