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Producer Bob Rock helps Offspring mash metal, punk

Despite his nickname, The Offspring’s guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman says he’s no riff-shredding headbanger.

Despite his nickname, The Offspring’s guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman says he’s no riff-shredding headbanger.

Reached a couple days before the start of the band’s tour to support last year’s Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace, Wasserman said the band’s connection to famed Metallica and Mötley Crüe producer (and Canadian) Bob Rock wasn’t because they always hoped to work with the man who helped craft those epic guitar sounds.

In fact, Wasserman’s introduction to the genre came by accident, via a cover song.

“None of us were into metal early on. I always loved Paranoid by Black Sabbath — that was one of the few (metal songs) I got into,” he said. “But I always thought that it was a Dickies song, at least until I played the record for some friends and they said it was Black Sabbath.”

Despite Wasserman’s denials, the guitar intros to Hammerhead or A Lot Like Me sound less like those Southern California punk legends than Rock-produced Metallica. When pushed, he did say that the better he gets at guitar, the more he appreciates the fretwork of players like Van Halen, and AC/DC’s three-chord assault — an influence that can be heard in much of The Offspring catalogue, which has long merged punk energy and attitude with metal’s heavy riffs.

“None of us are really metalheads, but we do appreciate bits and pieces of it,” said Wasserman. “Metallica is a great band ... and the guitar playing on the Black Album is great, in terms of in your face shredding. (But) I like a good song first, and a good shred second — no excessive shredding.”

Returning to the Dickies-Metallica dichotomy, The Offspring do focus their lyrical content more on So-Cal punk. Despite pushing their fourth decade on earth, the band members continues writing songs about — and aimed at — the youth audience. Asked what it is about the youngsters that so inspires the Offspring, Wasserman said it’s because that’s who their peers are.

“We’ve never had to get a real job, and for the last 14 years we’ve been able to tour the country, drink beer and have fun,” he said. (A young audience) isn’t something we think about in terms of targeting our songs, it’s just who we are, and what we watch on TV. We grew up listening to that kind of music, and that feeling in music, so we keep coming back to it.”

Offspring live
• The Offspring play the Molson Amphitheatre July 2.

 
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