Nearly three decades and tens of millions of album sales since their last Welsh show, The Offspring visit Cardiff with a (Motorpoint) arena-ready show polished by high-level touring. All that and guitarist, the so-called Noodles, was happy to chat to Chris Andrews about old and new days. Kudos!
In a nearly 40-year career, which has seen them tour the world multiple times, it’s astonishing to think that California punk legends The Offspring have only graced our fair land on one other occasion, before their upcoming show at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena next week. That was back in the early 90s, where a UK tour with fellow West Coast punkers NOFX saw them hit the stage at the infamous TJ’s in Newport: a show which guitarist Kevin ‘Noodles’ Wasserman recalls surprisingly well.
“Everything was newer then so that sticks in your memory a little bit more. I remember those weird stalactites hanging from the ceiling! It was a really cool show.”
Things have moved on quite a lot since those halcyon days of touring, with the much-loved guitarist and his band playing larger venues and indeed more widespread tours: “We’ve played Wembley, but outside of London, I don’t think we’ve played places this big.” Meanwhile, if you are looking for a reference to the shift in The Offspring’s touring lifestyle, then Noodles offers one nugget of information when asked what item he cannot live without whilst on the road.
“Crocs!” he laughs enthusiastically. “For when you are running between the stage and the bus. But anywhere there’s beer I can find a home.”
Aside from the opportunity to see the punk legends in the flesh, there’s also a stellar supporting lineup, with garage rock titans The Hives and the UK’s newest punk saviour Bob Vylan opening the show. Does the band have any input into who they take on tour? “Well, management came to us with a bunch of possibilities, and I was hip to Bob Vylan through some surfing buddies of mine – and my son is also a fan! So I’m excited to see them.”
The Offspring’s 10th studio album Let The Bad Times Roll was finally released earlier this year, having been hampered by lineup changes, COVID and legal issues. Was there a time when the band thought that it might never be released? “Not really,” says Noodles. “The biggest ‘what if’ was the pandemic, but we were in a place where we could sweat it out for a year or two if we needed to.
“There were other reasons too: we go on tour every summer and Dexter [Holland, vocalist] went back to school and got his PhD, so we are all really proud of him. He’s Doctor Dexter now.”
A highlight of the album is a piano-led rendition of their classic Gone Away from 1997’s Ixnay On The Hombre. I was curious as to why the band chose to revisit that track. “The acoustic version was something we’ve been doing live,” Noodles says; “it adds a really dynamic and stripped-down moment in the set, which also gives people the chance to breathe and reflect. Fans loved it and were asking where they could get this version, so we took it into the studio to see what we could do.”
The Offspring are one of those bands whose popularity has never really waned, so after all these years, how have the band managed to maintain this?
“I guess just by showing up! We love doing what we do, we love making music and we love taking these songs, old and new out on tour and of course we have great fans.”
Thousands of those fans will be on hand at the Motorpoint Arena next week – make sure you are one of them.
The Offspring, Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Tue 23 Nov. Tickets: £38.50. Info: here
words CHRIS ANDREWS
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