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The Offspring’s Dexter Holland Talks 20 Years of ‘Smash,’ 2014 Summer Tour + More

The Offspring Dexter Holland
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

It’s been 20 years since The Offspring released their breakout album ‘Smash,’ and the band is back on the road this summer revisiting the classic disc on tour. ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie recently spoke with frontman Dexter Holland about ‘Smash’ and how the album has not only resonated with fans and peers, but also affected his own creative process. Check out the chat below.

It’s ‘Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie’ and Dexter Holland from The Offspring is with us on the show tonight. Dexter, it’s been 20 years since the release of ‘Smash.’ In what ways do you see the ripple effect of that album’s popularity continuing to impact new bands making new music?

That’s the amazing thing to us, that it does seem to continue somehow. We’ve gone out there and played these songs for a long time and it still gets a great reaction. There’s always new people in the audience, new kids, young kids and they’re rocking out to it. It’s as much of a surprise to us as anybody else. It just keeps on going, which is great.

Does focusing on that record affect your creative thought process in terms of new music you’re working on now?

I think it’s natural for someone to revisit stuff they’ve done before if you’re trying to make something up, if you’re an artist or a writer. Sometimes you try to get away from that because it can be a trap in a way because then it just sounds like you’re putting out the same stuff all the time. But when it’s been a while and you go back to it, you can see it from a new angle or perspective and go, “Wow, that was kind of cool because it was raw and straightforward.” So I think it does. You try and take all of those things in small bits in order to make something new.

What aspects of The Offspring’s style and sound never seem to change no matter how you mature as musicians and people, especially in terms of music for the next album?

I think there’s always been a rebellious spirit in the band and that goes back to all the punk bands we idolized growing up listening to. Bands like the Sex Pistols and the Ramones and the Dead Kennedys. That’s always a part of it. I think the core of what we sound like is usually fast, upbeat stuff, loud guitars. We always try and throw in something a little different every record too.

Dexter, how have your sources of lyrical inspiration and what you want to say with your songs changed with your growth as a songwriter?

I was never focused on lyrics before. I’d always tell people lyrics don’t matter. It’s all about the music and the melody of what you’re singing and it’s kind of interesting looking back because some of the songs that have done the best for us are ones that people seem to really relate to the lyrics. It was almost an afterthought a long time ago but now I realize how important lyrics can be so I spend a lot of time working on them.

In what ways do your non-musical adventures like academic pursuits and piloting airplanes influence and inspire you musically?

I do like to do other things. The band, for all of us, is our passion. It’s our main thing, it’s what’s most important to us and that’s why we keep doing it. That’s why were out doing this tour for ‘Smash’ 20 years later, but we all have other things we like to do on the side. I really like to go flying. That’s the main thing I like to do on the side. I do other stuff too. I’m trying to finish up school now, and I don’t really know how it affects it. I think it’s probably just good to take a step back so you’re not always in the music world. It can very much be like, people call it a bubble when you’re on tour all the time and it’s your only reference of what the world is like, it’s just great to get out of it once in a while.

Not only does the Punk Rock Summer Nationals 2014 tour commemorate ‘Smash,’ it also features Pennywise, The Vandals, Stiff Little Fingers and Bad Religion. Dexter, why is it so important that you expose kids to such seminal bands?

I don’t even know if it was so much of a conscious decision. It was just like, “Let’s put together a great package for the summer.” It did happen to be the year we’re going to do this 20th anniversary of ‘Smash’ and we thought what would be great bands to go out with that? Pennywise came to mind naturally, because they were one of the bands we came up with. We did lots of a touring with Pennywise over the years. Bad Religion was the band that inspired Pennywise and a lot of the bands in the scene, so it just seemed like a natural fit to put that package together and they all agreed and I’m excited to see how it’s going to turn out this summer.

Thanks to The Offspring’s Dexter Holland for the interview. You can pick up the special 20th anniversary edition of ‘Smash’ at this location. And look for The Offspring celebrating ‘Smash’ on tour here. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.

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