I know It's not a good attitude, but I seem to approach every band with an, "Oh, man these guys are gonna suck" notion. Thus, making it really difficult to impress me. Surprisingly enough, the Offspring are one of the few bands (especially local) that have been able to permanently engrave their existance on the tip of my mind.
First came their landmark 7" 'I'll be Waiting' b/w 'Blackball' (1986 Black Label Records) with its raunchy and stripped recording. Their presentation of "punk rock" is paralleled by few. Highly structured, guitar wailing rock 'n' roll with power vigorousness and (a much needed at the time) energy abundance. Lyrics, startling enough, deal with honest emotions towards social issues and heart felt topics as well.
Next came their four song demo "Tehran" (1987), perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back. Nothing left to prove, Kevin's guitar ability had surpassed the expected. Brian's vocal's became vocals and the band, as a whole, had not only become a four man run wrecking crew, but they also each found thier place in the... Offspring.
Brian, 23: guitar and vocals
Kevin, 26: guitar
Greg, 24: bass
Ron, 18: drums
Kirk: How long has the band been together?
Brian: ...Four, almost five years now.
Kirk: Where you called the Offspring before, Kevin?
Brian: um, we weren't the Offspring.
Kevin: We were the "Maniac Suicidals."
Brian: No one could get it straight. We had to change it.
Kirk: So, Kevin joined. You changed the name?
Brian: We were being the Maniac Suicidal band for a long time. We did a demo and were booked on Media Blitz and we thought this would be a good time to change and we picked a name. We came up with it really on the spur of the moment. We were there, we taped it, and we were sitting down for the interview and he said, "O.K., what am I going to call you guys." "...oh, Offspring, I guess?!" Well, at least it doesn't like...
Kirk: Death Squad or something.
Kevin: Yeah, there are no initials involved, so that's cool.
Kirk: Ron, how did you come in?
Kevin: He talked us into kicking out our old drummer! He was pretty funny, but he couldn't play drums very good. So, Ron says, "You know, you guys should get rid of him; he's not very good!"
Brian: He just talked us into it. Seriously, he's just afraid James is gonna kick his ass when he finds out the truth.
Kirk: What made you do the single?
Kevin: Brian! Brian made us do it.
Brian: I've made 'em do everything. It was time. We've done a demo.
Kirk: You did a demo before the single?
Kevin: We would record songs just to see what they sounded like. Then we decided to send them out to people - college radio stations. People actually liked it.
Brian: Looking back, it was pretty terrible.
Kirk: Now you're an accomplished studio...
Kevin: No, now we just realize how bad we are.
Kirk: Did you get good reviews with it?
Greg: "Too much like Jack (T.S.O.L.) though"...
Kirk: I noticed from the single to the tape, the sound was polished up. Was that on purpose?
Brian: I guess so. It's like we were getting better, our studio was getting better. We should probably mention names - South Coast Studios. I actually wasn't very happy with the sound of the 45.
Kirk: So now you're recording for an album?
Brian: Yeah, should be out at the end of the month, probably.
Kevin: That month will be January 1992. It will probably be July.
Kirk: Same studio? Sound?
Kevin: Probably, it will be beefier. We've got new equipment, doing different things.
Brian: We used to go in... Someone would lay down a drum track, we're not sure who. Then someone would go do a bass. We never kept track of who did that. We would do it all seperately. This time we had the rhythm guitar, and the bass and drums all together, the way I've always liked to do it.
Ron: Its not going to sound slick or anything but, it'll be clean I guess. We want it to sound like a Madonna record.
Lance: Who's helping out with the money?
Kevin: We have someone who is going to pay fot the recording, pressing, and distribution, but as far as the recording, it's all up to us.
Kirk: How old are the songs going on the record?
Kevin: Gosh, some of them are a couple of minutes long, new.
Brian: Wait a minute, did you mean, how old are the?
Kirk: Yeah, old.
Brian: A couple of minutes!
Kevin: Seriously, we made up a couple of them on the spot. But, some of them... like "I'll be Waiting" and "Black Ball" (off the first single, 1986).
Ron: All the stuff off the demo and the 45.
Kirk: Lyrics... who writes them?
Kirk: Some of them are politcal some... sentimental. What motivates you?
Greg: When he breaks up with his girlfriend...
Kevin: When George Bush got elected president, he started writing all these love songs. He got real depressed.
Brian: Well, I just write about whatever. I don't like bands that come out and say, "We really stand for something." and look, "Here we are." I say it and if you want to get into it and try to get some meaning out 'em; fine.
Kevin: As far as political bands go, I think it's cool. But its like we played with Fidelity Jone which is ex. Beefeater. Tomas gets up there and he's slapping everybody in the face. I mean I stand for a lot of what he believes in, but when he's up there preaching... so much... holier than thou... they've got real severe attitudes. As far as the music goes..they're great if they do anything. I'm definately going to get it; even though I kinda have an adversion to Tomas' bullshit.
Lance: Music is more important to you than the lyrics, isn't it?
Kevin: Music can make or break a song. You gotta take it as a whole.
Greg: Jello wrote us a letter. He just got back from Canada doing some acting. He was happy to see we were doing an album. Then he said something about Lard isn't a band.
