Harvard is a way to take my research into a practical form,” says Holland, who is married to Amber Sasse and has a daughter Lex Land from a previous marriage who is also a singer/songwriter.
“I have always been interested in virology and wanted to contribute in some small way to the knowledge which has been learned about HIV and AIDS,” he says. “Over 35 million people worldwide are currently infected and living with the HIV virus. Over one million people a year die from this disease.”
Holland was just 29 at the time of making Smash with his band mates at Track Records in North Hollywood. They had USD20,000 to make the album and did it in 10 days to keep their record label Epitaph [founded by Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion fame] happy.
“The songs were coming more easily for us at that point as we had already released Ignition, but the recording process felt rushed,” reflects Holland. “Epitaph really wanted it out at a certain time and we were all juggling jobs and school. It was a crazy thing to do by today’s standards. Nowadays everyone has a studio at home and you can work on something for two years if you want to, but back then we were a small band on a small label and that was all we could afford. I remember feeling like I needed a couple more days but got it done anyway. Our first album sold 15,000 copies and this went on to sell 11 million copies worldwide. It was mindblowing and life changing.”
When it came to writing the songs, Holland says the ideas came to him away from the studio.
“Being inspired to write a song isn’t easy and they don’t always come to you when you want them to,” he explains. “I remember writing ‘Self-Esteem’ and the melody popping in my head when I woke one morning. It was almost like I dreamed it in a way. Sometimes when you’re barely asleep you have your most creative ideas. I wrote the chorus in my car commuting to school.”
Holland says his parents wished his band would be nothing more than a phase, but he’s proved otherwise and forged a successful touring career ever since.
“My parents were supportive but they did hope I would get over the idea of being in a band,” he says. “No punk bands ever really made it. It was unheard of. I did think I should stay