Exclusive Interview: Noodles from The Offspring
Born in neighboring Orange County, The Offspring were at the forefront of the so-called “second wave of punk” in the 1990s, taking over modern rock radio and the still video-centric MTV airwaves.
At the six-string helm for the entirety of The Offspring’s nearly 30-year career, guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman has turned out dozens of smash (pardon the pun) No. 1 singles over the course of a nine record deep catalog. As one of the co-headliners of this year’s SSMF street festival, the band is excited to showcase their treasure trove of fan pleasing hits—and newly released material from their latest effort Days Go By—on The Sunset Strip, a place where they played many of their most pivotal shows early in their career.
Growing up in L.A., being a band from Orange County, what does it mean to you, being a part of this festival?
It’s rad! I grew up going to watch bands play at the Whisky and The Roxy up there… I remember going to see The Cramps play on The Sunset Strip and also X. There was always something going on, worth driving up for…
Do you remember your fist time playing on The Strip?
Wow, I mean that would have probably been the Whisky, and I think it was actually the premiere of a surf video. It was “Momentum,” the Taylor Steele video (1992), and it was us and Sublime. I remember the Whisky was a big deal for us!
Any bands at this festival that you’re particularly looking forward to playing with, haven’t seen before, or are friends with?
Yeah, looking forward to seeing Dead Sara for sure! We’re doing a bunch of dates with them later on — summer into fall.
I love Marilyn Manson, I think he’s really cool, and of course I would love to see X. Haven’t seen them in a few years…
Want to give us a little background/story behind the title track, and the first single off the new album, Days Go By?
Well ‘ya know, we’re seeing a lot people sort of struggling right now… The economy’s gone to shit, and there’s all kinds of things in the world that are causing people a lot of hardship. And this song kind of commiserates with that and also points to the idea that these days will pass, and things will get better if you just hang in there.
The band is coming up on almost 30 years with pretty much the same lineup. What’s the secret to keeping good relationships and holding it all together?
Well, we love each other like brothers; we really do! …I mean [we kind] of started growing up together. We formed the band, and all three of us were in love with punk rock, it’s what brought us together — but melodic punk rock, ‘ya know hard, fast and aggressive, but melodic as well — and we’ve always shared a love of that. When we’re playing and it’s clicking, it’s great! We feel stoked to be able to be playing with each other.
And when we’re just sitting around bored backstage, we just take the piss out of each other. We’re always giving each other crap, and trying to make each other laugh at the same time; and it works well. We know when to push each other’s buttons and when enough is enough.
What’s sort of the next generation of punk rock music? Where do you take the genre from here?
I think there’s always going to be new things happening under the punk label… There are so many punk bands and punk venues out there now. It wasn’t like that when we were growing up; I mean it was pretty limited as to where you could play, and punk wasn’t a career choice, I’ll tell you that!
You know, all those barriers have sort of been broken down now. There are just so many bands now, and something out there for everybody… But to find out what’s really new, and what’s going to be the next big thing 10 years from now, I think you got to get out there, and get dirty in the clubs, and find out what that is…
See The Offspring perform live ON The Sunset Strip Saturday, August 18 during the Sunset Strip Music Festival street fest. Tickets are available at TicketWeb.
–Brent X Mendoza