With the release of their 10th studio album last month, the Southern Cali punk quartet are re-energized and ready to hit the stage with a new bag of tricks.
Overdrive caught up with guitarist, Noodles, and vocalist, Dexter from the confines of their band studio to discuss the new album, working with esteemed producer, Bob Rock, signing to Concord Records, and a look back on their meteoric rise off the back of their platinum-selling ‘Smash‘ LP.
OD – It’s 2021, the world is in shit right now, however, The Offspring have a new album out! Let’s start with the timeline of when things started to come about for the new album.
At what point did the writing really begin to take hold and the structure of the album take shape, as I believe you scrapped some of the material that you had and re-started, is that true?
NOODLES – Well, It wasn’t so much that we ‘scrapped‘ some stuff. About two years ago, we had a really creative period and we set aside some of the existing stuff we were working on in favour of putting what came to be the new album. So, we still have those songs and ideas there, most of which are unfinished.
We’re always in here [The Offspring studio] working on songs, so, we just kept going with what we were doing and now we’ll continue to keep working on those tracks and ideas once again…now that the album is out.
DEXTER – Yeah, like Noodles was just saying, we shifted our focus to the new stuff we were writing because it was just pouring out of us at the time. We made a conscious decision to work on a certain batch of songs that, for want of a better word, were more “straightforward” and seemed to fit what we wanted to do with this new album.
People like to say of the new album: “It sounds like your old stuff” [laughing], so, I guess it’s the real “meat and potatoes” of what The Offspring is all about.
OD – With a new album and a new home for the band through Concord Records. Do you feel that in some ways it’s kinda a new fresh start?
DEXTER – In a way, yes. We couldn’t have picked a better title for the album ‘Let the Bad Times Roll‘ and although we’re still dealing with the pandemic, there is a sense of a new kind of start for us.
NOODLES – The world is pretty fucked up now and we’re just trying to be positive about things and lift peoples’ spirits the only way we know we can. I suppose we do feel very energised right now as we have new management and a new label behind us. And despite these changes, we feel really good about where the band is at right now.
The album has been doing really well all around the world and we’re just keeping busy rehearsing the new stuff as well as going over some of the old, old stuff with a fine-tooth comb. [Laughing]
We’re just dying to play live and can’t wait to get out there and play live again and just knowing that is something that’s on the horizon, is making us all very excited and feeling upbeat with everything.
OD – Of course, you kept things local with the album being put together in the bands’ official studio in Long Beach and Bob [Rock] is back working with you. It sounds like the whole experience was just a really natural process. Would that be a correct assumption?
DEXTER – Yeah, for sure.
NOODLES – The way it all went down was Bob [Rock] would fly in every couple of weeks and we’d kick off the day with a coffee and some catch-up, and then we’d go to work. It would be that we’d just pick up stuff from the middle of a track or idea and then continue working on it or in some cases, we’d work on a track from start to finish in one session concentrating on only that one track.
It was a very laid back and very comfortable process but with a lot of really hard work if you know what I mean. It was a labour of love and we’re really happy with it.
OD – This is the first new album in 9-years and with the last few years being what they are, was there any discussion about pushing the album back until the pandemic is more under control?
NOODLES – Yeah, we did hold it back for a little while. Once the pandemic hit hard we knew we wouldn’t be able to go out and promote the album, playing live and that’s a huge part of any band at any level of their career. We just took a look at the whole situation and we just figured to just take things slow and concentrate on things like the artwork and then we just started killing time with silly ideas, so we just said: “The record is DONE’, so let’s just put it out there and let the fans live with the new music for a while“.
OD – How long were you sitting on the album prior to release?
DEXTER – Over a year. We’re like, 14-months into this now, so, we really needed to just get it out there.
NOODLES – There was s great show on one of the PB [Public Access] Channels that was looking back over the last 14-months of Covid-19 from stuff around the world, which was very interesting to see as American TV normally doesn’t cover much stuff outside the country and it really put things into perspective that we need to just keep our heads up and try to be as positive as possible. If we can put something out into the world that even a small amount of people enjoy then it’s totally worth it.
OD – Now that the band is 37-years old, that big 40th-anniversary is fast approaching. Has there been any talk about doing something special to mark the occasion and if so, can you share a few clues?
NOODLES – Honestly, we haven’t even given it any thought. Now that you bring it up, we’ll have to do something about that, or we could just continue to ignore the fact of how old we are [Laughing].
OD – The industry has changed dramatically over the last 4 decades and especially the popularity of guitar-based bands. Do you feel that urban/electronic music will eventually slip from the top, allowing more instrument-led bands to once again lead the way?
DEXTER – We really miss that guitar-based stuff.
