The members of The Offspring proved to be prophetic when the Southern California band dubbed their third album, “Smash,” 20-years ago.
Punk rock didn’t sell up until 1994 when Northern California punks Green Day released “Dookie,” which climbed the chart and “Smash” followed months later. 16 million copies of “Smash” were purchased.
“It was surreal,” guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman said while calling from Toronto. “Punk bands didn’t have commercial appeal back then. And it just happened for us.”
The Offspring emerged from obscurity to stardom within three months of the album’s release. The Eastern tinged-guitar of “Come Out and Play (Keep Em Seperated)” hit the top 10 of the Billboard charts. A succession of catchy singles, such as “Gotta Get Away” and “Self Esteem” enabled the album to become a monster, courtesy of the Offspring’s heavy punk attack.
“It was amazing,” Wasserman said while calling from Toronto. “When we were making that album, we never thought in a million years that it would just explode.”
And now the Offspring is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album by playing “Smash” in its entirety when it performs Thursday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
“We’re giving the fans what they want,” Wasserman said. “They’re enthusiastic about us playing the entire album and when we’re done we’ll play the other hits.”
Wasserman laughed when he recalled how the Offspring were called “sellouts” by some fans back in the day for going through the stratosphere.
“That was ridiculous because we didn’t alter our sound at all when making ‘Smash,’ ” Wasserman recalled. “We didn’t follow a particular blueprint. For some reason, we just connected with the masses.”
But it was never just about “Smash.” The Offspring, which also includes vocalist-guitarist Dexter Holland, bassist Greg K and drummer Pete Parada, is anything but a one-album wonder. The Offspring has sold more than 40 million albums, making it one of the most popular punk bands of all time.
“We’re proud of that,” Wasserman said. “No matter what anyone says about being punk, it’s about playing to a wider audience. I would rather play to a packed big room than to a few people in a small club. It’s fun feeling all of that energy.”
The Offspring is working on its next album, which should drop in 2015.
“We’re getting there,” Wasserman said. “But we’re not previewing anything yet. Even if we wanted to preview some songs, there’s no room on our setlist with ‘Smash’ and all of the other hits we’re playing on this tour.”