California’s punk rock quartet, The Offspring, is back with their 9th studio album, Days Gone By. Released in June of this year, The Offspring have headed back out on the road with their latest offering firmly holstered amongst their expansive arsenal of music. With a string of shows throughout North America, and dates in Japan and Australia on the horizon, the punk quartet shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
Even with an extensive tour schedule, east coast fans should not fray as the California quartet will spend two days in New York: September 19th at Terminal 5 (NYC) and September 20 at The Paramount (Huntington Long Island).
Amidst their busy schedules, Singer/Frontman/Guitarist Dexter Holland took some time to talk about tour, music, the industry, and more.
Q. So you’ve just released Days Gone By, which is your ninth studio album, In June. What has the reaction been like so far? Has it been what you expected? Has it surprised you in anyway?
A. It’s been really great. I mean the record came out a few months ago, and you know we’re just really proud of it, and we’re very excited to put it out, and to tour with it. Its exciting to take it to all the different places we go and play these new songs for people. You know, we’ve been playing quite a bit and I’ve gotta’ say that the songs have been going over great. It’s really great, and really better than what I expected even.
Q. That’s really great. Speaking of reactions and touring with this new record, how has the tour been going? In terms of crowd response, how are the newer songs in your set received? Is it surprising? It is cool to see?
A. You know its cool. It’s a funny process to watch because before the record came out, you know we played maybe one new song. We played “Days Go By.” And you can tell like audience is taking it in, you know, like “oh, I don’t know this song.” Then, as time goes by, you can see them getting more and more into it.
We played Chicago and everyone was really singing along to “Days Go By” and some of the other newer stuff. And you know its just really great to see them really get into it and to know the songs more.
Q. In the same vein, this is your ninth record. So when you guys are putting together a set list, there’s a lot to pull from. How do you put together a comprehensive list of songs that covers your newer stuff and staple songs from your previous releases? Are there any pressures to play certain songs?
A. You know at the end of the day what we really want is to have a great show. And you know we like playing new songs, of course, but we know that the audience may not know all the songs as well as we do, so we definitely throw in a mixture of everything.
We really love playing the old stuff. You know a lot of people ask me, “aren’t you sick of playing something you must’ve played 500 times?” What I always tell everybody is you know there was a time when I did get sick of it a little bit, but then you keep on playing it and its almost like the song becomes a part of you in a way. So its definitely something we like doing. Also, you know the crowd really likes it every night. I really enjoy playing everything and seeing the reactions and how people get into it, and what people get into.
Q. As far as engaging one another in a writing type of atmosphere, how do you guys go about writing songs? Do you follow a pattern that’s worked in the past and kind of revitalize it and reshape it as you move forward?
Do you have a set structure or approach to everything, or is it more spontaneous where you’ll feed off of one another?
A. You know it’s not really a set process, but I mean I’m pretty much the main songwriter in the band. I’ll put together a song and I might bring it into a rehearsal or something and we all kind of test it out and decide, you know, whether a certain part works or not. But, it’s hard to tell until you really get everyone together in the same room. So its kind of like I’ll bring a song to the table and we’ll hash it out from there.
Q. From a more technological standpoint, with how the music industry has changed, (in terms of vocoders and auto tune for example) do you guys feel any pressure to adapt more ‘modern’ trends and styling’s into your brand of rock?
A. Well you know I really think that we are who we are. So, I don’t really feel any kind of pressure. I feel we’re very lucky to have had people appreciate and continue to appreciate our music, and we’ve been lucky enough to be successful as a band.
Its really all about being true to who you are as a musician and as a band and to people. You know if we do what we do well then you know people will come listen.
Okay, now I have some really daunting questions for you.
They’re definitely unfair to ask an artist.
Q. If you had to name the three most influential records that have had the biggest impact on you, and have helped shape you as a musician and songwriter, what would those albums be?
A. <Laughs> Oh gosh, well, we started our band because we loved punk rock bands and punk rock music. So, I definitely think number one would be Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Number two would be this band called T.S.O.L, which a lot of people may know of. They did a great record called Dance With Me. And if I had to pick a third one, I don’t know I’d probably pick something different. I think I would pick Kiss Alive. That was a really big record for me when I was young.
Again, an even more daunting question than the last
Q. Out of your discography, what do you think your favorite or your most cherished release would be? And Why?
A. <Laughs> Well they all are kind of near and dear in their own ways of course. I could say I love Ignition because you know it wasn’t our first album, but it’s the first album where we started to be who we were as a band. We really started to sound like The Offspring on that record. And of course I love Smash because that’s the record where people really started to get to know who we are which was great, too. You know, I might say Americana. That would be up there. I really love the whole album, and I’m proud of how it did, but I also like some of the songs like “Staring at the Sun,” which aren’t like radio hits, but I’m really proud of and I love to play. We play it every night and the crowd seems to really know it, even though its not on the radio. And I also love the new record because I’m just really excited about making new music and doing that as well.
The Offspring will play New York City @ Terminal 5, Wednesday, September 19 and Huntington, Long Island @The Paramount, Thursday, September 20th. Both dates include support by bands Neon Trees and Dead Sara. Also, the album, Days Gone By, is now available in stores and on iTunes.