The Offspring is an American punk rock band from Orange County, California, formed in 1984. Formed under the name Manic Subsidal, the band consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dexter Holland, lead guitarist Noodles, bassist Greg K. and drummer Pete Parada. Parada replaced former drummer Adam "Atom" Willard in 2007, during the recording of the band's eighth studio album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace, and has been a member of the band since. The Offspring is credited—alongside fellow California skate punk, ska punk, and pop punk bands Bad Religion, Sublime, Green Day, Rancid, Social Distortion, Pennywise and NOFX—for popularizing and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock in the United States in the 1990s. They have sold over 40 million records worldwide, being considered one of the best-selling punk rock bands of all time.
The band's first three albums for the independent record labels Nemesis and Epitaph earned them a following. Their 1994 third studio album Smash became a breakout success and eventually sold over 16 million copies worldwide, setting a record for most albums sold on an independent label. Smash was also the first album released on Epitaph to obtain gold and platinum status. The critical praise given to Smash garnered attention from labels, including Columbia Records, with whom The Offspring would sign in 1996. The Offspring continued to achieve success with their four follow-up albums, Ixnay on the Hombre (1997), Americana (1998), Conspiracy of One (2000) and Splinter (2003), reaching platinum, multi-platinum, platinum and gold status respectively. Splinter was followed five years later by Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (2008), which was also successful, due to the album's second single "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" reaching number one on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart for 11 weeks and becoming their only gold single in America to date. Their latest studio album, Days Go By, was released on June 26, 2012. They have another album in the works.
Early years (1983–1987)
The foundations for The Offspring began in 1983, when guitarist/vocalist Bryan "Dexter" Holland (who was a drummer at the time) and bassist Greg Kriesel, who both met on their high school cross-country team, began playing music in a garage in Cypress. The duo eventually formed a local band called Manic Subsidal. The decision to form a band came outside of a Social Distortion concert when they were refused entry. Not long after their formation, Holland had changed his role from drums to guitar and vocals and James Lilja took over the drums. Doug Thompson was added for vocals, and Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman (formerly of Clowns of Death), the school janitor, was welcomed into the band, allegedly because he was old enough to purchase alcohol for Holland and Kriesel, both of whom were under the legal drinking age. The band used Thompson's friend, Jim Benton, as their drummer. Thompson was eventually forced out of the band, while Benton left. This led to Holland taking over on vocals, and James Lilja joining as the drummer. The band changed their name to The Offspring in 1986.
In 1986, the band released their first single; the 7" "I'll Be Waiting/Blackball". They released the single on their self-made Black Label record company, named after the brand of beer. An earlier version of "I'll Be Waiting", which was then known as "Fire and Ice", appeared on the long-out of print Subject to Blackout compilation tape, which was also released in 1986 (this version is also available for free to download from the European Offspring website). Also in 1986, The Offspring recorded a demo tape, which received a positive review in Maximum Rocknroll magazine. Lilja left The Offspring in 1987 to pursue a medical career in gynecology, and was replaced by Ron Welty, who was only 16 years old at the time.
The Offspring and Ignition (1988–1993)
After recording another demo in 1988, The Offspring signed a record deal with a small-time label, Nemesis Records. Then in March 1989, the band teamed up with producer Thom Wilson (of The Adolescents, Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion, The Vandals and Youth Brigade fame) to record their first album, titled The Offspring. The album was released in limited numbers by the label, only in a 12" vinyl format, and a proper CD release did not surface until 1995. A six-week national tour followed, but Noodles was later stabbed during their Hollywood anti-nuclear benefit.
In 1991, The Offspring teamed up with Wilson again to produce the Baghdad 7" EP. This EP was instrumental to the band's signing with Epitaph Records. Wilson had been trying to get The Offspring to switch to Epitaph, a label run by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. Gurewitz felt that The Offspring was just not quite pronounced enough for his label, but Baghdad convinced him to give the band a shot.
In 1992, Thom Wilson and The Offspring returned to the studio to record their second album Ignition, which was released in October of that year. The album exceeded all of the label's and band's expectations. The band went on tour for the next two years with other punk bands such as Pennywise, and ska punk bands like No Doubt and Voodoo Glow Skulls.
