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Dexter Holland of the Offspring Discusses Survival in the Internet Age

In Music

In 1993, underground Southern Californian punk band The Offspring, which play the San Jose Civic on Tuesday Oct. 2, went mainstream when their third album, Smash, came out. Since then, they’ve had a string of singles and platinum records.

Their 9th, Days Go By, was released earlier this year. It, along with the prior album, Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace (2008) were produced by Bob Rock (Famous for producing Dr. Feelgood by Mötley Crüe and the Black Album by Metallica). We recently interviewed singer Dexter Holland about the new album and the recent direction the band has taken.

What strikes me the most about Days Go By is how much more carefully crafted the songs and recordings are—which I think is also true about Rise And Fall. How do you create that sense of immediacy when crafting songs slower? Or is that not a concern for you anymore?

We definitely spent more time on these records than ones in the past and I’m glad that it shows. It’s just a matter of us having done a number of records. This is our ninth record, and we wanted to make sure that it sounds different, not just a repeat of the other records, something more than we’ve done before.

It’s important to have different kinds of songs on the records. Some of my favorite bands growing up were punk bands like the Ramones, where a lot of times the music stayed pretty much the same from record to record. Even though I loved all of it, for us it’s always been important to try and mix it up. So it just takes a little bit longer.

How has the promotion model changed for you now, compared to the 90s, when it mostly depended on MTV and the radio?

It seems like the way the music world is, you need different things all together. It’s not just—get your video on MTV and get your record into Best Buy. That’s done. Now we’re using social media. The Internet’s really big and who you package your tour with, or if you get on Jimmy Kimmel. We have done a little bit of all of that. We did Jimmy Kimmel and the Tonight Show, which we’ve never done before.

The Internet is something I’ve always been comfortable with because I’ve always thought of the Internet as a way to directly connect to fans. It’s what we were trying to do in little clubs as a punk band. The bands that I loved are the bands that invited the audience on stage. We did a lot of that too. I always thought of punk shows as being really inclusive of their audience, like you’re part of an event. So when the Internet came along, you had your own webpage, your own chat room and your own Facebook—Twitter now is even more direct. It fits in very natural to what our band was already about.

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