The Offspring - Pretty Fly White Guys
Author: Patrick Lewis
Monday, 16 June 2008
It was the unmistakable combination of the cymbal tap, the bass drum kick, the husky voice stating you gotta keep 'em separated and the grunge guitars that launched Come Out and Play and, with it, the career of a band that sold more records than any other independent artist in the business.
Manic Subsidal formed in 1984 (the name was changed just a year later) when singer/guitarist Dexter Holland and bass player Greg K, two high school friends in Orange County, California, formed a band inspired by the Dead Kennedys, the Ramones and local LA punk bands. They teamed up with Noodles Wasserman who, aside from being able to play guitar, was none other than the school's janitor. Presumably with such a busy cleaning schedule it would have been hard for Noodles to get time off to tour with the Offspring but tour he did and the band made two albums that gave them a strong reputation as a punk rock outfit. Then when Smash was released in 1994 the Offspring were catapulted into the rock n roll stratosphere.
'Orange County is not a great area; there's a lot of crime, especially gang related violence. It's really hard when innocent bystanders get hit and the song was a reaction to that,' Holland says of their break-through single, Come Out and Play. And the origins of the album's second massive single, Self Esteem- 'That's not autobiographical,' he admits. 'That's just about a character who's a loser, but I think everyone's had moments like that. It was pieced together from experiences that people I knew had had.'
Indicative of the people Holland would come across in the years to follow, the concept of the 'loser' would reappear in to his lyrics, but in comical fashion with the 1998 single Why Don't You Get a Job-
'That's about the loser who lives off his wife, who's probably a stripper, and more than likely he has a kid from someone else,' he laughs, declaring that song represents the 'Jerry Springerisation' of his country.
Dexter goes on to tell me how his music has evolved. It's somehow gotten darker, then lighter, then darker again. 'In all honesty we didn't think we'd be here today,' he says, reflecting on the band's new album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. 'I can't believe we're eight albums in already. It's hard to imagine it lasted this long. We're all pleasantly surprised.'
The Offspring are looking forward to touring again, particularly in Australia, although no dates are currently confirmed. 'Every band from the US says Australia is a good place to play,' Holland says. 'It's the good weather and the people are chilled.'
WHO: The Offspring
WHAT: Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace through Columbia/Sony BMG
WHEN: Out now