NOODLES – Yeah, I really feel that things come around in cycles and it will once again happen that guitar-based bands will resume in mainstream charts. Looking back, Nirvana really blew the doors off the mainstream when they released ‘Nevermind‘ .
Then you have all of that Glam/Hair scene, that was in the late ’80s and ’90s, so perhaps that will come back but with a kind of Hip Hop edge to it…who knows [Laughing].
DEXTER – We came up through that whole alternative scene back in the early-to-mid ’90s under what was referred to as “Alternative“, and when you look at what “Alternative” is now, there are not really many guitars involved at all. In fact, it almost sounds like adult contemporary stuff.
NOODLES – It’s “Alternative” to guitar! [Laughing]
OD – When you think back to the days of MTV and the early Warped Tour shows, etc, do you think that younger kids today are missing out on what was a truly ground-breaking era for music, as everything is based online nowadays?
DEXTER – We have a lot of fondness from that time and are still friends with all of those guys. We actually just hung out with the guys from The Vandals and also Jim [Lindberg] from Pennywise…but to be honest, I like to think that we’re still in those times. It’s like that line from the Anchorman movie: “We’ve been coming to the same party for 25-years!” [Laughing]
NOODLES – We still play festivals with some of these guys all the time and it’s hard to not really feel that same feeling because we’re all still doing what we love.
OD – When ‘Smash’ broke internationally, were there any moments when it all became a little too much? As I can imagine when the glare of a million lights is suddenly turned on you, it can be intense.
NOODLES – I just drank through it. [Laughing] If I stopped it would, I’m sure, have been very daunting, to say the least.
DEXTER – We just saw the opportunity, picked up the ball, and ran with it, and here we are 25-years later, still running with the ball. It really still is incredible and we’re very grateful for it.
OD – With the planned live shows, this Autumn, are there ideas to go deep on the setlist, and also, are there plans for a lavish production?
DEXTER – Well we do some Steely Dan covers… No honestly …
NOODLES – We haven’t really figured out how to tackle that just yet because we have to play the classics, ‘Pretty Fly…‘, ‘Come Out and Play‘, etc. They are essential tracks in our setlist, and the fans that have been with us want to hear that stuff, and also, we love playing those songs.
DEXTER – We have to include as many of the new songs as best we can as well as extending the set and keep things interesting. That’s basically what we’re discussing now for the forthcoming live dates.
OD – If The Offspring were starting out today and you could offer some advice what would you say?
DEXTER – I think it’s way harder. In one way it’s easier for a kid to record, edit and publish new stuff but the problem is that there’s just so much stuff online, it’s really hard to sort through all the bad stuff to get to the good stuff.
NOODLES – It’s hard to really stand out and compete with all the noise that’s online between the celebrities and influences to dancing cats. [Laughing]
OD – Are there any plans for the band to release anything to document the bands’ history?
DEXTER – We get asked a lot of times about this type of thing and we’re not really convinced that we have an interesting story. I’m referring to the likes of Behind the Music etc, where there’s always something like: “He was living in the gutter and the band saved his life” or whatever…[Laughing]
NOODLES – I guess once my sex tape comes out, it will really make things interesting. [Laughing] We’re this close to it happening.
OD – Favourite song to perform live and least favourite?
NOODLES – Well, for me, ‘We Never Have Sex Anymore‘ is a track that I can’t wait to perform live. The guitars on that song have a lot going on…you kind of have to listen closely to it. But, it’s a lot of fun to play and it will be killer to rip that in front of a live audience.
DEXTER – I’m excited to perform ‘This is Not Utopia‘ because that’s just a classic old-school, Punk Rock song. I believe the kids call it a “banger” these days!
Listen to the new album below:
OD – Finally, in the spirit of vinyl being the supreme experience for listening to music, well, that’s what we believe here at Overdrive, tell us your favorite album cover, or the first one that comes to mind. It can be from any genre or era of music?
DEXTER – Hmmm, let me think.. I’d have to say The Dwarves, ‘Blood, Guts and Pussy‘ . It’s a really intense cover with some “little people” who were naked drenched in blood, and to this day, it was the last album cover I saw that really shocked me.
NOODLES – I’m gonna have to go with The Rolling Stones, ‘Exile on Main Street‘ . There’s a lot to pour over when it comes to that cover.
OD – Any final words for your fans in Ireland who are looking forward to attending the opening show on the European leg of the tour this coming November?
DEXTER – It’s been a long time since we’ve been to Ireland and we really can’t wait to get get back there.
NOODLES – Being the first night of the tour, it’s gonna be a very special show for us and we want to share it with as many friends as possible. Stay safe and we’ll see you soon, Ireland!
The Offspring will be performing in Ireland’s 3Arena on Sunday, November 21st with special guests, The Hives. Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster. Click here to purchase.
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