The Offspring’s “Smash” hit turns 20

The Offspring's

The 1990s was a decade that saw the death and birth of many styles of music. In the early 90s, glam rock was killed by grunge, only for grunge to mostly die with the suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994. In 1990, heavy metal returned with the release of Metallica’s The Black Album and Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss. The 1990s also saw the rebirth of American punk rock.

The last decade of the 20th century saw many American punk bands such as Pennywise, Green Day, and Bad Religion revive interest in the genre. The crucial year was 1994, when Green Day released their third album Dookie and Bad Religion released their eighth album, Stranger than Fiction.

That same year, another California band took the airwaves by storm, The Offspring. The SoCal group was founded in 1984, and by 1992 had released two independent albums, The Offspring and Ignition. In 1994, the band released their third album, Smash, on Epitaph Records, an independent label owned by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz.

Smash certainly was a smash hit, becoming the most successful independently released album of all time. Six million copies were sold in the U.S., with 20 million being sold worldwide. It was even certified 6x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Two singles from the album, “Self Esteem” and “Come Out And Play,” became radio hits and are still frequently heard. Those two hits are played at nearly every Offspring live show.

Senior punk guitarist Colin Rodenberg explained, “It’s by far one of my personal favorites, I think it has a heavier punk sound to it than some of their later albums.”

In 2014, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Smash, The Offspring embarked on the Summer Nationals Tour with label mates Bad Religion and Pennywise. At each concert, they played the album in its entirety, along with some of their other most popular songs.

On September 7, the Summer Nationals Tour stopped at the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati. After Pegboy from Chicago and Stiff Little Fingers from Northern Ireland played their sets, popular Los Angeles punk band Bad Religion took the stage. Playing their staples “21st Century Boy”, “American Jesus”, and “I Want to Conquer the World,” amongst others, Bad Religion’s energy warmed up the crowd up for The Offspring.

Backed by a massive backdrop of the Smash album cover, The Offspring played the whole album. The sound of the cheering fans was almost as loud as the music itself, almost overwhelming Dexter Holland’s distinctive vocals. After playing the album, they went backstage for a short break. After a few minutes, singer Holland, guitarist Noodles, bassist Greg K, and drummer Pete Parada re-emerged on stage to play other fan favorites such as “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy),” and “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid.”

Sophomore Offspring fan Ryan Herlihy said, “It being my first concert, it was awesome. Even if it wasn’t my first it would have still been great.”

After more than 20 years, The Offspring proved that not only can they still rock, but that Smash will be favorite for years to come.

“I think Smash has great songs on it and that people still really enjoy. The Offspring came out with an album in 2012. Some people might had heard that for the first time and decided to search for The Offspring’s roots,” noted Rodenberg.

As Cincinnati State student Erin McBreen said, “They’re awesome because even though they are a lot older now, they still rock as hard as they used to!”