Pretty fly white guys The Offspring follow up their multi-platinum Columbia debut, Ixnay On The Hombre, with Americana, their fifth album overall (due Nov. 17). The titles are a hoot and the song lyrics even better.
"Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" is already a hit. The California punk band's offbeat humour comes through loud and clear.
"That seemed to be the one that was the catchiest and lighthearted enough," says guitarist Noodles of the first single.
"Why Don't You Get A Job" is a classic, and it's not talking about a male slacker. No, this bum's a gal. In the rock world, usually it's the (male) musician living off the woman.
"I can't tell you how many times I've see on [Jerry] Springer, women, usually a stripper, making bucket loads of money, but supporting this deadbeat hothead musician boyfriend, who stays at home and talks about how someday he's going to pay her all back because the band's really gonna make it," he recounts. "Anyone watching the show, watching this guy knows that he's way too stoned to accomplish anything. It's way too funny."
As for the song, he says he doesn't believe his bandmate, singer-guitarist Dexter Holland, wrote it about a real person. "But I've known people on both sides of the equation. I've known people supporting people; I've known people supported by people," says Noodles.
His friends and family no longer tell him to "get a real job", not since The Offspring's album, 1994's Smash, sold 11 million copies worldwide, spearheaded by singles "Come Out And Play (You Gotta Keep Em Separated)" and "Self-Esteem". "All of a sudden I became legitimate," he says.
The reversal of roles continues on Americana's "She's Got Issues", a song originally intended to be "I've Got Issues", if it didn't come off so pathetically.
"Dexter started to write the lyrics to that and it sounded like whining," Noodles explains. "You couldn't really do a song called 'I've Got Issues' without Wah Ahhh!!!', so he wanted to make fun of that whole 'issue' thing. He had to make it about somebody, so everybody wouldn't think we were sexist. `How come you're picking on girls and their emotional problems.' `Ah, it's not really about that. It could be a guy as well.'"
And speaking of whiny songs, Holland, Noodles, bassist Greg K. and drummer Ron Welty do glorious sacrilege to Morris Albert's "Feelings", changing the word "love" to "hate", as in "trying to forget my feelings of hate."
So what does Noodles think of the original, as if you can't guess?
"I think it's just reeeeally, sappy...emotional...horrible...AM...song (laughter). I think it was a song that was just waiting for somebody to come along and kick it in the ass and make fun of it."
That they did.
The band's North American tour starts this month, and stops Dec. 5 at Toronto's Guvernment.