Offspring (The) Biography
1985: School custodian Noodles joins up, allegedly for his ability to legally procure alcohol for the underage trio. The threesome practice in Kriesel‘s parents‘ house and play their first shows in Santa Cruz and San Francisco.
1986: The band, originally called Manic Subsidal, changes its name to The Offspring. They press up 1,000 copies of the debut vinyl single, “I‘ll Be Waiting“ b/w “Blackball,” on their own Black Label. The band pioneers its DIY method by glueing the sleeves together at Kriesel‘s house.
Sixteen-year-old Ron Welty becomes the fourth member of The Offspring after the original drummer leaves to devote more time to school.
1989: Band signs to independent label Nemesis/Cargo. With punk producer Thom Wilson (T.S.O.L., The Vandals and Dead Kennedys), they release The Offspring, their debut album, which sells 3,000 vinyl copies.
1991: The band put out a 7“ EP, Baghdad (Nemesis/Cargo) and records “Take It Like a Man” for a Flipside magazine compilation, The Big One, produced by Epitaph Records owner (and Bad Religion guitarist) Brett Gurewitz.
1992: The band signs to Epitaph and record their second album, Ignition. After a record release party in Fullerton, CA draws 25 diehard fans, the album goes on to sell more than 1 million albums worldwide.
1993-'94: The band tours the U.S. once with Lunachicks and next with Pennywise. They also do a European jaunt supporting NOFX.
1994: Smash, their second album for Epitaph, is released. Featuring the mega-hits “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated),“ “Self Esteem‘ and “Gotta Get Away,“ the album is a phenomenon. The disc sells more than 11 million copies worldwide, the most ever for a band on an indie label, after “Come Out and Play” becomes a gigantic MTV hit. The album peaks at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart.
1995: Dexter and Greg start Nitro Records. The Huntington Beach-based label forms a roster that includes such California stalwarts as the Vandals, AFI, Guttermouth and others. Nitro also reissues the band‘s self-titled debut on CD for the first time. The Offspring‘s cover of the Damned‘s “Smash It Up” is featured on the best-selling Batman Forever soundtrack.
1997: The Offspring sign with Columbia Records, and release the Dave Jerden-produced Ixnay on the Hombre in February. The album sells more than 3 million worldwide and peaks at #9 on the Billboard 200, with singles “All I Want,“ “Gone Away,“ and “I Choose“ all hitting the Modern Rock charts. Spin raved: “Punk-rock zealots can take their rage to the grave, but what this band cares about beyond everything else is what zealots can abide least: songs.“ The L.A. Times praised the album as “richly varied and thoroughly smart.. a mature, sometimes daring and always enticing effort by a band that constantly offers far more than meets the ear.“ Jello Biafra makes a cameo appearance on Ixnay and joins the band on-stage to perform version of Dead Kennedy classics “Chemical Warfare“ and “Holiday in Cambodia.”
1998: An MP3 file of “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy),“ from the band‘s yet-to-be-released Americana album is downloaded a record 22 million times over a 10-week period, landing it the #1 spot on Rolling Stone‘s Top Pirated Internet Songs chart. When Americana is released in November, worldwide sales climb past the 10 million mark, thanks to the catchy single and MTV video. Other singles include “Why Don‘t You Get a Job?,“ “The Kids Aren‘t Alright“ and “She‘s Got Issues.“ The band‘s touring schedule takes them to Woodstock ‘99 for an acclaimed performance captured on film and the 1999 Reading/Leads Festivals in the U.K. “We love what we do,“ says Holland. “We want to make the best music we can and try to top what we did before.”
1999: The group follows its tour of the U.S. with shows in Australia and Japan. The Offspring makes a cameo appearance in the cult horror/comedy Idle Hands, playing a cover of the Ramones‘ “I Wanna Be Sedated“ and “Beheaded” from their self-titled debut before Dexter is killed after speaking his one line.
2000: The group is hit with a cease-and-desist order from file-sharing service Napster after offering T-shirts sporting the company‘s famed logo for sale on the band‘s website. The band defends its actions, claiming they were simply “sharing“ the logo with fans.
The band spawns more controversy when they decide to offer their new album Conspiracy Of One free of charge via the Internet prior to its initial November release date. Fans downloading the record were automatically registered in a contest to be awarded $1,000,000 directly from the band (live on MTV) on the day of the album‘s release. Fans who go on to buy the record are awarded membership in the Offspring Nation digital fan club, receiving exclusive downloads of unreleased material, advance ticket sales, guarded chats with the band and more. Sony Music doesn‘t agree and threatens a lawsuit. The band avoids the lawsuit by making individual singles available on their official website and MTV Online. “The reality is this album will end up on the Internet whether we want it to or not,“ Holland tells the L.A. Times. “So we thought, ‘Why don‘t we just do it ourselves?‘ We‘re not afraid of the Internet. We think it‘s a very cool way to reach our fans.”
2001: The Offspring headline KROQ‘s Inland Invasion at Blockbuster Pavilion in Devore with Incubus, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Pennywise, Social Distortion, Weezer, Mike D and Mixmaster Mike on July 18. In December, the band record “Defy You” with Brendan O‘Brien for the soundtrack to Orange County, starring Colin Hanks and Jack Black. Dave Meyers directs the video.