Mainstream success with Smash (1994–1996)
When The Offspring returned to the studio to work on their third album in 1993, the band's relations with producer Thom Wilson had begun to strain. The band released what would become their biggest selling album, titled Smash (1994). Fueled by the hit singles "Come Out and Play", "Self Esteem", and "Gotta Get Away", the album set the all-time record for most units sold by an independent label band at 16 million records. Smash has continued to sell consistently well in the nineteen years since its release, and has also been certified 6x Platinum in the United States. The album also sold very well outside the U.S., particularly in Australia, where it debuted No. 1 on the ARIA Charts for three weeks in 1995.
After the release of Smash, and armed with a newly expanded income, the band decided to buy out the rights to their first album. Holland and Greg K. then created their own record label Nitro Records and started signing bands. One of their first releases was a re-release of their first album The Offspring. The label also signed a number of punk bands including The Vandals, Guttermouth and Jughead's Revenge. Soon after, Nitro Records became solely Dexter's responsibility.
Ixnay on the Hombre, Americana and Conspiracy of One (1997–2002)
The Offspring left Epitaph and signed with Columbia Records. The band began writing and recording their fourth album, titled Ixnay on the Hombre, in 1996. The album was released on February 4, 1997, which happened to be Noodles' 34th birthday. This album was not as successful as Smash, although it did sell four million units and spawned five singles. The album saw the band move away from the political-punk themes common to many Epitaph bands, and more into mainstream rock with songs like: "All I Want", "Gone Away", and "I Choose". The video for the last track was directed by Holland himself. Dexter commented that Ixnay probably wasn't as well-received as Smash because it was such a departure, and that many fans probably were expecting Smash Part Two.
In 1998, The Offspring released Americana. Three of the album's singles: "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)", "Why Don't You Get a Job", and "The Kids Aren't Alright" became the band's biggest hits and making the album the peak of The Offspring's mainstream popularity. "She's Got Issues" was also released as a single, and was a minor hit.
In 1999, the band appeared as themselves in the film Idle Hands. They played a cover version of "I Wanna Be Sedated" (originally by The Ramones) and "Beheaded" at a school dance before Holland's character is killed. They also appeared at the infamous Woodstock 1999, where their performance was broadcast live on pay-per-view television.
2000 saw the band release their sixth album called Conspiracy of One. The band intended to release the entire album online through their official website, to show their support for downloading music on the internet. However, under threat of legal action by Columbia through their parent company Sony, only the first single "Original Prankster" was released on their official website (the rest of the record was leaked to fan sites). The band also sold T-shirts on their website with the Napster logo on it and donated money to Napster creator Shawn Fanning with the profits.
The band also released a single "Defy You" exclusively for the film Orange County.
Ron Welty's departure, Splinter and Greatest Hits (2003–2005)
Longtime drummer Ron Welty left the band in 2003 to start Steady Ground, a band in which he plays drums and co-produces. Neither Welty nor the remaining members have elaborated on the departure.
In 2003, the band released their seventh album Splinter. The Offspring recruited Josh Freese to record the drums for Splinter and later announced that Atom Willard would be the official replacement for Ron Welty. The album's original title was to be Chinese Democrazy (You Snooze, You Lose), from the name of the long-delayed album by Guns N' Roses. As a result, Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose filed a cease and desist order against The Offspring, but eventually began to calm down when he realized the date this was announced was April 1. The first single "Hit That" enjoyed moderate success on MTV. "Hit That" used a variety of electronic samples, different from what The Offspring has done in the past.
In 2005, the band released a Greatest Hits album in both DualDisc and regular CD editions. Greatest Hits contains 14 of the band's hits between Smash and Splinter, and two previously unreleased songs, "Can't Repeat" and "Next to You" (a cover of The Police) (a hidden track). The compilation does not contain any material from the first album or Ignition. The DualDisc contains video of Dexter and Noodles discussing the band's history and a bonus acoustic version of the song "Dirty Magic." About a month later, the band released a video DVD with all of their music videos, and some videos from a live show.
During the summer of 2005, the band played the Vans Warped Tour for the first time, and followed that with a tour of Europe and Japan. After the "Greatest Hits" world tour the band took a break from writing, recording and touring. During the hiatus, Willard was recruited by Tom DeLonge for his band Angels & Airwaves and released an album, We Don't Need to Whisper, in 2006.
Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (2006–2009)
In November 2006, it was reported that The Offspring were back in the studio recording their eighth studio album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace with producer Bob Rock and "a fistful of demos". In July 2007, Dexter announced that the band had finished two more songs and the album was being recorded in Orange County, California. The album, in its entirety, can be streamed online for free at iMeem.com.
It was announced on July 27, 2007, that former Saves the Day drummer Pete Parada had been chosen to be The Offspring's new drummer, replacing Atom Willard, who went on to join Angels and Airwaves. The band's first shows with Parada were at the Summer Sonic festival in Japan in August of the same year. It was during these shows that the band debuted "Hammerhead" which would become the first single from the new album. Parada did not play on the new album however; Josh Freese once again handled drum duties, as he did with Splinter.
The Offspring co-headlined the Australian Soundwave Festival during February and May 2008, alongside Incubus and Killswitch Engage.
On April 9, 2008, Dexter announced that the album would be called Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace and would be released on June 17. The album's first single, "Hammerhead", went to radio on May 6. Additionally, The Offspring's official site provided an MP3 download of the song to the general public on May 5. Their second single from the album, "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid", had topped the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, and had stayed there for 11 weeks, a record for the band. As well, it is The Offspring's only RIAA Gold song, proving it to be one of the most successful singles the band has released in their over-twenty-year career.
Also in April 2008, Epitaph Records also announced that the label would be reissuing Ignition and Smash; both albums were remastered, and Smash contained a new 24 page booklet. The re-issues were released on the same day as Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace, coinciding with the new album's release.
The supporting tour for the album began on May 16 with a performance at the X-Fest festival in California. On May 28, it was announced on the band's website that Scott Shiflett (from Face to Face) would replace bassist Greg K on current tour dates due to a birth in the family. Kriesel returned in mid-June. In October, with the addition of touring guitarist Andrew Freeman, the band embarked on a 3 week Japanese tour followed by a tour of South America. On December 13, 2008, The Offspring headlined the nineteenth annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas. In an interview at the Almost Acoustic Christmas show, guitarist Noodles stated that The Offspring would be taking a break for a month or two and promised a US tour to kick off in 2009. They toured North America on their "Shit is Fucked Up" tour from May through July with Dropkick Murphys, Alkaline Trio, Street Dogs, Pennywise, Shiny Toy Guns, Sum 41 and Frank Turner.
Days Go By, touring and next album (2010–present)
In May 2009, the band started doing preliminary work with Bob Rock in Hawaii for what would be the ninth Offspring album. They recorded sporadically through the next year. In June 2010 the Offspring headlined two dates in Western Canada. The Offspring took a break from the studio in order to join 311 on their summer 2010 Unity Tour. The 19-date tour was held in amphitheaters around the U.S., also featuring Pepper as a special guest. Before the 311 and Pepper tour, The Offspring played four West Coast dates in June, which were supported by Terrible Things. At the Las Vegas show on June 18, 2010, they debuted a new song, titled "You Will Find a Way", which later became the song "Days Go By". After that the band started working on the new album. In January 2011, session drummer Josh Freese (who recorded drum tracks for the band's last two albums) mentioned on his website that he was in the studio working with The Offspring again. Ronnie King has also confirmed that he will appear as the keyboardist on the album, after performing the same role on Splinter. The band interrupted their work in 2011 in order to tour and took the main stage at the 2011 Reading and Leeds Festivals.
After the tour, the band started recording in earnest and it was later announced that the album was in the mixing stage. They headlined the PunkSpring Festival in Japan, on March 31, 2012 in Tokyo and on April 1, 2012 in Osaka, with Sum 41, New Found Glory and All Time Low. At one of the shows, The Offspring performed a new song called "The Future Is Now". They were also confirmed to play at the Rock am Ring/im Park and Novarock festivals in the summer 2012. Prior to that, the band would be playing at the 20th annual KROQ Weenie Roast, which was to take place at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, California on May 5, 2012.
In March 2012 the band announced on their Twitter page that the album was finished. On April 20, 2012, Kevin and Bean announced that The Offspring's new single "Days Go By" would be premiered on April 27. Three days later, the band announced on their website that Days Go By would be the name of their ninth studio album, which was eventually released on June 26, 2012. On April 30, 2012, the band released another song from Days Go By, "Cruising California (Bumpin' in My Trunk)".
