Members: Dexter Holland, Noodles, Greg K., Atom Willard
1984 - 1993
The Offspring started in 1984 by founders Bryan "Dexter" Holland and Greg K who met in their high school cross-country team. The decision came outside of a Social Distortion concert, when both were refused entry. The Offspring started out as a small SoCal garage band dubbed Manic Subsidal. Kevin 'Noodles' Wasserman was welcomed into the band because he was 21 and could purchase alcohol for Dexter and Greg, both of whom were under the legal drinking age.
In those early times, they had multiple members filling in on other instruments, one of whom was multi-instrumentalist and school mate of future drummer Ron Welty, Marcus Parrish. Marcus left to pursue a solo career before any recording was completed. Their only recorded song under the name Manic Subsidal was called "Hopeless," and was on a compilation album called Party Animal: We Got Power II, released in 1984 by Mystic Records.
In 1987, newly dubbed The Offspring, they recorded their first release, the 7" Blackball/I'll be Waiting, released on the fictitious Black Label. Black Label was an inside joke by the band, as they could not find a production company to release the single. To make themselves more tempting to future labels, they decided to name their record company after the cheap beer they were drinking while they were pressing the records. The line up for this single was Dexter on vocals, Child C-2017 (Noodles) on Guitar, Greg on Bass, and James Lilja on Drums. Lilja quit shortly after this to persue a medical career in gynaecology , and was replaced by Ron Welty, who was only 16 years old.
In 1989, The Offspring brokered a recording deal with a small-time label, Nemesis Records. With buddhist punk-guru producer Thom Wilson and a new lineup, the band recorded the album The Offspring. Their self-titled debut was released in limited amounts by the label, only in a 12" Vinyl format. The CD release of the album would not surface until 1995.
In 1991, again with Wilson, The Offspring produced the Baghdad 7". This single was instrumental to the band's signing with Epitaph Records. Wilson had been trying to get the Offspring to switch to Epitaph, a label run by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. Gurewitz felt that The Offspring was just not quite pronounced enough for his label, but Baghdad convinced him to give the band a shot. Wilson and The Offspring entered the studio again and recorded Ignition. Released in 1992, Ignition exceeded all of the label's and band's expectations. The band went on tour for the next two years with punk heavyweights such as Pennywise, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and No Doubt.
RISE TO FAME 1994-2000
When The Offspring returned to the studio to work on their third album in 1993, the band's relations with producer Thom Wilson had begun to strain. The darker atmosphere in the studio resulted in 1994's landmark album Smash. This album set the all-time record for most units sold by an independent label band at 8 million records. Fueled by the hit singles: "Come Out and Play," "Self Esteem," and, "Gotta Get Away." Holland credits Seattle-based grunge band Nirvana for creating the environment which allowed The Offspring to succeed.
After the release of Smash, and armed with a newly expanded income, the band decided to buy out the rights to their first album. Holland and Greg K then created their own record label, Nitro Records, and started signing bands. One of their first releases was a re-release of their first album The Offspring. The label also signed a number of punk bands including AFI, The Vandals, and Guttermouth. Soon after Nitro Records became solely Dexter's responsibility.
After Smash and the subsequent two years of touring, Wilson, who during the Smash studio sessions criticized the direction of the band's music as straying away from punk, was fired. Around the same time, the band left Epitaph and signed with Columbia Records, allegedly because they were offended by an insurance policy that Brett Gurewitz had taken out on the band. Epitaph sued, claiming that the band had not fulfilled its contract. The settlement was an estimated $2 million and the rights to all European single sales. Not only this, but the move cause a fan backlash. Most fans of the Offspring thought that the move to Columbia was purely for financial gain; to this day the band still deny that charge.
The Offspring released their fourth album Ixnay on the Hombre in early 1997. This album was not as successful as Smash, although it did sell 4 million units. The album saw the band move away from the political-punk themes common to many Epitaph bands, and more into mainstream rock with songs like: "All I Want," "Gone Away," and, "I Choose." The video for "I Choose" was directed by Dexter himself. The band believe that when Ixnay... came out that the fans were expecting "Smash Part Two" (in their own words) which is why they moved away from their former style.
In 1998, The Offspring released Americana. This album was lighter than Smash and Ixnay in attitude, while still maintaining a punk-like sound. The album was a success both with the audience and with critics, and easily outsold Ixnay on the Hombre. The four singles: "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)," "Why Don't You Get a Job," "The Kids Aren't Alright," and, "She's Got Issues;" were all big hits on MTV and radio. This period is generally regarded as the peak of the Offspring's mainstream popularity.
In 2000, the band released a new and drastically different album called Conspiracy of One. The band intended to release the entire album online through their official website, to show their support for downloading music on the internet. However, under threat of legal action by Columbia, only the first single "Original Prankster" was released online. The band also sold T-shirts on their website with the Napster logo on it and donated money to Napster creator Shawn Fanning with the profits.
POST-WELTY PERIOD 2003-PRESENT
Nearly three years after the release of Conspiracy of One, long-time drummer Ron Welty left the band in 2003 to start Steady Ground, a band in which he plays the drums and co-produces. The parties have not elaborated on the departure.
In 2003, the band released their seventh album Splinter. The Offspring recruited Josh Freese to record the drums for Splinter and later announced that Atom Willard would be the official replacement for Ron Welty, however his name remained absent from the album credits. The album's original title was to be Chinese Democracy, the name of the long-delayed album by Guns N' Roses. As a result, Axl Rose filed a cease and desist order against The Offspring, and to avoid delaying the release, the band chose to simply rename the album. The first single "Hit That" enjoyed moderate success on MTV.
In 2005, the band released a Greatest Hits album with a DualDisc. The Greatest Hits album contains 14 of the band's hits from 1994 to 2003, as well as the previously-unreleased song "Can't Repeat". The DualDisc contains video of Dexter and Noodles discussing the band's history and a bonus acoustic version of "Dirty Magic" from Ignition. About a month later, the band released a video DVD with music videos from all of their hits, and some videos from a live show.
During the summer of 2005, the band played the Vans Warped Tour for the first time, and followed that with a tour of Europe and Japan. After the "Greatest Hits" world tour the band took a break from writing, recording and touring. Atom Willard was recruited by Tom DeLonge for his band Angels and Airwaves and released an album, We Don't Need to Whisper, in 2006.
The band is currently recording tracks for their eighth album, with a planned release date of sometime in 2006 or 2007. As of now, an official title and release date for the album are yet to be confirmed and the current status of the album is unknown. There are also rumors of the band releasing a rare/b-sides album. A journal update on June 13, 2006 by Holland stated that the band (minus Willard) has been meeting every week and will begin recording shortly. He also confirmed that Willard has not officially left the band and is only on tour with Angels and Airwaves.
In July 2006, a new feature showed up on the band's webpage, called "Officially Endorsed by" which states that several people, who are considered inherently amusing to most. officially endorse The Offspring. Some of whom include, Steve Buscemi, Stephen Hawking and O.J. Simpson. The people appear at random, and a picture of each person is shown. It is updated almost daily.
On August 18, 2006, Holland updated the band's journal, saying that they had demoed 5 songs and are looking to go into the studio soon. He described the new songs as "lots of guitar, energy, lots of energy, and good songs." and "I think it's the best stuff we've done in a long time."
1989 - The Offspring
1992 - Ignition
1994 - Smash
1995 - The Offspring (re-release)
1997 - Ixnay on the Hombre
1998 - Americana
2000 - Conspiracy of One
2003 - Splinter
1991 - Baghdad
1997 - Club Me
1998 - A Piece Of Americana