Ixnay On the Hombre by The Offspring

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Ixnay On the Hombre by The OffspringIn their prime, The Offspring‘s music found the sweet spot somewhere between hard rock and hardcore. Their 1997 fourth overall release and major label debut, Ixnay on the Hombre, features a diverse collection of songs which range from thrashing punk to moody and philosophical rock to the occasional bit of light comical fare. The resulting album found both critical acclaim and worldwide commercial success, as it sold over three million copies across the globe.

After the massive commercial success of their previous album, Smash in 1994, the band was the biggest act on the small Epitaph label. They eventually decided to leave the label and signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, but not before they bought out the rights to their 1989 debut album and re-released it.

The Offspring entered the studio in mid 1996 with producer Dave Jerden and recorded close to twenty songs from the sessions. This was eventually pared back to a dozen album tracks along with a couple of spoken word novelty tracks.


Ixnay On the Hombre by The Offspring
Released: February 4, 1997 (Columbia)
Produced by: Dave Jerden
Recorded: Eldorado Recording Studios, Hollywood, California
Track Listing Group Musicians
Disclaimer
The Meaning of Life
Mota
Me and My Old Lady
Cool to Hate
Leave It Behind
Gone Away
I Choose
Intermission
All I Want
Way Down the Line
Don’t Pick It Up
Amazed
Change the World
Dexter Holland – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Kevin Wasserman – Guitars, Vocals
Greg Kriesel – Bass, Vocals
Ron Welty – Drums, Vocals

 

Ixnay On the Hombre by The Offspring

 

The album begins with one of the spoken word tracks, “Disclaimer”, a sarcastic dissertation on warning labels recited by Jello Biafra. The music starts with “The Meaning of Life”, a rapid punk/pop track which sets the pace for much of the material on the album. After a unique percussive intro by Ron Welty, “Mota” breaks out with a hard-edged ska feel throughout with definite punk overtones and good, edgy rudiments.

Most of the material on the album was written by lead vocalist Dexter Holland, who belts his signature story-telling lyrical rants and unique wails later on the track “Me and My Old Lady”, which also features a really cool groove and is the best song of the early part of album. Unfortunately, this is followed by two of the more forgettable tracks, “Cool to Hate”, which tries to be high-school anthemic, and “Leave It Behind” a standard and forgettable song.

The Offspring

The heart of Ixnay On the Hombre starts with “Gone Away”, an interesting, grunge-inspired track with differing vibes and textures. Greg Kriesel‘s bass fueled verses tradeoff with the piercing guitar riff interludes of Kevin Wasserman on this top Mainstream Rock Track. “I Choose” was another hit from the album built on the fantastic funky riffing and rhythms with Kriesal and Welty’s bass and drums complementing the charged electric riffs by Wasserman, who later provides a traditional hard rock guitar lead.

“Intermission” provides a true point of levity to usher in the latter part of the album, which includes the fastest punk track “All I Want”, the eclectic track “Way Down the Line”, and “Don’t Pick It Up”, an entertaining mixture of ska and surf rock. “Amazed” is another quality track, almost as good as the earlier hits, while the closer “Change the World” comes just a little short of greatness due to the tense punk beat which detracts from the otherwise fine melody and bass line.

Ixnay on the Hombre reached the Top Ten of the US album charts and The Offspring toured relentlessly throughout the world to promote the record.

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1997 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of 1997 albums.

 

Smash by The Offspring

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Smash by The OffspringOften overlooked by their more lauded West Coast contemporaries, The Offspring were nonetheless a hard rock powerhouse in the mid to late nineties. Their aptly named breakthrough album, Smash, achieved platinum sales and reached the Top 10 in over a dozen countries, peaking at #4 on the US album charts. Unlike the group’s first two releases, which were close to hardcore punk in genre, this third independent album leans more towards the emerging grunge rock and pop punk sound, which brought the critical and commercial success. In total, Smash has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling independent label album of all time.

