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Interview:
The Offspring's breakthrough is still a "Smash" 20 years later
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman of the Offspring says that his life flashes before his eyes "only when I decide to go drinking with Pennywise" -- which likely happens, as one of his group's hits goes, more than he'd like to admit.

But the southern California punk group is indeed enjoying a nostalgic moment these days.

The quartet is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its third album, "Smash," a breakthrough that sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and launched hits such as "Come Out and Play" and "Self Esteem." It was part of the same punk rock breakout as Green Day's "Dookie," so Noodles and company are taking time this year to play "Smash" live in its entirety as well as release as anniversary edition of the landmark album.

"I can't believe it's been 20 years," says Noodles, 51, who co-founded the group during 1986 in Huntington Beach, Calif. "It seems like time has really flown by. But then I think back to some of the first tours that we were doing, and that does seem like awhile ago."

"Smash," however, feels ageless for the guitarist. "Y'know, most of the songs have been with us the whole time," Noodles explains. "It's weird to think those songs are that old. They still feel as fresh to me today as when they just came out.

"But 'Smash' changed our lives; it took what was our hobby and made it our career. We just went in and wanted to better what our last record (1992's 'Ignition') did, which was probably 70,000 copies when 'Smash' came out. (Bassist) Greg Kriesel said, 'This is gonna do about 100,000 copies,' and we were like, 'You're crazy! It's never gonna sell that much!'

"We started listening to him a lot more after that," Noodles adds with a laugh.

The Offspring plans to get back to new music after the "Smash" celebration, however. Noodles reports that the group has "three, four, maybe five songs done or close to done," and it may not wait until there are enough songs to make a full album -- the follow-up to 2012's "Days Go By" -- to release them. "I think the way the world is now is why make the fans wait for these songs?," he says. "Why make them wait two years 'til we have a whole record. So we might do an EP or release them as singles, and eventually compile them into a record.

"People ask how we have the energy to go out and keep doing this. Do we feel old? Do we feel like 20 years has gone by? Only in the morning 'cause of the hangovers, but on stage the energy of the music and the songs and the audience help us keep young. It's always been that way."

89X Chill on the Hill

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6-7. Doors open at 1 p.m.

The Offspring, a Day to Remember, Bad Religion, Group Love and more (Saturday); Rise Against, AWOLNATION, Chevelle, Taking Back Sunday, the Orwells and more (Sunday)

Weekend passes are $99.89 and $79.89 pavilion, $29.89 lawn. Single day tickets are $59.89 and $49.89 pavilion, $19.89 lawn.

Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.freedomhill.net






Web Site: www.freedomhill.net

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