Doctor Dexter

 Punk rock band The Offspring talk about what they’re going to do in retirement and why they had to come to Siberia  11/15/2013, 06:43

Dmitry Gusev
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Doctor Dexter
Photography by Roman Brygin

California punk rock band The Offspring, whose hits blared out on MTV at the turn of the century, have made it to Novosibirsk for the first time as part of their first Russian tour. Sib.fm’s correspondent questioned guitarist and backing vocalist Kevin «Noodles» Wasserman about retirement, travel, unique style and Siberian punk.

The Offspring was founded in 1984

When I was a child, my generation had very little music. We bought pirated cassettes, including The Offspring, in kiosks and didn’t even think that one day we’d be able to just buy a ticket and go to a concert. Even in the European part of Russia, many are convinced that Siberia is a place with bears, vodka and permafrost. That’s why only has-beens and scumbags come here. So why did you make the trip?

Travelling around the world is a nice part of our work, we love to travel. It’s great to perform in new places and see new fans. I never thought that we’d play Siberia one day either. The Offspring has played four times in Moscow, twice in Saint Petersburg and we performed at the Kubana festival this year. So we had contacts with promoters and decided to do a Russian tour. And I love bears and vodka!

A Siberian punk rock scene emerged in the 90s. It’s a very unique phenomenon, different from what you’re doing or what the Sex Pistols did, for example. Now, Massive Attack are playing songs by the band Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defence) at concerts in England. Have you heard about this?

Yeah, I know Civil Defence. I think their frontman was called Yegor. There was another great girl — Yanka... Yanka Dyagileva. Unfortunately, I don’t understand Russian, so I don’t know what they’re singing about, but it sounds great.

What impressions do you have from your first tour of Russia?

We’ve spent a lot of time in trains and planes. It’s an excellent country: beautiful nature, countryside, a lot of birches. Russian fans are very energetic, like in South America. But I noticed that people don’t have so many tattoos.

In an interview in the mid-90s you assumed it unlikely that the group would last as long as the Rolling Stones. Next year, the band is turning 30, but you’re still performing and releasing albums.

At one time we had to save up money ourselves to go to another city for a weekend and play a few shows. Then, the album Smash came out in 1994; it blew up the charts and made us popular, but we always did what we wanted and were never untrue to ourselves. We listened to a lot of other groups, for example, Nirvana. But we wanted to do something heavier, more punky. When we burst onto the scene, we didn’t come out of nowhere, as a lot of people thought. We’d been around for 10 years and didn’t expect it to happen.

You’re like the Rolling Stones or the Scorpions — your sound hasn’t changed much in decades. You sometimes add something, but it’s just as if to stop yourselves from getting bored. Have you never wanted to suddenly change everything?

We try to bring something new to every record to make it different from previous ones. But it’s always the same Offspring style. I wouldn’t put us on a par with the Scorpions, but maybe someday we’ll reach such heights.

One day, The Offspring story will end. Do you have any plans for retirement?

Read this interview
in Russian

Dexter (vocalist) is defending his thesis, he’s going to be a PhD. Greg (bassist) has a degree in political science. I’m going to study too, I’d like to be an oceanologist. But it’s difficult to say at the moment, because we have no plans to give up punk rock, thank God.

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