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the AU interview: Greg K of The Offspring (California)

The Offspring were only in Australia earlier in the year on the monster Soundwave tour that had many fans revisiting some classic moments of 90s punk rock throughout the day and night. Come November however, the original pranksters (had to be done) are coming back through on the 2013 Warped Tour. Bassist Greg K tells me about the band's 2013, splitting time between touring and family life and how touring an album differs from back in the day to now.

Thanks for your time, Greg! Has your day been busy so far?

Well, right now, I’ve been home for a little bit so I’ve been doing the family stuff. I have four kids who are in school, so it’s a lot of pick ups and drop offs!

Ah, playing Dad!

Yeah!

Great stuff. Now, it’s not been that long since we saw the band – how are you guys looking forward to coming back over for the Warped Tour?

We always enjoy going to Australia, it’s always a great tour. It’s going to a be a little different this time, because the last one was the big, epic tour with Metallica and Linkin Park and Blink and whoever else, but this one is going to be more…I don’t know, I heard it’s different to Warped in the States. You’re not playing off the back of trucks and doing 20 minute sets or whatever, but it’s going to be a little more punk rock and in some ways, it makes it a little more fun.

Yeah! Soundwave was massive this year! Attending these sorts of festivals as a punter though, there are some of the best crowds you could be in or come across.

Yeah! Playing on the American Warped Tour…people are just either there to go out and either watch the older bands they know or check out the new bands.

I was interviewing one of the Australian bands who did the US Warped Tour this year and they were saying how good an experience it was for them as they’d do however many shows over however many days – using that as a platform to be introduced to these kids, the Warped Tour was hugely beneficial.

Yeah! This one is obviously different because on that one, you’d play like, 60 shows and this one only has six! So the scale is sort of different. But I do think it’s the same in that way, where you can get out there and people will just come and check it out.

Definitely. Now, for you guys – I would assume that since the release of the last album, you’ve been touring it quite a bit. Have you had many breaks here and there just to get back to your families?

It’s been kind of scattered; we did a couple of big tours…we did a big US tour and some stuff in Europe but this year it’s been a lot of one-off weekend things. We did Soundwave and we just did a South American tour, but it’s been in little chunks.

Do you think that performing the material, doing it this way through 2013, has given the record time to breathe and the chance for the audiences to get closer to it?

Well yes and no. I think that in some ways, yes, people have gotten to absorb it more and in the other way, they’ve kind of forgotten about it, I guess. Nowadays, if you release an album, it’s like, people will listen to certain songs and they don’t try to absorb the whole album; they’ll pick out one or two songs and put them on their iPod or put them in a playlist and that’s all they hear. They move on to something new. It kind of goes both ways nowadays.

Such a good point. With regard to the band actually performing the material live, how easy was it for you to get into the groove of giving these songs the live treatment and letting them take on new shapes on stage?

It’s always different, because sometimes you’ll play some songs…god I don’t know, however many hundreds of times, maybe thousands…we’ve been playing for 20 years or so, so the songs from Smash have been in the set since the album came out! Playing those new songs though, it’s going to get a different reaction. Usually it’s not that known, even if it’s on the radio nowadays. It’s not going to go over as much as the songs that people have absorbed for 15 or 20 years or whatever. It’s a little different and as the album goes along, songs tend to drop out because we’ll play it and maybe five people will know the song. It’s like, ‘Well, do we keep doing this for the sake of playing a new song, or do we put in something that people like?’ – it’s about figuring out that balance.

Totally. With this in mind, can you tell me what the band is working on at the moment?

Right now, we have a couple of singles that we’re working on, just to put out and see what happens with those. If things maybe work out with those, then maybe we’ll think about a new album sometime next year. We really don’t have any plans for a full-scale album yet.

That’s fair. I guess, for The Offspring, you guys are in a really good position at the moment; we saw it with acts like Blink and Garbage on the Soundwave tour, it’s a position where you don’t have to worry about rushing new albums out, because you do have such a strong fan base already built up.

Yeah! Now things have kind of settled, where we don’t have to worry…usually you’d have to put out your album and then the radio stations need to play it and then you have to get all this promotion going on, now we can just go with what we’ve done in the past.

Definitely; I was talking with another musician about this yesterday, touring to crowds who may not have seen the band in some time, there’s no shame in bringing out all the hits for these festival sets.

I think the majority of the people do; there’s some of the hardcore fans who just want to hear that nobody knows at all! We do sometimes try to play a new song and it just falls really flat, so it’s like, ‘Do we do it for ourselves or for those few people that want to hear the new album? Do we do what 90% of the people want to hear, which is the old hits?’!

For sure. Well on that note, I have to thank you for your time again man, it’s a bit of a trip to have one of you on the phone after having grown up with such albums we were just talking about.

Oh cool! [Laughs]

We’ll see you guys soon!

It’s always a fun trip, we’re looking forward to it.

Awesome stuff, chat soon Greg!

Alright, thank you!

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2013 WARPED TOUR DATES

Friday 29th November - Brisbane - RNA Showgrounds

Saturday 30th November - Coffs Harbour - Coffs Harbour Showground

Sunday 1st December - Sydney - Barangaroo *subject to council approval

Friday 6th December - Canberra - Exhibition Park

Saturday 7th December - Melbourne - TBA

Sunday 8th December - Adelaide - Ellis Park