Brian: I had a feeling it wasn't. Yeah, we like to rub elbows with big punk rock stars.
Kirk: So, how's the club scene here for you guys?
Brian: We haven't really played clubs too much. We just came along late or something. They put us on hardcore bills and people just don't know what to make of us. Like, we played on the spur of the moment at Night Movies with a 60's band called Love In. We came on and everyone left! We really emptied that place out. They said they were going to black list us!
Kevin: We got more into people's faces too. We don't push ourselves enough. We're just kinda... "A show, Oh, O.K. We'll play." We get a couple of practices and we do it!
Kirk: So, you're not going to be able to tour after the album comes out?!
Kevin: We have no problems getting shows outside of L.A. We were out there in Phoenix; people liked us.
Ron: ...St. George, Utah?
Brian: That was our best show! You got to get out in the boondocks for the best shows.
Ron: That was the first time I'd played with them. I had a whole three or four days to learn the whole set. I had all these notes written on how to play the songs. I was flipping through them after each song.
Kirk: What are those scars from?
Ron: I went to Jane's Addiction in Mexico. My friends came up from behind and threw me up on top of everyone. The bouncers started hitting me in the face and choking me. The policeman knew I'd been kicked out. He let me back in. I was thinking,"Hey wait a minute, How much to I have to give you?"
Kirk: What are some local bands you like?
Kevin: I get into a record store and I can't remember what records I want to get. I like Jane's Addiction. The guitar play is really good. I like Babes From Toyland. They're from Minneapolis. I like a lot of Berkley bands; we play up there a lot. I like Op. Ivy. The're a good band. Sewer Trout's great. They do "Que Sera, Sera."
Brian: Greg likes Social Distortion a lot. I like Thelonious Monster a lot.
Ron: The Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favorite band.
(Conversation goes on to Kevin's "accident")
Kevin: It's all bullshit. Bullshit.
Ron: Well its better than... These two old ladys grabbed me...
Kevin: It wasn't two, it was six, and they were big! Pushing carts, big purses, blue hair. They pulled out a knife and I was stabbed by skinhead old ladies with blue wigs!
Lance: Are you out for vengence?
Kevin: Fuck no. It was stupid. The only thing that pissed me off was that it was a benefit for Sane Freeze and there was this nice girl, Barbara, working the door. These guys grabbed her breasts and hit her. They didn't know what they were doing. That's what was sad.
Kirk: Not planned violence?
Kevin: Well, at the last moment it was planned violence. "O.K., two songs after Final Conflict starts, we'll bust down the door!" So they did that. One guy got the shit beat outof him; blood all over his face. The other guy... Well, I thought it was a fight. I was going to break it up. Then we moved the table to block the door. One guy jumped in and hit me. I didn't know he cut me. I thought he just hit me with a pipe or something. I raised my hands and said, "It's over." The guy with a bloody face got in my face going, "Argh, argh." It was no big deal. It was kinda fun.
Brian: Kevin walked back in and saw his jacket.
Kevin: I had my leather jacket on and my arm was hurting. I took off my jacket to see what was up and I had on a white T-shirt. There was blood everywhere. I just go, "Oh fuckin' great." We lifted it up... it's pulsating blood. This guy turns my head saying, "Don't look at it!" I was so buzzed, it didn't matter.
Ron: We were all laughing, "So Kevin's on the curb bleeding."
Kevin: The main thing that pissed me off is that I had to go to a preliminary trial. To be completely honest, I could not recognize the guy. He was wearing the same jacket. He had grown his hair out. He had a beard. But he knew it was him. I mean, he looked at me with his eyes saying, "oooh, I'm sorry." His mom was in the back crying.
Kirk: So, does that type of stuff happen all the time?
Kevin: Old ladies beating us up? Pretty much!
Brian: Do you want to tell Flipside about your new bundle of joy? (Everyone) Oh God.
Kevin: I got a new dog. I'm having a child.
Ron: With my sister!
Kevin: Yeah, I knocked up our drummer's sister. Now we're getting along fabulously.
Brian: Now we're a skate band; we were going to be a motorcycle band, but...
Kirk: No one has a motorcycle...
Brian: I have a motorcycle, but it's a little 400... kinda stupid. We rode it out on stage once. Ron's girlfriend took a chainsaw to it.
Brian: Let's talk about Ron being the spiritual guru of the band!
Ron: Oh, God, Brian's always making this stuff up saying I write all the songs.
Kirk: Brian, why do you only play guitar on half the songs?
Brian: I don't know? A lot of them don't really need it, you know? We tried to be not just a guitar band. A lot of stuff has two different guitar things going on at once. We should do more stuff like that.
Kevin: We never talk about my glasses; they're cool! We talk about Greg's penis, we can talk about my glasses.
Ron: Really fuckin' big man.
Brian: Yeah, just for the record, Greg has the biggest penis in the band. It's 7 1/4". We all got drunk and...
By Kirk / Lance, from "Flipside" magazine - mid-summer issue, #61, 1989
Note: Brian is Dexter; Kevin is Noodles; Greg is Greg K; Ron is Ron Welty; Kirk is the interviewer and Lance is also an interviewer.