Punk rock institution the Offspring are currently on their first proper U.S. tour in four years, a two-month arena jaunt under the pull-no-punches banner “Shit Is Fucked Up Tour.” Bucking the trend of the Internet-accelerated, blink-and-you-miss-it promotional cycles, the band has been allowing eighth album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace to be a slow-builder: steadily releasing single after single (fourth single “Half-Truism” has been circling the Billboard Modern Rock Singles Chart) and finally touring on the album when it’s almost a year old. “It seems like, gosh, so many records have come that are there for a minute and they’re gone,” says lead singer Dexter Holland. “Big bands too! I just felt like the way for us to do it was to let it get out there.” With eyes on a follow-up album and maintaining his burgeoning Gringo Bandito hot sauce business, Holland sat down with Rolling Stone to talk about their summer tour and exactly why they’ve been lugging a piano around.
Have you thought about the next record?
A little bit. [Producer] Bob Rock was really great to work with and he pushed us in the right way, so we’ve had conversations about working again. I think he’s into it.
Are you gonna wait another four years to release it like last time?
No, that wasn’t intentional. I like being a band. I honestly think we can get something out next year. I’ll call it right now. New record in oh-’10.
Do you have any germs or ideas for it?
On this tour we’re seeing the response to all the work we did a year ago. We’re playing one of our older songs, just me on a piano — “It’s Gone Away.” It’s gone over really well. I don’t know what it means yet, but that all gels together when you’re thinking about the next record.
Why did you guys adopt a traditional “arena show” move like a piano?
You’d play 20 songs in an hour and you’d just be wrecked. It was kind of just like bam-bam-bam-bam. Like just getting on a treadmill and sprinting for like an hour. We’re trying to figure out how to make it a show. Pacing, imagine that!
When did you come up with the name for the tour?
One of the songs on our record is “Stuff Is Messed Up,” but it’s “Shit Is Fucked Up.” That was our take on the state of the world a year ago. I thought the song wouldn’t even be relevant in a year and a half, but it turns out things actually got worse. This tour should have been called “Shit Is Really Fucked Up.”
Do you have any back up plans?
I started making hot sauce. I really do it for fun. If I was gonna pick something to sell, I should have picked something that sells for more than two dollars. I’ve got it in supermarkets in Southern California. It’s a recipe that I made myself. It took a couple years because I don’t really cook, I just kind of mess around. From going to a stove to actually making it, you have to go to a commercial kitchen. They have a big kettle that holds about 150 gallons. You squirt out a bottle at a time and it takes us a whole day to make a batch, about 2,000 bottles. Do-it-yourself. I feel like a new band walking around with my demo tape. “Here’s my hot sauce, tell me if you like it.” When the CD business all went to hell, I had an office [for Nitro Records] and I felt really bad. I said, “Well, you guys can stay here and help with all the Nitro stuff, but we’re gonna be making hot sauce” [Laughs] You can’t download hot sauce.