The Offspring

The Offspring have been playing punk rock since 1986 when Holland and Kreisel (Greg K) got together through their high school cross country track team in Garden Grove, Calif. The quartet progressed from playing covers on the weekends to a deal with Epitaph, the Los Angeles indie run by former Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. The 1994 Epitaph release \'SMASH\' spawned the international hit "Come Out and Play (Keep \'Em Separated)." "The Offspring\'s second album for Epitaph did the impossible: it landed in the Top Five, unheard of for independent records." Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide By 1984, when what would have become the Offspring formed, the original Orange County punk scene had fractured. "We used to go this dance club called Circle City, and there\'d be 10 different cliques," says Kriesel. "In our high school there was a rockabilly scene, as well as a mod scene and a New Wave scene, as well as a punk scene," Holland adds. But at Pacifica High, a large public school in Garden Grove, Calif. Holland wasn\'t a member of any of those groups. The third of four children born to a hospital administator father and a schoolteacher mother, he kept busy being a "good kid" and hoped to be a doctor. "Sports were a really big thing," Holland says, "I was on the cross-country team." He also happened to be class valedictorian (thus his nickname, Dexter). His senior year, Holland\'s older brother gave him a Rodney on the ROQ compilation album. Before then, Holland was a casual listener. But soon after, he was devouring Flipside and Maximumrocknroll, fanzines out of Pasadena, Calif., and Berkeley, Calif., respecively, that are virtual how-to guides to punkdome. His favorite bands were T.S.O.L. (particulary 1981\'s Dance With Me), the Adolescents and Agent Orange County bands that weren\'t as hung up on politic as their Bay Area counterparts. Holland\'s cross-country teammate Greg Kriesel discovered punk even later. His investment-banker father saw law school in his son\'s future. And for most of high school, Kriesel was a sports fan and self-proclaimed jock (he also played baseball). The first punk records he ever heard were the ones the ones Holland played for him. "Music wasn\'t something that meant a lot to me," he says. "But I started listening to it because it was around, and I got used to it." Holland and Krisel formed their first band, Manic Subsidal, with two other cross-country teammates one night in 1984 after failing to get in a Social Distortion show. At the time, the two didn\'t even own instruments, much less know how to play them. "Bryan and I both learned together," says Kriesel, "and he wasn\'t even playing chords at the time, so he\'d play on one string, and I tried to do the same thing. By the summer we were actually playing songs, but it took a while." Kriesel\'s house was the site of the band\'s first gigs. "It\'s just always a hangout," Kriesel says, "on any given weekend night up to 20 people could drop by. I had a big upstairs that was pretty much mine, and my mom was downstairs. But she\'s always been really cool about it. That fall, Holland began premed studies at USC (he\'s currently a Ph.D. candidate in molecular biology). Kriesel was attending Golden West Junior College and later recieved a B.A. in finance from Long Beach State while working part time in a print shop (he\'s planning to attend law school). Weekends were the only time the band could rehearse. Once Holland had written a handful of songs with self-explanitory titles like "Very Sarcastic" and "Sorority Bitch," the fledgling band headed for a cheap studio. Momentarily waylaid when its guitarist jumped ship, the band recruited Kevin Wasserman, an older Pacifica grad who then worked as the school janitor. Pretty soon, Wasserman was "not doing a hell of a lot except practicing at Greg\'s house on weekends and drinking excessively." Being the only member of the band over 21, Wasserman was particularly useful when it came to buying beer. "I remember being amazed by Bryan," Wasserman says, "He was valedictorian, he was such a math geek. So when I first saw him with black hair and plaid bondage pants, I was like \'What are you doing?\' But