In early fall 2012, The Offspring toured with Neon Trees and Dead Sara. They were co-headliners of the Soundwave in Australia in 2013 alongside Metallica and Linkin Park. After this, they performed at the 20th annual WJRR Earthday Birthday on April 13, 2013, and at the Gulfport Music Festival a month later. The Offspring will spend much of the spring, summer and the fall of 2013 playing shows in Europe, the United States and South America. The band expects to begin working on their tenth studio album after the tour, and has considered releasing releasing it independently as they have fulfilled their contract with Columbia Records.
Style and influences
While The Offspring are primarily considered a punk rock group, their music contains strong elements of 1990s grunge, and the occasional ska. A signature style of The Offspring is their chorused "whoas", "heys", or "yeahs". NOFX (who were labelmates with The Offspring from the early to mid-1990s) has poked fun at them for this in their song "Whoa on the Whoas". Several tracks also incorporate elements of Eastern music, which can be heard on the likes of "Pay the Man" and the verse hook from "Come Out and Play". Their lyrics cover a wide range of topics, like personal relationships, such as in their songs "She's Got Issues", "Self Esteem" and "Spare Me the Details", and the degradation of the United States, politics, and society in general with songs like "It'll Be a Long Time", "Americana" and "Stuff Is Messed Up". The lyrics generally reflect a sarcastic viewpoint, which, along with the language, can be offensive to some. This is acknowledged in the first track from their album Ixnay on the Hombre, "Disclaimer" - however "Disclaimer" itself is sarcastic. Like "Disclaimer", the first track of most of The Offspring's albums are an introduction of some sort, "Time to Relax" (from Smash), "Welcome" (from Americana), "Intro" (from Conspiracy of One), and "Neocon" (from Splinter) are also examples of this.
The band cites their musical influences as Agent Orange, The Adolescents, Angry Samoans, Bad Brains, Bad Religion, Black Flag, Channel 3, Circle Jerks, The Clash, D.I., The Damned, Dead Kennedys, Descendents, The Dickies, Iron Maiden, Jane's Addiction, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Metallica, Minor Threat, Nirvana, Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sex Pistols, Sham 69, Social Distortion, Thelonious Monster, T.S.O.L., The Vandals and Youth Brigade.
Impact and legacy
With the mainstream success of Smash, going six times multi-platinum and earning worldwide airplay, The Offspring's impact persists to this day. As one of the most popular punk bands of the 1990s, they are credited with reviving popular interest in both punk rock and pop punk, as well as bringing both genres into the mainstream. Also, The Offspring has influenced many bands or artists such as Simple Plan, Blink-182, AFI, Linkin Park, Jimmy Eat World, The All-American Rejects, Rise Against, Sum 41, Paramore, Steriogram, FM Static, Misono, among many others. The Los Angeles modern rock radio station KROQ listed The Offspring at No. 21 in the "top 106.7 biggest KROQ bands of all time" memorial, and No. 8 at the "Top 166 Artists of 1980–2008" list.
The Offspring's music has appeared in movies such as The Chase, Batman Forever, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, Varsity Blues, Wanted , Idle Hands (which also features a cameo by the band, while Dexter Holland plays himself), Me, Myself & Irene, Loser, Tomcats, Bubble Boy, The Animal, American Pie 2, Orange County, The New Guy, Bowling for Columbine, Pauly Shore Is Dead, Click and How to Eat Fried Worms (for the trailer). "Mota", "Amazed", "The Meaning of Life" (all from Ixnay on the Hombre) were featured in Warren Miller's 1997 documentary Snowriders II. "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" can be heard in the King of the Hill episode "Escape From Party Island". "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" was featured in the 90210 episode We're Not in Kansas Anymore, while "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?" appeared in the episode Zero Tolerance. In video games, The Offspring's songs have appeared in Crazy Taxi, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 and SingStar Rocks!. "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" appears in Guitar Hero: Van Halen. "Hammerhead", "Gone Away", "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)", "Self Esteem", "All I Want", "The Kids Aren't Alright" "A Lot Like Me" and "Days Go By" are downloadables for the Rock Band series. "Hammerhead" was also featured in the football video game Madden NFL 09.
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Image from Discogs