Audacy hosts Kevan Kenney and Bryce Segall were joined by Noodles and Dexter Holland of The Offspring for a special Check-In following their blistering performance for us to celebrate the release of their tenth studio album, Let The Bad Times Roll.
The Offspring dominated the '90s and 2000's with their unique blend of Pop Punk, Rock, and good humor. Their last album came in 2012 with the release of Days Go By. Today, the band is officially back on the scene and ready to take over your playlists once again.
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While the Zoom interview experience has been different for so many, hell Machine Gun Kelly spoke with us from his car one day, the guys had a tight studio set up today. “We’re not gonna phone it in like some rapper, man,” Noodles said laughing. “No we love MGK. We kid, we kid out of love!” Coming at us live from the sunny Huntington Beach, CA studio where they just recorded their first new album in nine years, Noodles admits the band took some time to put the new release together while also working, touring, “and doing other things like getting PHD’s and things like that, we don’t want to bore ya. Without any deadlines, we were able to spend the time to make sure we got this right.”
“To put into perspective though,” Dexter interjects, “we got asked to do a song for for the last ‘Sharknado’ movie, right… when we went down to meet the director he was very nice. He said, ‘when was your last album?’ [We said] ‘oh, 2012.’ He goes, ‘dude, I’ve done all six Sharknado movies since you guys put out your last record!’” According to Noodles, that was “too much perspective.”
For host Kevan Kenney, he’ll always hold The Offspring close to his heart as the first band he got into trouble for listening to. His mom wasn’t happy with him singing the explicit version of “Why Don’t You Get A Job” at the age of seven, so she took away his Americana CD. Visibly proud to be host Kevan’s first, Noodles says the first band he git into trouble for listening to was the Dead Kennedys:
“First of all, my dad was a big fan of the Kennedys, the real Kennedys, and I was singing ‘Holiday In Cambodia’ or something ad my dad was like, ‘THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA!’ and I was like, ‘that’s right dad. Maybe you’re getting it.” As co-host Bryce pointed out, it had to be a big deal for them to have lead singer Jello Biafra intro their fourth record, Ixnay on the Hombre. “That was amazing to have one of our idols with us in the studio,” says Dexter.” Noodles remembers picking Jello up at his hotel and taking him for breakfast. “I always wanted to write ‘My Breakfast with Biafra’ and have that little short film. I was so nervous because I was such a huge fan. But Biafra’s a good friend of ours now, he’s great.”
Although the band has ceased including “disclaimers” at the beginning of their records, if they had to choose someone to do an intro for this new album it would be John Mayer says Noodles. He meant the voiceover artist who has worked with the band in the past, not the singer. Realizing a more interesting answer was required, Noodles jokes that Christopher Mintz-Plasse would “play me in the movie,” so he’d maybe go with him, leading him to say Dexter would be played by Michael Cera… like “a ‘Superbad’ with guitars… I could have said Jonah Hill!”
Possibly drawing unnecessary parallels, Kevan wonders if the new record is in essence a 2021 Americana in the sense of examining the times and society we live in. “That’s definitely the theme to the album, Dexter says. “’Let The Bad Times Roll’ is the idea, and [artist Daveed Benito's] character on the cover, the Shiva has the different facets of letting the bad times roll whether it’s greed, or addiction, or pills, or money, or what have you and I think ‘examination’ is a good word for it.”
Noodles adds, “we’re Americans but we’re also we’re individuals so we kind of look at how we react in the world and it makes us feel as individuals the things that we see happening… to friends and family. So really, it’s a look at society but also how people relate in that society.” Dexter agrees, saying “it’s told in a personal way.”
“Most of this record was written in last two or three years,” says Noodles. “We had a really creative period a couple of years ago where things were just firing.” Regarding all of the time they had to perfect the project, Dexter andmits it can be easy to overthink things. “We actually pretty much had the record finished righ before the pandemic hit and then we thought, ‘let’s hang on a minute. Let’s not put this out and see what happens.’ So we used that time to take a fresh look at all the songs and I’m glad we did now, because they all got just a little bit better.”
In the world of Alternative, and specifically Punk where The Offspring reside, there can be some backlash for pop-crossover success. Early on in their Smash days Noodles admits “catching some heat” from some people in the community, usually those relatively new to the Pop-punk scene, who wanted to keep it to themselves.” “So I kind of got that, but at the same time I grew up loving punk rock and thinking, ‘man more people need to listen to the Ramones, more people need to listen to TSOL, Social Distortion, The Vandals… why aren’t they more popular? I love this stuff!’ It was just a matter of time, and I think we weathered it with equanimity.”
“When we made ‘Smash’ we thought it was gonna be a punk rock record that would appeal to a relatively small audience, Noodles continues. “There was no mass audience… just like there was no mass audience for Grunge bands before Nirvana blew the doors open. And I really think Nirvana was a punk band called ‘grunge’ because you weren’t allowed to play punk on the radio.” Dexter adds, “that was three years before ‘Smash’ came out. When that hit, you could see the dial’s getting closer. It’s coming closer to where we are.”
Thinking back to the band’s beginnings, Noodles and Dexter both remember dropping off their first 7” single to Rodney Bingenheimer at the back door of the KROQ offices in Los Angeles and hearing it on the air an hour later. “After that it would have been Loveline?” Noodles asks. “We’ve been through a bunch of Loveline hosts!” They also remembered a past MTV TRL experience where they helped give away a million dollars and how it turned into absolute turmoil for the winner’s friends and family. “That certainly wasn’t our intention,” Noodles says. “ We just wanted to help one of our fans out!”
Jumping back to today, and the coming-up of artists like JXDN who got his start on the video-sharing app TikTok, and now has drummer Travis Barker in his back pocket, Noodles feels “that’s one of the fun things that the Internet has to offer. There’s a lot of different punk rock music that is happening kind of in the underground but on the Internet. If it gets the right placement, an underground punker can become huge overnight. I’m not on TikTok, although I gotta start working on my dance moves and see what I can put together, but there’s people that were making music on Gameboys and stuff and putting it up on MySpace 10, 15 years ago that are still at it. I think that stuff’s kind of interesting, personally.”
The band has been known over the years for their incredible art design, from albums covers, to liner inserts, to their concert t-shirts – something the band has taken from their own record collecting and enjoyment of all the extras. Joking about putting together their own version of exclusive NFT offerings like so many artists have begun to do, Kevan made a valiant attempt to convince the guys that an NFT could possibly be a hit especially if they offer those extra goodies that they love. “Artwork is important to us, like Noodles said, our favorite records were ones that had lots of art, lots of stuff to look at,” says Dexter. “I know people don’t buy records anymore, but this album if you do have the CD, there’s an image for each song. It’s a booklet. 12 pages, 12 images.”
Watch the full interview above to find out which tracks the guys think are the new record’s absolute stand-outs – and be sure to pick up The Offspring’s new record Let The Bad Times Roll, on shelves and streaming now. Plus, stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists right here on Audacy.