“We try to cater these shows to the more hardcore Offspring fans that have been around for a while you know, the fans that grew up with ‘Ignition’ and not just ‘Smash’ and all the records since, it’s kind of self-indulgent but it’s fun *laughs* and I think the fans are loving it.”
From tour press release: If you were a kid in the 90s, The Offspring were one of those groups that made you shout and scream at life. Their ground-breaking album Ignition was that breath of fresh air that a generation needed. To co-incide with their twentieth anniversary, The Offspring will be playing their 1992 album Ignition in its entirety along with a set full of new songs and classics. This amazing live show has only been witnessed by a few lucky fans around the world and now The Offspring are bringing it to Australia as part of their Soundwave sideshows.
Today we chatted with Noodles fresh off their Soundwave shows ahead of their Sydney sidewave show, we talked about their time here for Soundwave as well as the ‘Ignition’ album and shows as well as when it all took off, the humour of the band and the last continent they need to conquer…
Thanks for your time today Noodles…
My pleasure, man.
Now you were of course here for the Soundwave festival, how did that all go?
Great, yeah we weren’t sure what to expect playing opposite Metallica but there was a lot of great bands on our stage and we had great audiences every night, so it worked out well.
How was it playing Soundwave this time around compared to the last time you played it back in 2008?
*laughs* it was a completely different beast this time around, it was huge. It was a lot smaller five years ago, I think the headlining bands were us and Incubus back then, you had like eight to twelve headlining bands on this one, it was crazy. It was hard to get to a lot of the different stages at the venue and that was one of my first thoughts, was where are they gonna put everybody? This is going to be a huge festival and you had to actually leave the venue and drive around and come in another side on different occasions to get to the stage you were playing at.
Did you get a chance to catch any of the bands while you were here?
Yeah, a few of the bands… Not as many as I would have liked as they were playing early. I never did get to see Anthrax play, Red Fang was one of the first bands on, so was Versus The World, I wanted to check those guys out, but I got to see some, we’d get there early in the afternoon and check out some of the bands. I got to see Duff’s Loaded one day, Sum 41, Blink, The Vandals, got to catch quite a few bands. That’s one of the things I really love about playing these festivals is that I get to see bands that I might not normally see, of course I’ll go see The Vandals play anywhere, they’re great.
You’re now doing some sideshows as well and playing the ‘Ignition’ album in full. What was the idea behind doing that?
Well last year was the twenty year anniversary of it coming out; it came out in ’92. We decided for some of the older fans to do some ‘Ignition’ shows, so we’ll come out and do ‘Ignition’ all the way through and then switch over and do some of the bigger more radio hits, and some deep cuts off of ‘Smash’ and whatever. We try to cater these shows to the more hardcore Offspring fans that have been around for a while you know, the fans that grew up with ‘Ignition’ and not just ‘Smash’ and all the records since, it’s kind of self-indulgent but it’s fun *laughs* and I think the fans are loving it. The dudes are loving hearing ‘Ignition’ and their girlfriends perk up once we start doing ‘Pretty Fly…’ *laughs*
At twenty years on since its release do you have a memory from that time and that album run that you can share with us?
Oh man, we never did any kind of release party for our records, just this last one was the first time we did a signing *laughs* so I do remember that. I do remember going over in ’93 in Europe and opening up for NO FX and kids in Italy were singing along, at least to all the ‘Whoa oh ohs’ from songs on ‘Ignition’, I remember thinking ‘Wow, over here they know that stuff.’ We toured around the US on that record, and punk rock wasn’t really happening, it was the height of Guns N Roses in 1992, so it was really kind of underground. It was a fun time, we were stoked with the record. I think that’s the one record where we really came in to our own, the songs were Offspring songs as opposed to us trying to copy our influences.
Just on ‘Ignition’ you re-recorded ‘Dirty Magic’ for ‘Days Go By’, what was the idea of going back and revisiting the song?
Well we thought it could’ve been played better and maybe produced a little better and get the sounds more the way we think they should be, but we also really like that song and thought it may do better if it got exposure, thought it might even have a chance to get some radio play, none of that panned out *laughs* but I still love that song and I think this version on the new record, I think it’s the best version of it.
I remember back in 1994 when ‘Come Out and Play’ hit the airwaves and thinking how fresh and interesting it was, back then did you have any idea that it would’ve exploded for you like it did?
