The Offspring have just released their new album ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ via Concord. They are also set to tour the UK alongside The Hives in November 2021, which you can buy tickets for from right HERE.
With their first record in nine years, the band have come careering back into view bundled with everything we ever loved about them. Here, Dexter and Noodles talk us through it all...
Time is an unpredictable thing; some moments dragging mercilessly, and others flying by, making hours feel like minutes. One thing is for sure though, it won’t stop for anyone, and when the clock keeps ticking on, panic can set in. Are other people moving at a faster pace than you? Do you need to stomp down harder on the pedal?
Whilst the temptation to get to the finish line quicker may come, the fact remains that rushing things is rarely the answer, something that has never been clearer to the members of The Offspring. For the SoCal punk icons, it’s been a long road since the release of their 2012 album ‘Days Go By’, but the last nine years of their band’s existence have centered around the realisation of something incredibly important: all good things take time.
“I went back to school. I was fairly close to getting my PhD way back in the ’90s but put it on hold because of the band. I wanted to go back, but it took longer than I thought it would because we were still touring a lot at the time,” frontman Dexter Holland explains.
“We didn’t have a label, we had no schedule or deadline, and nobody was telling us we had to be done by a certain point, so we just took our time.”
With no outside pressures, The Offspring have gradually been connecting the dots to form their long-awaited tenth studio album. Thirty-seven years into their career and navigating a world where artists get criticised for sticking to the formula but accused of ‘selling out’ if they venture too far outside the box, re-establishing their place was the first step.
“We knew it had been a long time, and wanted to put out a record that represented us in a way we were comfortable with and felt good about,” guitarist Kevin ‘Noodles’ Wasserman explains.
“It’d be really hard to design a record from the top down the way people think bands do when they see the finished product, the whole process is an evolution,” Dexter adds.
“It’s a tough line to toe. We didn’t want to rehash what we’ve done because it would feel like we’re just stagnating as a band. We want to keep on creating music, but how do you push that boundary in such a way that it feels like you, but doesn’t feel like what you’ve already done?”
Not content with simply planting their flag back down where they left off, The Offspring needed to find something worthwhile to say. The answer? Well, it turns out it was as simple as turning on the news.
“How could we not write about what’s going on?” Dexter sighs.
“There’s been such an onslaught of bad stuff and the attitudes of our world leaders seem to be more in the mindset of, ‘Bring it on’, instead of trying to solve it. They want to fight and try to prove each other wrong and all it does is make things worse, they’re setting this thing on fire instead of trying to put the flames out.”
“We thought stuff was messed up before… boy were we wrong, that was a cakewalk!” Noodles laughs.
“Maybe it’s part of being in a punk band, where you try to find the shit that that needs changing and needs to be called out. It’s like they say, contentment breeds boredom, whereas chaos breeds creativity.”
It’s these realisations that underpin the band’s latest album, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’, carefully pieced together over the course of almost a decade from their Huntington Beach studio. Having played a pivotal role in the punk scene and by no means strangers to talking politics, The Offspring unsurprisingly have a lot to say about the state of the world in 2021, but they’re not about to point fingers.
“We want to tell the story without putting our own moral stamp on it. We never want to come across as being preachy, but we’d like to make you think. That’s how we like to be addressed by our favourite bands,” Noodles explains.
“Just because you’re liberal or conservative, that doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person,” Dexter continues.
“I think we can all agree that shit’s fucked up, so let’s make that our starting point and try to get people thinking about how to make things better, rather than focusing on convincing everybody else that they’re wrong. After all, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, right?”
It’s a good point, and whether they’re addressing situations in the Middle East or the opioid crisis closer to home, there’s an incredibly serious conversation running through ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’, but it’s all served up alongside the same tongue-in-cheek irony that has defined this band from the very beginning.
“The album has two sides of it, one which is very serious and undoubtedly heavy, but also one that says you’ve got to roll with the punches,” Dexter says.
“We definitely cover some pretty dark themes, sometimes even depressing things, but humour is a coping mechanism, right? It certainly always has been with our band, and that’s what makes you able to tolerate what’s happening and ultimately get through it.”
It’s a duality that reflects the push and pull nature of modern society, and a balance that the band, now completed by bassist Todd Morse and drummer Pete Parada, have managed to consistently strike over the years. With a healthy dose of humour woven into its more sombre messages, there’s an undeniable fragile foundation to ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’, one that has enabled a piano-led re-imagining of fan-favourite ‘Gone Away’ from 1997 album ‘Ixnay On The Hombre’ to finally find a permanent home.
“We’ve been playing it this way at shows for a long time and had such a great reaction from it. It was uncomfortable at first though, because I felt very naked on stage. I was like, ‘These kids don’t want to hear a piano ballad, they want us to play punk rock, they’re gonna throw shit at us!’” Dexter recalls.
“I look back on a lot of stuff I’ve written and think it’s alright, but to me those lyrics still hold up. I was a youngster when I wrote that song, but it definitely seems more mature than we were at the time.”
Revisiting snapshots of their past and fitting them into the picture of their band today, The Offspring are back and ready to help steer punk towards a more hopeful future. Taking into account the tumultuous times we’re living through, the good, the bad, and everything between, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ proclaims something loud and clear; if the world’s going to end, we may as well have some fun with it.
“We never thought we’d be putting out an album in 2021, but we were always going to do this for as long as it was fun,” concludes Noodles.
“Part of why we waited to put this out was because initially we didn’t want to release these songs at a time where we can’t reach our audience the way we want to, but we’re a rock band. We make music, it’s what we do. And it’s time to get this out there.”
The Offspring’s new album ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ is out now via Concord. The band tour the UK alongside The Hives in November 2021.
Grab your tickets right HERE