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Born and raised in Orange County, California, Welty started playing drums in eighth grade, and cites Neil Peart and Lars Ulrich as early influences. The other members of Offspring were his friends, and lived in his neighbourhood. Even though he was too young to get into many of the clubs where the band played, Welty convinced them to let him replace their particularly irresponsible drummer. Welty was just 16 at the time, and had been playing drums for only a year. Now at 23, he has a two-year old son named Trevon, and up until only a short time ago, supported his family in a bakery. However, with the success of Offspring’s album Smash, Welty is able to pay his bills by playing drums, which is where we started our conversation...

DRUM!: Were you prepared for the band's sudden success?

Welty: Oh, Absolutely not. We weren't planning on anything like this at all. The thought never even crossed our minds. We were just trying to make a good record. We thought [LA radio station] KROQ may be interested in one of the songs, and that was about as far as it went. It just exploded. We weren't trying to push this new record on people, it just happened.

DRUM!: Why do you think punk rock has made such a comeback in the '90s?

Welty: Well, I think it's just a bunch of steps that took place. Nirvana broke through, and when they weren't able to put out records anymore people started looking for something else. I don't know whether punk has taken their place or what, but it just opened up people's ears to a different kind of music. I think they were ready to let go of what was going on. I've got to say I'm glad, though. The hair bands were a little ridiculous, and were going on for a bit too long.

DRUM!: How has your drumming evolved in the years since you've been with Offspring?

Welty: I'd like to think I've gotten a little bit more solid. That's all I've really been working on, playing a little bit harder and trying to mesh with the music more. Just making it sound like one thing, instead of a drum part and a bass part and a guitar part. Thom [Wilson, producer] really helped me out with that. He's been with us since the first record, and he's really been teaching me how to do that.

DRUM!: Was it at all intimidating when you first started working with him?

Welty: At first it was, because he had done a lot of stuff that I was really into, like TSOL and Adolescents, and it was kind of weird to have him walk in. I really didn't feel confident enough to be making a record at that time. He's like a dad or something. It's pretty cool. We've really gotten to know him, and I think we're a pretty good team.

DRUM!: How old were you when you did the first record [Offspring]?

Wetly: I think I was 18. I learned a lot. Thom was basically trying to tear us down and build us back up. He was trying to get me to not worry about what I was playing so much, and to feel it more. We really didn't get that far on the first record. I go back and listen to that now, and it sounds really sloppy to me.

DRUM!: Do you usually do much pre-production work before you go into the studio to record a new album?

Welty: No. The songs aren't usually far enough along to do that. A lot of it is done in the studio. We try to get everything ready, but once we get in there all the parts get switched anyway. We try to learn the songs and remember them, but you have to keep in mind that once Thom gets in there he's going to want to change things.

DRUM!: Do you find that you often have to simplify your part to make an arrangement work?

Welty: Yeah. A lot of the time I think simpler is better. It seems to work a lot better for us that way. But I'm actually in another band called Spinning Fish, that plays a very different style of music than what Offspring does. It's slower and gives me a little bit of a chance to open up and do stuff that I'm not able to do in a really fast punk band.

DRUM!: Has the stylistic diversity helped your drumming?

Welty: Oh, of course, definitely. Spinning Fish uses a lot of different time signatures - stuff that just isn't possible in Offspring. It's really good for me as a drummer, because I can grow in other directions than just Offspring would allow me to. Offspring is going to be Offspring. We're going to do the same things that we've always done, and stylistically, I don't think there are going to be too many changes. the next step, a few years down the road, is to play with more people, and let my style and technique adapt to new situations.

From "Drum!" magazine - March 95