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The Offspring and 311’s Covers of Each Other’s Hits Are Well-Meaning Duds

Ahead of a joint tour, the two Nineties rock mainstays have swapped “Self Esteem” for “Down,” with less-than-fly results

Nick Hexum of 311 and Dexter Holland of The Offspring.

Nick Hexum of 311 and Dexter Holland of The Offspring.

Chelsea Lauren/REX Shutterstock, Ricky Bassman/CSM/REX Shutterstock

The Offspring and 311 are heading out on a 29-date co-headlining tour on July 25th – an idea we fully support for catching both the rays of summer and the waves of late-Nineties nostalgia. But to promote the Never-Ending Summer Tour, the two multi-platinum bands have decided to cover each others’ hits and the results are the musical equivalent of a key party that gives all the participants  chlamydia.

The Offspring tackle 311’s 1996 breakthrough “Down.” Says guitarist Noodles in a press release: “We tried to do a Ramones-like version to serve as a companion piece to the Clash-iness of theirs. I don’t know if we did it justice but it sure was fun to play and sing.”

The adenoidal rap of Offspring’s version feels like it’s completely out of singer Dexter Holland’s range. Though probably not intentional, Holland’s whiny MC voice absolutely sounds like he’s making fun of 311 vocalist Doug “SA” Martinez – which, also, may be a side effect of famously making fun of hip-hop mannerisms in “Pretty Fly for a White Guy.”

For their half, 311 give a flimsy reggae-lite lilt to the Offspring’s “Self Esteem” and, again, it sounds like vocalist Nick Hexum and Doug Martinez are punching out of their weight class.

Superfans and masochists can pre-order a split seven-inch, limited to 1,000 copies, starting at 10 a.m. PST Friday on the official Offspring and 311 websites. For everyone else, it would be like forcing the 1989 Sonic Youth/Mudhoney split into the back pocket of some Jncos. Enjoy the show and hope they stick to their own songs (or at least their tried-and-true covers of the Cure and the Didjits).

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