2002: In March, The Offspring play the Las Vegas premiere of Tony Hawk‘s Boom Boom Huck Jam, with an array of action sports champions like Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Dave Mirra, Mat Hoffman and Carey Hart, then go on for four more dates that fall. In July, they play a benefit concert with T.S.O.L. at the Anaheim House of Blues for They Will Surf Again and Life Rolls On, not-for-profit organizations formed by professional surfers dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. In September, they open the Kerrang! Awards in London before being presented with the Classic Songwriter award by Garbage‘s Shirley Manson. Said the venerable metal mag: “They have influenced and continue to influence new generations of K!-heads. Tonight‘s award nails not only The Offspring‘s glorious past, but their ongoing relevance.”
2003: The Offspring cover the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated,” which they first did for the film Idle Hands, on the tribute album We’re a Happy Family (Columbia), joining Metallica, Eddie Vedder, Marilyn Manson and KISS and among others.
The band lay down demos for the new album at Holland’s D-13 studios in his native Huntington Beach, then continue recording with producer Brendan O’Brien in Atlanta at Southern Tracks Recording and Henson Recording Studios in L.A. Drummer Ron Welty leaves the band. Former Vandals and A Perfect Circle drummer Josh Freese takes over duties for the recording process. The group is also joined in the studio by two old-school SoCal punk pals, Pennywise’s Jim Lindberg and T.S.O.L.’s Jack Grisham,who takes time off from his campaign for Governor of California to lay down some background vocals.
Holland announces the record will be called Chinese Democracy as an obvious tweak to Axl Rose, who had previously announced that was the title to the new Guns N Roses album he’s been working on for much of the past decade. “It was so damn funny,” says Dexter. “We felt like we had to do it. The idea of stealing the title of an album someone else has been working on for so long was very funny to us. You snooze, you lose. Axl ripped off my braids, so I ripped off his album title.“ But ultimately, the band announced on their website that the decision to title the album Chinese Democracy had somehow caused production to come to a halt. “That album title jinxed us,“ said Dexter.
The band visit Hawaii, where they film a surfing video with Da Hui, a notorious gang of native islanders who welcome them to their North Shore turf. The footage will appear as extra footage on their upcoming CD.
In October, they bring in drummer Atom Willard, who was in Rocket From the Crypt for 10 years as well as playing with Moth and the Alkaline Trio. The group decide to name the new album Splinter and the first single “Hit That“ debuts at radio. Combining live action with computer-generated images (and no band members), the unique video for “Hit That” directed by John Williams and David Lea soon premieres.
The band fly to Europe for secret club shows in London, Berlin and Paris and return to the US for more shows before Splinter‘s release on December 9.
2004: The Offspring begin the year with performances on Top Of The Pops in the UK and then at ESPN‘s Winter X-Games in Aspen, Colorado. A video is shot for the single “(Can‘t Get My“) Head Around You“ using 125+ cameras from just as many angles to create “the ultimate performance video.”
In February, the Splinter World Tour kicks off in full force in Europe followed by 2 legs of dates in the US, then Australia, Japan & Asia, back to Europe, South Africa (for the first time ever), South America and finally the band wraps up the tour headlining the Holiday Havoc festival in Anaheim, California on November 14. 97 shows, 22 countries, 161,682 miles and many an empty beer bottle.
The Rock Against Bush compilation, featuring The Offspring‘s “Baghdad” is released in May.
A longtime dream of his as a pilot, Dexter celebrates the end of the tour with a 9 day solo flight around the entire globe.
2005: The Offspring begins the year working on new songs, old songs and covers with producer Jerry Finn, including “Can‘t Repeat“ a new track and single for the soon upcoming Greatest Hits album.
Los Angeles radio station KROQ offers a flight on Dexter‘s jet as part of their South Asian Tsunami benefit auction. In March, Dexter takes the winners up over Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon before buzzing their house.
In April, the band heads to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco for a photo shoot in advance of the Greatest Hits release. Soon after, they visit a Los Angeles soundstage to shoot the video for “Can‘t Repeat.“
Epitaph releases Punk-O-Rama Vol. 10 June 7 including The Offspring‘s “Mission From God.“
The Offspring headline the Dew Action Sports Tour stop on June 11 in Louisville, Kentucky before heading out on their first summer aboard the Vans Warped Tour.
The Greatest Hits collection hits stores in North America on June 21. The collection features all of the band‘s major hits plus “Can‘t Repeat.” Greatest Hits is released in both DualDisc and standard CD configurations. The DualDisc version featured the entire album on the audio-only side while the DVD side includes the full album in 5.1 stereo; a chat with Dexter and Noodles about the band‘s history and the stories behind the songs; and an exclusive in-the-studio acoustic performance of “Dirty Magic.“
A few weeks later, The Offspring‘s Complete Music Video Collection is released on DVD. The 2–1/2 hour DVD showcases all of the band‘s videos including the band-produced video rarities “Da Hui“ and “Cool To Hate“ Further bonus features on the DVD include 5.1 surround sound; audio commentary on the videos from Dexter Holland and Noodles; a selection of live television performances; and “Guy Cohen: Where Is He Now?,“ Dexter‘s penetrating interview with the actor from “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy).”
Capping off 46 Warped Tour dates, The Offspring play a benefit show at the famed New York City club C.B.G.B.‘s to aid in the club‘s efforts to resolve their lease issues and remain in their historic location. The show rocks, C.B.s gets kicked out anyway.
In September, the band head to Europe for a string of dates followed by a quick tour of Japan in October. The band return to the U.S. to find radio stations playing their cover of “Next To You,” originally by The Police and an unlisted final track on the US version of Greatest Hits album. The stations picked up on the song from Offspring fans calling and requesting it.
The Offspring headline the closing-night concert at the BlizzCon computer/video game festival in Anaheim, CA.