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Offspring

Offspring

Rock group

Achieving superstar status with their repertoire of punk songs that cross the border into tuneful pop, The Offspring have carved out a unique place for themselves in rock music. "We've approached the punk-rock thing as a legitimate style of music, and we try to play it like a real band and write lyrics that people can identify with," claimed the group's songwriter and lead singer, Dexter Holland, in Rolling Stone. Jon Pareles acknowledged the group's versatility in the New York Times, calling their music "a grab-bag of Southern California rock: speedy punk and ska, twangy surf-rock, hefty hard rock, nasal grunge melodies and ardent new wave." The Offspring became one of the top groups on the alternative rock circuit after scoring a surprise number one hit in 1994 with "Come Out and Play (You Gotta Keep 'Em Separated)" from their widely popular Smash album.

Unlike typical punk music stars whose anger was ignited by urban blight, the members of The Offspring were more geeks than rebels, and they grew up in the fairly well-to-do suburbs of California's Orange County. Group leader Bryan "Dexter" Holland was valedictorian of his high school class, became a pre-med student in college and eventually earned his Ph.D. in microbiology. He first became enamored with punk music in his senior year at Pacifica High School in California, after hearing music by T.S.O.L., The Adolescents, and Agent Orange. "Something about those bands at the time made me really excited, and got me interested enough to want to start a band," said Holland in RIP. Holland and Greg Kriesel, both of whom ran on the school's cross-country team, formed the group Manic Subsidal with two other teammates in 1984 despite not knowing how to play any instruments. "Bryan and I both learned together, and he wasn't even playing chords at the time, so he'd play on one string, and I tried to do the same thing," Kriesel told Rolling Stone.

After graduating from high school, Holland and Kriesel went off to college and were limited to rehearsing on weekends. Kevin Wasserman, an older Pacifica graduate who was working as the school janitor, came into the group when their guitarist left the band. Ron Welty took over drumming duties permanently after frequent stand-ins for the regular drummer, who was attending medical school and was increasingly unavailable. Meanwhile, Holland was venturing into songwriting and the group was eager to get into the studio.

In 1987 the group used their own money to record a seven-inch single, but then couldn't sell it. Two years of rough times followed before they landed a contract with Nemesis, a small punk label distributed by Cargo. With Nemesis they produced another seven-inch single called "Baghdad" and their first album called The Offspring in 1989. Producing the album was Thom Wilson, who had also produced songs for T.S.O.L., The Vandals, and The Dead Kennedys.

The Offspring's first recordings were standard punk songs. "All punk bands back in '84 wrote about was police, death, religion and war," said Holland in Rolling Stone. "So that's what we did." As the group began sending out demo recordings to the full gamut of punk labels, they attracted the attention of Brett Gurewitz, the guitarist with Bad Religion who also owned Epitaph Records. Epitaph signed the group and released its Ignition LP in 1992, which sold over 30,000 copies. Word got out on the potential of The Offspring, resulting in a bidding war between major record labels, but the group decided to stay with Epitaph.

Top-Selling LP on an Independent Label

"You could tell as the tracks started going down that there was something kind of neat going on," Holland told the Los Angeles Times about the recording of Smash in 1994. "And like when we got done we thought, ‘Wow, we made a neat little record.’" However, no one in the group anticipated the tremendous impact that the album would have on the music world. When Epitaph tried to promote airplay of the album's single "Come Out and Play" on the Los Angeles alternative-rock station KROQ, no one in the band felt the song was that special, according to the Los Angeles Times. Before long the song was being played frequently on many commercial stations, as well as on television. After "Come Out and Play," which Rolling Stone called "worthy of the best rock-songwriting tradition," soared up the charts, The Offspring soon became superstars whose fame rivaled that of punkdom's Green Day. The singles "Self-Esteem" and "Gotta Get Away" from Smash also proved popular, helping boost worldwide sales of the album to over nine million and making it the top-selling LP ever on an independent label.

For the Record …

Members include: Bryan "Dexter" Holland , vocals, guitar; Greg "Greg K." Kriesel , bass; Pete Parada (joined as permanent replacement, 2007), drums; Greg "Noodles" Wasserman , guitar and vocals; Ron Welty (left band in 2003), drums.

First began rehearsing as a band (Holland and Kriesel), 1984; began performing at 924 Gilman Street club in Berkeley, CA, 1986; paid to release first single, 1987; signed recording contract with Nemesis, 1989; released first album, The Offspring, on Nemesis, 1989; signed contract with Epitaph Records, 1990s; released Ignition, 1992, and Smash, 1994, on Epitaph; scored first hit single with "Come Out and Play," 1994; performed as opening act for telecast of the Billboard Music Awards, 1994; reissued The Offspring on their own label, Nitro, 1995; performed at Reading Festival, U.K.; Bizarre Festival, Germany; and Pukklepop Festival, Belgium, 1996; signed recording contract with Columbia, 1996; released Ixnay on the Hombre, 1997; Americana, 1998; Conspiracy of One, 2000; Splinter, 2003, all on Columbia.

