The Offspring reflects current events on latest studio album

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

The Offspring had been asked by fans to record an acoustic version of “Gone Away,” which it did on its new album, “Let the Bad Times Roll.” Photos courtesy of The Offspring

The Offspring lead guitarist Noodles finds the punk ambassador’s latest album, “Let the Bad Times Roll,” timely. The collection was just about wrapped when the pandemic dawned, but “It’s all inspired by things we’ve seen happen in the world the last few years,” said Noodles about The Offspring’s first new album in 10 years.

“The pandemic certainly put it into perspective. There’s so much division in the world right now. People are so angry. There’s a lot of injustices and we’re seeing that play out. The subsequent reaction to the injustices. We touched on this a little on the record and more.”

Released April 16, The Offspring’s 10th studio album features the first single and title track “Let the Bad Times Roll.” Written in 2019 and recorded in 2020, the song reflects the country’s ongoing challenges. The tune charted at No. 11 and No. 25, respectively, on the rock and alternative radio charts, and was the No. 1 most-added song on rock radio for two weeks. It has been streamed 4 million times.

The SoCal band has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, won countless awards, and have toured consistently, playing more than 500 shows in the last decade. Besides Noodles, The Offspring features singer Dexter Holland, drummer Pete Parada and new bassist Todd Morse.

“Let the Bad Times Roll” was just about finished before the pandemic, according to Noodles.

“The pandemic, though, allowed us to take a little deeper look at some things. We polished it up here and there. It’s a solid, really good record.”
The Offspring was, admittedly, a little hesitant about releasing a record when it couldn’t tour on it. But, Noodles said, it had to hit the market.

“We couldn’t withhold it anymore,” he added. “We wanted the fans to hear it.”

The album opens with the political, “This is Not Utopia.”

“It, to me, sounds like vintage Offspring, but Dexter may be singing in a different key or range,” Noodles said. “That’s something we’ve experimented with over the last couple records.

“For example, on ‘Gone Away,’ his vocals are kind of out there. When we did a stripped-down version of that song, he’s not hiding his voice behind the heavy bass, guitar and drums. That was a risk for him. He wasn’t entirely sure he would be comfortable doing it. But fans have been asking us to do that song in the studio. That’s one example of when his voice is a little different.”

Noodles explained The Offspring’s goal on this record was to focus on one song at a time in the studio. Once they had a group of songs, they decided which ones worked together. If there was a hole, they would write a song to fill it.

“It had been a long time since we put out an album,” Noodles said. “We didn’t want to reinvent ourselves. That would be a dumb move at this point. Fortunately, there’s a certain kind of music we love, and we always gravitate toward. It’s easy for us to do a record we thought for sure would be an Offspring record.”
Noodles worked on “Let the Bad Times Roll” during the pandemic, but otherwise he didn’t handle COVID-19 very well. In the beginning, he drank a lot, but is unsure if it’s uncommon.

“My wife and I started watching ‘Top Chef’ and the two chefs have said the same thing,” he said. “They weren’t handling it well in the beginning. I thought I have to pull myself together and live a little healthier.”

The Offspring is already talking about writing more new music, as it’s been an inspiring time.
“Once the press assault is over, we go back to writing music,” Noodles said with a laugh. “We just love playing music together. I can’t wait to do it in front of an audience again.”

The Offspring