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When he was compiling a photo book for a 20th anniversary box set of “Smash” — the multiplatinum breakthrough of his protean punk combo The Offspring — Dexter Holland came upon a vintage concert shot that surprised him.
“There was one of me, where we were all in midair, and we look like the raddest skateboarders ever,” he says, chuckling. Theoretically, at 48, he could still accomplish such gymnastics. “But it doesn’t feel right, so we aren’t trampolining around onstage anymore. We feel like being the guys we are now — the dignified version.”
Holland and crew will perform “Smash” in its entirety in Mountain View this weekend, on their Summer Nationals tour, featuring Pennywise, The Vandals and Bad Religion — artists they appeared with in 1994.
The vocalist is beginning to grasp the historical significance of the record, which sold 20 million copies and spawned hit singles like “Self Esteem,” “Gotta Get Away” and “Come Out and Play.” Along with Green Day’s “Dookie” and Rancid’s “Let’s Go” that year, it helped launch a chart-topping punk rock revival. But Holland is uncomfortable with the term “legacy.”
“We’re out now 20 years later, playing ‘Smash,’ and people are singing along to songs we haven’t played in years, and deep cuts off the record. It’s really lasted.”
Interestingly, “Smash” came together in less than five months. With a Pennywise and Offspring tour fast approaching, Holland scrambled to write and sing its final four songs in two days.
What was the lyricist thinking at the time? He was 28, and discussing Southern California subjects: “Like girls, guns, gangs, your friend getting on drugs, that kind of stuff,” he says. “But because the album was written so quickly, and we weren’t sophisticated enough to use anything more than loud guitars, there’s a cohesiveness to it, I guess. It’s a moment in time, the way some good records are.”
Holland is still stunned at the enduring popularity of “Come Out and Play,” which — with its signature “You’ve gotta keep ’em separated” line — is often played at hockey games and other sporting events to break up fights.
And now that The Offspring has left its last imprint, Columbia (the new deluxe anniversary “Smash” is on Epitaph Records) he is reconsidering what it means to be punk.
Because albums rarely go platinum these days, The Offspring is self-releasing a single this fall. “Not that I wouldn’t want to do an album again, because I think they’re important,” he says. “But for now, I think it’s better to put out singles here and there. Just to keep the fire stoked.”
IF YOU GO
Live 105’s Punk Rock Picnic
with The Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Vandals, The Story So Far and Stiff Little Fingers
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.livenation.com
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