Past & Present
THE OFFSPRING front man DEXTER HOLLAND gets in touch with TOM HERSEY to explain how the band managed to balance an unabashed appreciation for pop with their storied punk history
“Nostalgic… That’s a scary word,” Dexter Holland laughs when discussing the title of the Californian rocker’s ninth studio offering, Days Go By. After playing brash skate-punk in The Offspring for nearly three decades, Holland sounds a little worried about growing old.
As much as Holland might be reluctant to acknowledge the album’s nostalgic tinge, more than any other record, Days Go By represents The Offspring completely marrying the contemporary with what they’ve done in the past. Case in point, the album’s lead single “Cruising California (Bumpin’ In My Trunk)” is a summery pop-rock track complete with auto-tuned vocals and all the other hallmarks of modern day pop music. Then Days Go By also features tracks like “Dirty Magic”, an angsty skate punk number, which the band re-recorded from their 1992 album Ignition.
Although the timespan of influences heard on Days Go By is something that the band has never before attempted on a record, The Offspring’s albums have always demonstrated the band’s predilection for mixing and matching styles. Even their 1994 breakthrough Smash found room for the grungey angst of “Self Esteem”, hints of ska throughout “What Happened To You?” and the self-righteous hardcore fury of numbers like “Not The One”. This ability to experiment with styles is key to the band’s longevity, but never before had that experimentation led the band to the extremes of Days Go By. Holland believes that when the band was recording Days Go By, this attitude was facilitated by famed producer Bob Rock and the kind of do-whatever-feels-good mentality that sets in with age.
“We’ve always tried different stuff on our albums. “Pretty Fly” and “Why Don’t You Get A Job?” were really different when they came out. Maybe we would have been a little more cautious about what the record was supposed to sound like ten years ago, but now it’s like people have a good idea of what we are as a band and if they hear something different from us they can take it in stride.”
“There’s some different stuff on this record, to a point where it kind of sounds like all of our records put together. At our core we’re a punk rock band, so there’s plenty of fast, melodic, aggressive songs on this record but at the same time we feel really comfortable branching out and putting a bunch of different ideas on the record. It was really cool to have the freedom to try anything we wanted and not really having to worry about whether it would fit on to the record or not.”
With the album released worldwide, Holland says that The Offspring are looking to tour far and wide on the back of the album. “We want to take this record everywhere. As a band, we feel like we’ve got this secret and we’re bursting to share it with everybody. We’ve just got back from Europe and we’re doing shows in the States. Australia is definitely on the cards. Let’s just say we’ll be there sooner rather than later.”
DAYS GO BY is out now through Sony Music. www.theoffspring.com
TOM HERSEY is a writer and Amazing Race aficionado.