The Offspring have been out of the spotlight for several years, but it doesn’t seem that way. Radio support for the best-selling punk band is enduring. “Come Out and Play,” for example, still gets regular airplay on 91X, and the song is 20 years old. “Yeah, it is almost 20 years old.” Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman checks in by phone from Orange County. He laughs. “It’s cool, you know, that the song is still so well liked, but it’s hard to wrap my head around how much time has gone by. It feels like we just did that song yesterday.”
His answer begs comment about the band’s new CD, Days Go By. A Rolling Stone reviewer, I tell Wasserman, dropped the term “midlife crisis.” Were the older guys in the band having one at the time? “No. We had fun making this record. If we had a midlife crisis,” he says, “it would have been ten years ago when Ron [Welty] left.”
Days Go By took two years to make and covers much musical territory, not the band’s usual approach. “On this record, we diverted from fast, aggressive punk, and we do reggae and even pop.”
In years prior, the Offspring could almost be called formulaic in their approach to West Coast punk, but it made them the best-selling punks ever. In 1983, they were a garage band called Manic Subsidal; the Offspring name would not see regular use until 1986. “For the first ten years, it was a hobby.” Wasserman, in fact, worked as a school janitor. “We literally had to save our money to be able to afford to go out on tours. When Smash [their third album] broke, we’d been a band for about ten years.” If the rest is history, Wasserman has a theory about it: “Being the right band at the right time had a lot to do with our success.”
Offspring: Friday, August 10, Del Mar Race Track Summer Concert Series, 4 p.m., 858-755-1142. Free with racetrack admission or $20 after the last race.