Offspring still truckin’
IN APRIL 1994, the music scene changed forever. The same month that one of grunge’s most revered frontmen, Kurt Cobain, took his own life in the grim surroundings of Seattle, a relatively-unknown Californian punk band called The Offspring ( pictured) released Smash an album that would break all the rules.
Now on the eve of the band’s ninth studio effort, frontman Dexter Holland remembers the true birth of The Offspring and how ‘‘ punk’ stopped being a dirty word.
‘‘ It changed very quickly for us,’’ Holland says of 1994.
‘‘ We’d been a band for about 10 years and we could feel something going on and more people were showing up at the shows, but when Smash came out and hit the radio it took off real quick.’’
Holland knew the band members were on to something when they were writing the songs and attributes much of the creativity behind the band’s seminal album to his old pick- up truck.
‘‘ We were very excited about the songs,’’ he says. ‘‘ It felt like we were becoming a better band.
‘‘ When I was trying to write the songs for Smash, I was driving a really old, beat- up pick- up truck and it was so old and dilapidated that the radio didn’t work. But because it didn’t work, it gave me time to drive around and think about the songs.’’
Eighteen years on, millions more records sold and with the band set to release its new album, Days Go By, Holland admits he still has that old, beat- up truck.
‘‘ I kept the truck, it was sentimental,’’ he laughs.
‘‘ I still have it and when life really sucks sometimes I’ll get in it and drive around. You got to get away from the regular dayto- day stuff whether it’s driving an old truck or paddling out for a surf.’’
More importantly, Days Go By finds the band sounding just as dangerous and provoking as they were almost two decades ago. ‘‘ The majority of the record is very much what people would think an Offspring record sounds like,’’ Holland says.
‘‘ It’s fast, it’s melodic and aggressive. That’s the core of who we are, but it was fun on this record to push the boundaries a little bit.’’
Push the boundaries Holland did with the band’s first single Cruising California ( Bumpin’ In My Trunk), receiving very mixed reactions from the punk community before the band pulled them back in with the immediacy and familiar, punk- rock ethos of the album’s title track.
But the singer admits The Offspring have always divided fans.
‘‘ We expected that a little bit,’’ he says of Cruising California.
‘‘ It’s obviously a different kind of song for us. It’s a fun song and we have some really diehard fans who only want to hear super punk rock stuff.
‘‘ We love them and we’re glad to have them as fans but we’ve been mixing it up ever since we started so it doesn’t feel that different for us as a Why Don’t You Get a Job and you know what? We got the same reaction back then when we put out that song or Pretty Fly For a White Guy, there was definitely some controversy but it’s just what we like to do.’’
Last in Australia for the 2008 Soundwave Festival, Holland admits the band hoped to be included on next year’s line- up to return Down Under with Days Go By.
‘‘ AJ ( Maddah, head of Soundwave) was at a couple of our shows and we chatted, so hopefully things can work out and we can come back,’’ Holland said. ‘‘ We’ll definitely be coming to Australia either way.’’