Offspring Guitarist Talks Earliest N.C. Shows, Touring, & Which Country Doesn’t Love 'Self Esteem'
ON FRIDAY, The Offspring returns to Charlotte with a show at Amos’ Southend. The band tours after the recent release of a new single and last year’s 20th anniversary for the record Smash. In this Q&A, guitarist Kevin Wasserman, known by the affectionate moniker “Noodles,” talks to Revue about past and current shows.
ANDY SMITH: You return to North Carolina this Friday. Any fond memories of past shows here?
KEVIN "NOODLES" WASSERMAN: Oh, definitely. One of the first shows we played there was in the ’80s, at an arcade in Raleigh. We ended up sleeping on the pool tables at night. I think the owner charged like $3. We were dirt poor, man. And we’d do laundry there. That’s back when we were touring in a pick-up truck.
AS: You guys recently toured for anniversary of Smash. How has touring changed since that album came out in the 1990s?
KW: When we first toured for Smash, we were all on the same bus and no one had a plane. (Laughs.) Dexter now owns planes. But we still do the bus thing, and it hasn’t changed much otherwise since Smash came out. We go city to city, not seeing much outside of the bus.
AS: You just released a song, “Coming For You,” which isn’t connected to any new album, right?
KW: Right now, we have a few new songs, but it might be another year or year in a half before we have a new record. Generally, it’s different now, and it’s instantaneous. We can release just one song to get fans excited.
AS: The audience at Offspring shows seem to always be a mix, always attracting a young demographic. Is that something you all notice?
KW: Definitely. The fans that we see in the front are the same age as the fans in the front when Smash came out. I guess that’s partly what our style of music attracts. And those are the people that go to concerts, really. We’ve always tried to keep our ticket prices reasonable.
AS: And this weekend, can fans expect a mix of the old and new in the setlist?
KW: Oh, yeah. We probably do songs off of each album since Smash. You have to do “Self Esteem” and “Come Out and Play.” You have to do those, except Japan — not “Self Esteem.” (Laughs.) In Japan, that song is kind of a dud. We end up burying that one in the setlist. “Come Out and Play” still does well though.
AS: So what keeps songs like “Self-Esteem” fresh for you, even after all of these years? What makes it not robotic to play the older stuff?
KW: Well, I still have to practice the songs at home. You do it so many times, but it’s always like a puzzle. There’s still an order to it. And there’s a reason they call me Noodles. I’ll put a noodle in it here and there to make it fresh. That makes it fun. But no matter what, you still try to perform every song the best you can.
The Offspring performs Friday at Amos’ Southend. Tickets run $30, and the show begins at 9 p.m. Get tickets here. Check out the video for the band's latest single below.