No way! We were all really caught off guard and really blown away by it. I think Green Day’s record ‘Dookie’ had come out about two months before, and we were stoked to hear them on the radio, but we thought there’s no way that’s going to happen for us, we thought of them as being a little more poppy *laughs* than we were, you know, but I guess that was kind of a precursor, two months later they were looking for the next Green Day and it happened to us I guess.
And now you have to play that song for the rest of your life…
You know what, I love playing it, all those songs… I hate going to see bands that don’t play their big hits, I always think ‘Wow, that let the fans down there…’
What I’ve always liked about the band is the humourous element that balances with the in essence ‘serious’ songs if you know what I mean. On ‘Days Go By’ for instance you have a killer title track and then still have the fun ‘Cruising California (bumpin’ in my trunk)’ and over the years there have been many of those tracks. How do you keep this balance without going over the top?
You know, I don’t know… we don’t want to come across as ‘Weird Al’, we’re not that type of performer, I love Weird Al by the way, I also love The Vandals who can’t seem to take anything seriously, all their songs are funny and The Dickies too, I was a big fan of The Dickies to they have a lot of tongue in cheek funny songs. Then there’s bands that I like that are serious, I don’t know, sometimes there are songs that will have a funny feel to it and it’s like ‘Alright, let’s make this one of those songs’ whether it’s ‘Cool To Hate’ or ‘Secret Family’. I think we’re very fortunate that we’re able to do songs like that and then do a very serious song like ‘Kids Aren’t Alright’ or ‘Gone Away’ or ‘Days Go By’ you know?
What is it that still keeps you going after doing this for so long?
You know, we really do love doing this, making music in the studio and then travelling and seeing how it connects with the fans. We just did the first of our ‘Ignition’ shows here in Melbourne the night before last and it was incredible, the best response that show has gotten anywhere in the world, so we’re stoked and it’s just a great feeling when you’re connecting with the fans out there.
I suppose that helps fuel the energy too?
Yeah for sure, when you’re in the studio it’s a different kind of thing. When you get a riff or even sometimes just a drum beat or a chorus or eventually a whole song, hopefully, and you just go wow this is really cool, I really like this, but sometimes you don’t feel it right away, sometimes it sneaks up on you, other times it’s immediate and you know, wow I really like this, this is fun. It’s fun to do that, but after you print it and press it and copy it and have it mastered then you’re going ‘Oh Shit, is it really good? Are the fans going to like it?’ *laughs* you just hope they do at that point.
Are you the kind of band that can write out on the road? Are you currently working on anything new?
No we’re not, in fact the last few records have been written literally in front of the microphone and changed and stuff. We used to work up songs and rehearse them and then go in and record them and there would always be changes that you made in the studio, but now the way we do it is we’re actually writing in front of the microphones.
After almost thirty years in the band, is there something you haven’t done or somewhere you haven’t been that you still want to do?
There’s a lot of places we haven’t played, sure. I’d love to do in Asia; all we’ve done is Korea, Bangkok and Japan. Would love to do Hong Kong, haven’t done that, I’d love to play Indonesia; I think that would be cool. There’s still a lot of Eastern European countries we haven’t played…that would be fun, whenever you go somewhere you haven’t played, it’s cool. Antarctica… if we play Antarctica I think we’ve played all seven continents.
So back to the twenty year cycle, next year sees the twenty tears of ‘Smash’ would you consider doing the same thing as ‘Ignition’ and playing the album in full on tour?
We’re talking about it, and I don’t think we’d do a whole tour of it, we might do a couple of shows here and there for that. I’d have to relearn that, ‘Ignition’ came easy, I think ‘Smash’ would be a little harder *laughs*
What does the remainder of the year have in store for The Offspring?
We’re going home and having a couple of weeks off then we have a bunch of weekends out on the road, radio festivals and stuff across the Southern US, then it looks like we’re trying to set something up for the Summer, a full tour and then after the US we’re looking into both Europe and South America.
Well make sure it’s not so long before you come back and see us next time…
I know! You know since we were first in Australia back in ’95 doing the Big Day Out and then some of our own sideshows, we’ve come every couple of years since then until five years ago. I can’t believe it’s been five years. I’ve always said that outside of parts of the US, Australia’s my favourite place to tour for sure… I think the countryside is gorgeous, the people are funny, witty and you guys have got some great beer and it’s all about the coast.
From: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Band members: Dexter Holland – Vocals, Noodles – Guitar, Greg K – Bass, Pete Parada – Drums
Current release: Days Go By (Sony Music – Out Now)