The Offspring began in Southern California in the mid 1980s with guitarist, lyricist, and front man Bryan “Dexter” Holland and bassist Greg Kriesel. Later on the group added Ron Welty and guitarist Kevin Wasserman to round out the quartet. In 1989, the group recorded their first album with producer Thom Wilson, who continued to work with the group on their 1991 sophomore effort and on Smash.

However, when they began studio work on this album in 1993, the band’s relations with Wilson had begun to strain. Still, the team worked well enough together to forge a successful sound which became highly influential over the coming decades and still resonates with listeners to this day.


Smash by The Offspring
Released: April 8, 1994 (Epitath)
Produced by: Thom Wilson
Recorded: Track Record, North Hollywood, CA, October–December 1993
Track Listing Group Musicians
Time to Relax
Nitro (Youth Energy)
Bad Habit
Gotta Get Away
Genocide
Something to Believe In
Come Out and Play
Self Esteem
It’ll Be a Long Time
Killboy Powerhead
What Happened to You?
So Alone
Not the One
Smash
Dexter Holland – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Kevin Wasserman – Guitars, Vocals
Greg Kriesel – Bass, Vocals
Ron Welty – Drums, Vocals

Smash by The Offspring

 

Aside from the single cover song, Holland composed all songs on Smash, which includes a spoken-word narrator who makes three appearances, starting with the 25 second intro “Time to Relax”. Welty’s relentless drums drive the track “Nitro (Youth Energy)”, with dueling vocals and guitars buried quite a bit back in the mix and a constant refrain of “living like there’s no tomorrow”. “Bad Habit” takes a different approach as Kriesel’s slow, accented bass riff dominates the intro and first verse before the second verse brings additional punk structure and drive. Later there is a naked vocal middle section laced with profanity, which may actually be the overall most creative and interesting part of the song.

“Gotta Get Away” starts with a drum roll and bass intro, reminiscent of a 1960s pop beat, before the song morphs into a more hard rock oriented arrangement which seems to be heavily influenced by Nirvana. Released as a single, the song reached number 6 on the Modern Rock chart. “Genocide” is mainly structured more like a heavy metal track with distorted riffs and double-kick drums but the vocals keep it grounded within the pop/punk realm. Overall not a bad tune, just thick and slow in the melody hooks. “Something to Believe In” is an honest attempt at 70s-style punk, before it later dissolves to a bass driven bridge.

The song this band was born to play, “Come Out and Play”, with an anthemic, shout-along chorus, was the catalyst that brought the Offspring great success. Although not officially released as a single, the song hit the airwaves and raced to the top of the Mainstream Rock charts. Fueled by Holland’s Eastern-style riff, lyrics on adolescence, and an entertaining stop-start arrangement, the song struck a unique chord in the rock music universe. The second most popular song on the album, “Self Esteem” is a fun song with great, pathetic, philosophical, and almost comical lyrics about an unhealthy relationship. Beginning with full arrangement, the song leans on strong bass and deadened guitars during the verses and a fuller arrangement elsewhere as the truth of its lyric puts it over the top;

the more you suffer, the more it shows you really care…”

Later in the album, the material thins out a bit. “It’ll Be a Long Time” sounds like a fast-paced Black Sabbath song, more worried about the riff and the jam than the noise and attitude of punk. “Killboy Powerhead” is the a cover by contemporary punk group The Didjits with a cool, Saturday morning cartoon vibe. “What Happened to You?” is a very short but entertaining excursion into ska where the performance and production is tighter than anywhere else on the album, while “So Alone” is pure filler of 100mph punk that lasts barely 70 seconds in total duration. “Not the One” is where surf music meets punk, setting up the closer “Smash”, which almost sounds like a pimped-out, punked-out version on the previous track. This final song does pick up a bit in intensity before abruptly ending with “closing comments” by a narrator.

The unprecedented success of Smash garnered attention from major labels like Columbia Records, with whom The Offspring signed in 1996. The following year, the group released their much anticipated follow-up Ixnay on the Hombre, which continued to elevate the group’s success.

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1994 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of 1994 albums.