On the back of their third album Smash, The Offspring spent the second half of this year bulleting into the charts and helping revive the punk-pop scene world wide. Interview by Steve Tauschke with bassist Greg K.
Since we spoke last year, you've gone on to sell more than four million copies of Smash. How many more is that than you expected?
"Um, about, um, well a lot more. We expected maybe 100,000 or 200,000, anywhere past that you just can't expect from an independent label."
So are major labels courting you?
"Yep, they all pretty much came calling when the album first broke, like in May, June, July, around that time. We pretty much let them know that we weren't interested in signing anything with them right now so they haven't really approached us since then. We still owe Epitaph another album."
How far into writing the next album are you?
"Well Dexter writes all the songs and mostly he just writes everything in his head and comes to us maybe a couple of months before we record and then we start working things out. Last time I talked to him he had ideas for maybe half an album or a little more, about nine songs. We don't have to worry about that until we're done touring anyway."
I'm guessing the next step for Epitaph would be to start releasing your back catalogue?
"Yes, the first album is starting to pick up a little bit."
Has this sudden popularity begun to affect your normal life?
"Well, right now we're just on the road, constantly. We'll come home for a couple of weeks at a time and then go back out for a month. We're going to be touring steadily until almost July. We like being on the road and playing every night but we just don't have a steady home life anymore. There are pro's and con's but we like what we're doing right now and we're having fun doing it."
Are you at the point where people won't leave you alone?
"It hasn't happened yet. There's a lot of attention on us but I can still walk down the street. Right now, I'm sitting in Denny's and nobody notices me or anything so it hasn't come to that point yet. Dexter has a lot more attention on him because he's the front man, he's a lot more noticeable but it's not to a point where he's just hounded all the time."
Are you wary of burning out due to over-touring or is that a bit premature?
"I don't think right now we fear burnout but I think eventually if it doesn't become fun anymore then hopefully we'll do something else - or quit!. I think losing control is something maybe we also think about. There's so many more people working for us and there's more going on and there's a chance of actually losing control of what's actually happening to us."
So what sort of bands are you currently touring with?
"Right now, we have a band called Face To Face with us, from our area. Last time we took Rancid, another Epitaph band. Usually, it's a local band with a similar style to our music, like hard melodic punk."
You've had offers to tour with some big name acts too right?
"We've had a few; Stone Temple Pilots, Metallica, Cult, Suicidal Tendencies and a few other ones. But at this time we don't feel like playing those big arena tours. We'd rather just do the clubs to maybe a couple of thousand people and then next year, maybe after the next album we'll think about moving up."
Does it bug you that people mention The Offspring and Green Day in the one breath?
"Sometimes. We are two separate bands. But we understand the comparison, we both came up the same way through punk backgrounds and we both sort of exploded out of nowhere. The comparisons are obvious but what we get sick of is a lot of is a lot of the articles are about us and Green Day together, you know a split article with one page on us and one page on them. So from that point of view, we're separate bands and we want to be treated separately."
So to what to do attribute the renaissance of punk anthems?
"I dunno. I think that the songs are just catchy, they're easy to listen to and the kids can relate to them. They relate to the energy, the attitude and the power of the songs."
Has there been an issue over royalties relating to the Didjits song covered on the album?
"We talked to Rick Sims, the (Didjits) singer/songwriter when we played Chicago. He lives in Chicago and he came to the show. Anyway, he gets songwriting royalties from the song (Killboy Powerhead), there was never a controversy about that. It's just something he automatically got which he thanked us for I guess because it's enough for him to live off."
Really. And has interest in the Didjits spiked since Smash started charting?
"We asked him about that and he wasn't really sure. He didn't see it that much. I think people recognise the name but that won't make them necessarily go out and buy the album or see the band play."