Addresses: Record company—Columbia Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022-3211.

After the release of Smash, The Offspring toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia. In 1996 they signed a contract with Columbia Records after disagreements with Epitaph. Their first release on the new label was Ixnay on the Hombre in 1997, produced by Dave Jerden, who had worked with Social Distortion and Jane's Addiction. As on Smash, the group offered a mix of hardcore music, hard rock, pop, and ska on the new album. Ixnay on the Hombre also featured much experimenting with different tempos and rhythms. "Gone Away" started slowly before erupting into ferocious rock, and Middle Eastern guitar riffs added an exotic flair to "Me & My Old Lady."

Although known as tireless performers who gladly take to the road, the group has not embraced their current fame without reservation. "Sometimes we feel the spotlight," Holland told the Los Angeles Times. "It gets kind of uncomfortable, you know, having people watch you all the time."

Americana, released in 1998, scored another hit for the band, followed by the album Conspiracy of One two years later. Welty, their longtime drummer, left the band in 2003 to form a new band called Steady Ground. Atom Willard replaced Welty and joined the band on tour in support of Splinter (2003). Splinter featured the single "Hit That," which reached number one on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. The year 2005 saw the release of a greatest hits anthology, which contained a new single as well as a dual disc version containing the entire Greatest Hits record on the flipside of the disc, mastered in 5.1 surround sound audio, as well as video clips and an in-studio version of the band singing "Dirty Magic." Atom Willard, who had not been involved in any studio recording for The Offspring, left the band in 2007 to form Angels & Airwaves. The summer of 2007 brought the news that Pete Parada-was named as the newest drummer (although studio drummer Josh Freese had already recorded all the drum tracks for the group's upcoming, still untitled new record). In 2007 the group was featured in Susan Dynner's documentary Punk's Not Dead.

Selected discography

The Offspring, Nemesis, 1989.

Ignition, Epitaph, 1992.

Smash, Epitaph, 1994.

Ixnay on the Hombre, Columbia, 1997.

Americana, Columbia, 1998.

Conspiracy of One, Columbia, 2000.

Splinter, Columbia, 2003.

Greatest Hits, Columbia, 2005.

Sources

Books

Rock: The Rough Guide, Rough Guides Ltd, 1999.

Periodicals

Entertainment Weekly, August 12, 1994, pp. 54-55.

Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1995, p. 8.

Musician, August 1994, p. 90.

New York Times, February 22, 1997, p. A17.

RIP, October 1994, pp. 8-10.

Rolling Stone, November 3, 1994, pp. 25-27; February 9, 1995, pp. 43-45.

Spin, November 1994, pp. 47-50; March 1995, pp. 24-25.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from publicity materials from the Mitch Schneider Organization, released by Sony Records.

—Ed Decker and Bruce Edward Walker

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offspring

off·spring / ˈôfˌspring; ˈäf-/ • n. (pl. same) a person's child or children: the offspring of middle-class parents. ∎  an animal's young. ∎ fig. the product or result of something: German nationalism was the offspring of military ambition.

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"offspring." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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offspring

offspring (progeny) New individual organisms that result from the process of sexual or asexual reproduction. See also F1; F2.

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offspring

offspring OE. ofspring, f. OF. † ‘from’ + springan SPRING2.

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offspring

offspring •handspring • hamstring • herring •headspring • wellspring •airing, ballbearing, bearing, Behring, Bering, caring, daring, fairing, hardwearing, pairing, paring, raring, sparing, Waring, wearing •talebearing • childbearing •wayfaring • seafaring • cheeseparing •time-sharing • mainspring • keyring •gee-string • watch spring • offspring •boring, flooring, Goring, riproaring, roaring, scoring, shoring •drawstring • goalscoring •outpouring • bowstring • shoestring •bullring •auctioneering, clearing, earring, electioneering, engineering, gearing, orienteering, privateering, shearing •God-fearing • puppeteering •firing, retiring, uninspiring, untiring, wiring •during, mooring, reassuring, Turing •posturing • restructuring •meandering • rendering •pondering, wandering •ordering • maundering •plundering, thundering, wondering •offering • suffering • fingering •scaremongering • hankering •flickering, Pickering •tinkering • hammering • glimmering •unmurmuring • tampering •whimpering • whispering •smattering, unflattering •earthshattering • schoolmastering •Kettering • self-catering • wittering •quartering, watering •faltering • roistering • muttering •gathering • woolgathering •blithering •flavouring (US flavoring), unwavering •quivering •manoeuvring (US maneuvering) •covering • wallcovering •Goering, stirring, unerring

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