Hailing from Southern California The Offspring are no strangers to the Reading and Leeds weekend having appeared four times before (2004, 2002, 1999 & 1996). This year they’re back and appearing third from the top for their 5th festival showing.
The Offspring’s earliest incarnation came about when founding members’ bassist Greg Kriesel and vocalist Bryan ‘Dexter’ Holland failed to get into a Social Distortion show as teens and decided to form their own punk band taking influence from The Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Agent Orange and the aforementioned Social D. After adding school janitor Kevin ‘Noodles’ Wasserman on guitar, and beer buying duties as the only band member over 21 at the time, the backbone of the band we have today was formed. Long time drummer Ron Welty left in 2003, leading to a brief rotation of live drummers (currently settling on Pete Parada) with Josh Freese filling in in the studio.
The band started out very much making their own way before graduating to the Epitaph school of So. Cal. punk with label-mates NOFX, Pennywise and Bad Religion. Their first major breakthrough and biggest selling album to date, Smash, came out in 1994. Almost 20 years on you can expect to hear the album’s biggest tracks at this year’s festivals, ‘Self Esteem’, ‘Come Out And Play’, ‘Gotta Get Away’ and the road-rage inspired classic ‘Bad Habit’. Smash has now shifted in excess of 11 million copies making it the biggest selling independent album to date, along with critical acclaim from Kerrang!, who, in 2006, named it the 78th greatest rock album ever.
The band continued to hit it big a few years later, though now on the singles charts, when ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ went number one around the world, including Australia, Japan, and a week atop the UK singles chart in January 1999. ‘Pretty Fly’s’ parent album Americana also sold in volume and you can expect to see a number of songs from that album over the bank holiday weekend too; ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’, ‘Have You Ever’, ‘Staring At The Sun’ and ‘Why Don’t You Get A Job?’
Though they have never quite hit the dizzying heights of the mid to late 90s again each of the band’s albums released since Smash have sold in excess of one million units worldwide. ‘Want You Bad’, ‘Hit That’ and ‘You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid’, their biggest single hit in the US to date, have all become regulars in their live show. 2011 has been a year in the studio for The Offspring so there’s a chance of some new material; perhaps ‘You Will Find A Way’ might find its way into the set list somewhere?
So, over twenty years since their inception, over fifteen years from their biggest selling album, and over ten years from their biggest selling hit single, what makes the aging punk rockers, old enough to be most of this year’s festival goers’ fathers, worth a watch?
When the two minute fury of ‘All I Want’ kicks off, expect circle pits galore and at the end of the show an entire crowd jumping up and down for the band’s traditional closer ‘Self Esteem’. They still play with the energy of a band half their age and with the consistency that has made them one of the biggest punk bands going. They are an act who have played at the top end of the bill on festivals around the world. Surely already a big draw for the older festival attendee in 2011, the band’s legacy should also get an audience of all ages down the front, leaping up and down and screaming for more from these Original Pranksters.