Offspring's Lasting Legacy (aside from their indie material):
Pretty Fly (For A White Guy): Hilarious Rocker with dynamite vocals. It could be called a novelty song if it weren't pretty much par for the group. The line about "13" turning into "31" is brilliant.
Why Don't You Get A Job?: Another ridiculously rancid song. The get-a-job theme is as old as Rock 'n' Roll but has never been so viciously pursued.
Original Prankster: With biting guitar, cowbell and topical lyrics, it's killer mockery.
The Offspring isn't a bad moniker but it's sure no Clowns Of Death. Now that's a name! Guitarist Bryan "Dexter" Holland and bassist Greg Kriesel, both ex-Clowns of Death, started Manic Subsidal with singer Doug Thompson and drummer Jim Benton. Two things happened when Thompson and Benton bailed. First, Holland assumed singing duties and second, Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman and yet another Clowns of Death alum, drummer James Lilja signed on. But Lilja soon concluded he was better off in medical school so Ron Welty, only sixteen at the time, became the new kid in the group.
Like a lot of bands The Offspring started recording on indie labels. "The Offspring" came out on Nemesis Records (re-issued by Nitro Records) in '89. '91 saw the Plastic Head label release the "Baghdad" EP. Signed with Epitaph Records, "Ignition" rolled out in '92 and "Smash" showed up two years later.
Spring of '96 featured a nice piece of legal action. "Smash" had sold over a million CDs and Epitaph, figuring they had an iron-clad contact, wanted the band to record the third CD of a three album deal. The Offspring thought otherwise. Epitaph held The Offspring's royalties in an escrow account until the matter was resolved. The tactic was designed virtually starve the group into submission. Columbia Records eventually stepped in and signed The Offspring for (reportedly) $6.5 million and released their next recording, "Ixnay On The Hombre," jointly with Epitaph. Then "Americana" rolled out. "Ixnay On The Hombre"" sold over a million and "Americana" chalked up three million in sales. "Splinter" arrived in late '03. Produced by Brendan O`Brien, the group's 7th album featured drummer Josh Freese.
As much as any '90s group, Offspring's music has appeared in films. They covered The Damned's "Smash It Up" for '95's "Batman Forever," contributed "D.U.I." to "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "The Kids Aren't Alright" appeared in the '99 movie "The Faculty." The Offspring also performed at Woodstock '99. There was so much footage tossed around, it could count as a film appearance.
Following a lengthy break, nearly three years, The Offspring returned to the studio to record their 8th album. On the way Willard departed and was replaced by former Saves The Day drummer Pete Parada. However it wasn't Parada playing on the album but rather Freese (back again). Nearly a month before "Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace" came out The Offspring launched their supporting tour with a show at San Diego's X-Fest festival.
With the tour underway, the announcement came that bassist Scott Shiflett had stepped in for Greg K (Kriesel) due to a "scheduled family matter" (thebirth of his fourth child). He returned a month later. Also touring with the band was guitarist Andrew Freeman.
The Offspring unfurled "Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace" in June, '08 - over a year and a half after the project began. "We've worked really hard on this and I think it's some of the best stuff we've ever done," wrote Holland in an online post. The first single was "Hammerhead" which managed to break the Modern Rock Top 10 while the album moved about 46,000 copies in its first week of release to debut at #10 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
On the same day as the album's release Epitaph Records reissued remastered versions of "Ignition" and "Smash."
Under the tutelage of producer Bob Rock, with in-studio aid from Freese and keyboardist Ronnie King, a veteran from the "Splinter" sessions, work began on "Days Go By." The title track was the lead single from the '12 release.
But it was the second single, "Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)," a song about the bass beats emanating from the speakers in trunks rolling through Huntington Beach that had a personal connection for Holland.
"That song was really about where I live," Holland told a local radio station. "I've never written a song about what it's like to go down on an average summer day in my home town."
1989 The Offspring
1997 Ixnay On The Hombre
2000 Conspiracy Of One
2008 Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace
2012 Days Go By
An inventive singles group, catch Offspring early but not too early in their career. Their last Epitaph release "Smash" shows the group in the best light. "Self Esteem" and "Come Out and Play" Rock. The Offspring's "Ixnay On The Hombre" and "Americana," with "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" and "Why Don't You Get A Job?," are so-so. The "hits" co-mingle with numerous misses.
Along with "Original Prankster," the "Conspiracy Of One" CD contains straight-ahead Rocker "Want You So Bad." Holland is primed and wailing, while the guitars never relent. Good stuff. For more, listen to "Come Out Swinging" and "Special Delivery."
"Long Way Home" and "Never Gonna Find Me" on "Splinter" prove Offspring still can deliver the Punk creed. But Offspring has always gone for the offbeat and this is no exception. The Reggae driven "The Worst Hangover Ever" and the very retro "When You're In Prison" ("keep your back against the wall") are funny but not on the level of "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)." "Hit That" sounds like the group is channeling Phil Collins era Genesis jamming with the Police. The surprise treat is the sparse "Spare Me The Details" which chronicles misadventures related to a party.
"Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace" comes after a four-and-a-half year abscence since The Offspring's last studio album - the longest in their history. But with seven albums in the can they deserve an extended break. It seems to have done them good. While set opener "Half-Truism" and closer "Rise And Fall" come close thematically and sonically to Green Day's "American Idiot," The Offspring's politics don't dominate. Rather, they rely on tried and true Punk themes, escapism ("Nothingtown") and rebellion ("Stuff Is Messed Up") to make their mark. The Offspring attack their songs with energy, pounding rhythms and slashing guitars and Holland's singing still has a bite. They even manage to give some weight to the acoustic ballad "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?" No small feat.
There are two things readily evident on "Days Go By." The Offspring are masters of angst driven post-Punk. From the blistering "Dividing By Zero" to the pop leaning title track they have it down - in their bones.
Second, The Offspring's "novelty" songs are worth the price of admission. The saucy Rap/R&B flavored, "Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)," hits the same SoCal wet spot as "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)." Love it ("we're never going home till the summer's all gone"), laugh at it ("the girl with the glass and a g-string just like a floss, well she's waving her caboose at you"), dance to it ("Bum-bumpin' in my trunk, bum-bumpin' in my trunk "), it's got it all.