The Offspring (1984-present): a Punk band from Huntington Beach, California, USA.
urely inspired by early Ramones, and moving in on the punk rock revivalist movement and starting in the L.A. suburbs, Offspring was founded by Dexter Holland (a.k.a. Brian Holland; vocals/guitar; he uses a different first name on each album) and Greg Kriesel (a.k.a. Greg K.; bass) with James Lilja (drums) and Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman (guitar) joining in soon after. For a short time they were known as Manic Subsidal. Their first release was a 45 single titled I'll Be Waiting on their self-financed 'Black' label. With Ron Welty subsequently replacing Lilja they moved into the studio for demo work. The fruits of their labor eventually surfaced in 1989 with the self-titled, Offspring, album issued on the 'Nitro' label featuring a fusion of exotic Hardcore; unfortunately the style didn't find favor outside of the band themselves and those few involved with the scene. The next few years were tough ones for the band, even more so for "Noodles", who was stabbed at a benefit concert.
A fan, and the elusive record contract, was found with Brad Gurewitz (ex-Bad Religion) and his newly founded 'Epitaph' record company, who would subsequently sign them and follow up with their sophomore album Ignition (1992). As good as this album was, there still wasn't enough to hit stardom; not enough that is until Smash (1994) pushed them into the US charts at #4 (21 in the UK). Complete with hooky lines, Day-Glo choruses and a larger than life Nu-Ska-Punk sound they found a niche along side fellow style purveyors Green Day. In early 1995 the track Self Esteem gave them recognition in England by becoming a top 40 hit, while the album itself sold over one million copies in the US alone; 7 million worldwide, helped largely by the $5,000 video of Come Out And Play 'Epitaph' created of them, getting big rotation on MTV and re-launching the punk rock movement after more than a decade of stagnation. This coup helped make 'Epitaph' one of the most successful indie labels ever.
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Over the next two years, 'Columbia' tried to pick them up, but in the end the follow-up Ixnay On The Hombre (1997) remained on 'Epitaph'. This album also flew up the charts, using its predecessor's formula, to reach #9 in the US and 17 on the UK charts. For his part, Dexter would subsequently team up with Jello Biafra (ex-Dead Kennedys) to play charity gigs for the homeless under the name S.F.U. as a side project.
Americana (1998) continued their upward rise in the charts getting a 2 US (10 UK) on the strength of the novelty tracks Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) andWhy Don't You Get A Job? But the follow-up Conspiracy Of One (2000), although featuring plenty of yell-along riffage it failed to feature anything new in the way of innovation and didn't assist their upward trend despite claiming a top 20 with a 9 US and 12 UK positions. The band intended to release the entire album online through their official website, to show their support for downloading music on the internet. However, under threat of legal action by 'Columbia' through their parent company 'Sony', only the first single Original Prankster was released on their official website (the rest of the record was leaked to fan sites). In defiance, the band also sold T-shirts on their website with the Napster logo on it and donated money to Napster creator Shawn Fanning with the profits.
Drummer Ron Welty left the group in 2003 to play in Steady Ground who subsequently broke up in 2007.
Splinter arrived in 2003 featuring Josh Freese on drums, however, Atom Willard would be the official replacement for Welty thereafter. The album's original title was to be "Chinese Democrazy (You Snooze, You Lose)", from the name of the long-delayed album by Guns N' Roses. Upon discovery, Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose filed a cease and desist order against The Offspring over the title, but halted his actions when he realized the publication date was different; titles are not protected by copyright.
In 2005, the band released a Greatest Hits album in both DualDisc and regular CD editions.
2007 saw former Saves the Day drummer Pete Parada become the new drummer to replace Atom Willard, who was leaving to join Angels and Airwaves.
In April 2008, 'Epitaph Records' reissued Ignitio and Smash; both albums were remastered with Smash receiving a new 24-page booklet. The re-issues were released on the same day as the new album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace.
Days Go By would be the name of their next album, released June 26, 2012.
The Offspring had now completed their contract with 'Columbia' and expressed interest of becoming independent again and spent the summer of 2014 on tour commemorating the 20th anniversary of their third album, Smash and soon after required their rights from 'Columbia'. Independent again? Yes, kind of... for they then auctioned off those rights to 'Round Hill Music' for around a £23 million winning bid. Although much of their catalog would remain with a label, they took the money to build their own studio and begin recording on a new album due in 2016.
Footnote: If an independent band is defined as any group who records alone or with any non-major record company, then the Offspring hold the record for success by selling more than 7 million copies of their Smash album on launch; at one point selling 60,000 copies per week. For the record label's part, 'Maverick Records', a label controlled by Madonna, offered to buy-out 'Epitaph' for $50 million US Guerwitz wanted nothing to do with it and turned them flat down, becoming the first of many companies to become known as the 'fiercely independent'. A second trivial matter: It is suspected that the band borrowed the title from a 1986 film starring Vincent Price and Lawrence Tierney for their band name.
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The Offspring performing in 2009 in London, UK.
Photo by: wonker.
CC BY 2.0
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