By Craig Clizbe
Yesterday Alternative Rockers, 311 and, Punk Rock band, The Offspring kicked off their co-headlining Never-Ending Summer Tour.To help celebrate the event, both 311 and The Offspring recently surprised fans and took each other’s signature hits for a spin. 311 recorded a rocking reggae-infused cover of The Offspring classic “Self Esteem,” while The Offspring injected their signature punk rock energy into a cover of 311’s smash “Down.” It is with that in mind that I decided to dedicate both this week’s, and next week’s #TBT articles to telling the story behind each of these songs. The first of these is telling the story behind The Offspring’s 1994 single, “Self Esteem.”
When discussing 311’s approach to their version of the song, which was released by BMG Rights Management on July 6, Nick Hexum of 311 commented, “‘Self Esteem’ is my favorite Offspring song. It’s a great melody, and the lyrics really tell a story. I like when a singer is vulnerable and doesn’t try to act all cool. We’ve all been in relationships we know we shouldn’t be in, so most people can relate. Our first version was more reggae, but we realized that it needed to rock—like the original. We revved it up to be rocking riffs with reggae rhythms. I guess we ‘311-ized’ it. It was a lot of fun. SA kicked ass on this one. The vocal requires a lot of range and he really belted it out. We had to work hard to live up to Offspring’s killer cover of ‘Down’! I love the way they reimagined it. It kicks ass! I’m glad they really took liberties instead of being faithful to the original roadmap. I love the punk parts and hearing Dexter do SA’s raps. Nice job dudes!”
“Self Esteem” was released as the second official single from The Offspring’s third studio album, Smash in December of 1994. It was released to help keep up the momentum from the album’s first single, “Come Out And Play (Keep Em Separated)”, which was considered the band’s commercial breakthrough. “Come Out And Play” introduced the world to The Offspring, who were largely only part of the under ground Punk scene prior. Despite releasing two albums before the release of Smash, The Offspring only released one single before “Come Out And Play” with “I’ll Be Waiting ” in 1986.
However thanks to the release of several landmark Alternative Rock albums in 1994 like Nirvana’s Nevermind, Stone Temple Pilot’s Purple, Bush’s Sixteen Stone and most importantly, Green Day’s Dookie, The Offspring would find themselves in the middle of a Grunge Rock hungry audience of the mid 90s. Thanks to Green Day’s massive crossover success as one of the first Punk bands of that time with a major deal and Pop radio play, The Offspring would join them in playing a huge part in helping usher Punk Rock into the mainstream when it came time to release Smash on April 8, 1994. Smash was released independently on the Punk label, Epitaph Records, founded by Bad Religion’s guitarist, Brett Gurewitz. In fact thanks to the success of “Come Out And Play,” and later, “Self Esteem” and “Gotta Get Away”, Smash would become the first album released through Epitaph to receive gold or platinum status. Many fans could connect with the melodic sound paired with a raw production of a real message. Lead singer, Dexter Holland said most songs on Smash “were just about whatever was happening in front of me.” at the time of being a grad student at the University of Southern California.
When it came time for The Offspring to release “Self Esteem” as a second single, “Come Out And Play” gave the band their first major hit, reaching Number One on The Billboard Modern Rock Charts. They became a Alternative radio staple after they were discovered by Jed The Fish Of KROQ FM in Los Angeles. By the time the music video for “Self Esteem” came along in the summer of 1994, The Offspring were already the most successful band to ever sign to Epitaph. It became a worldwide hit, reaching number 1 in Latvia, Norway, and Sweden, becoming one of the most successful singles released by the band. Much of this was attributed to the song’s music video receiving high rotation on MTV at the time. As a result of the MTV airplay combined with its worldwide chart success,”Self Esteem” was even nominated for the 1995 MTV Europe Music Awards.
“Selef Esteem’s” success got things moving faster than ever before. They were inspired to re-release their previous two albums for their millions of new listeners. The Offspring’s 1992 album cut, “Kick Him When He’s Down” from the Epitaph release Ignition even received a fair amount of Rock radio air play. This eventually helped Ignition earn a gold certification in early 1996. Smash would eventually sell over 11 million copies worldwide, and still holds the record as the best selling independent album of all time.
That momentum allowed The Offspring to enter the world of the major labels. They appeared on Atlantic Records’ 1995 soundtrack for Warner Bros. Picture’s superhero blockbuster, Batman Forever. Eventually The Offspring signed a long-term major label deal with Columbia Records. This major deal helped make them one of the rock bands to appear alongside mainstream acts during MTV’s TRL Pop revival of the late 90s, thanks to future hits like “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy),” and “Why Don’t You Get A Job.”
On April 8, 2014, the 20th anniversary of Smash’s original release, The Offspring re-issued the album for the second time. They officially announced that they would be releasing a special edition of Smash on Epitaph. It was released as a special package that contained the remastered album on both CD and vinyl, restyled artwork, and a large format 24-page booklet containing never-before seen photos. The reissue was also released as a box set; it came with an art print (the first 250 of which are signed and on linen), a live photo print, tour pass replica and 20th anniversary items, including a pin, patch and guitar pick.
The album’s commercial success has left quite an impact. Loudwire placed Smash at number 4 on its “10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1994” list, Smash was also included at number 6 on Rock Sound‘s “The 51 Most Essential Pop Punk Albums of All Time” list in 2014. Are you ready to check out The Offspring as they hit the road with 311? Pull your old copy of Smash out of your disc wallet, rip it into your computer and rock out to this week’s #TBT, “Self Esteem” by The Offspring.
BMG Rights Management
“Come Out And Play (Keep Em Seperated)”
“Smash It Up” (The Damned Cover)
From Batman Forever Soundtrack
“Pretty (For A White Guy)“
“Why Don’t You Get A Job“
Never-Ending Summer TourDates:
DATE CITY VENUE
Wednesday, July 25 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
Friday, July 27 Salt Lake City, CA USANA Amphitheatre
Saturday, July 28 Las Vegas, NV Downtown Las Vegas Events Center
Sunday, July 29 Chula Vista, CA Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
Tuesday, July 31 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
Thursday, August 2 Oklahoma City, OK The Zoo Amphitheatre
Saturday, August 4 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheater
Sunday, August 5 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman
Tuesday, August 7 Jacksonville, FL Daily’s Place
Wednesday, August 8 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
Friday, August 10 Philadelphia, PA Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
Saturday, August 11 Gilford, NH Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
Sunday, August 12 Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheater
Tuesday, August 14 Sterling Heights, MI Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill
Wednesday, August 15 Springfield, IL Illinois State Fair
Tuesday, August 21 Hartford, CT XFINITY Theatre
Wednesday, August 22 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Friday, August 24 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Saturday, August 25 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Sunday, August 26 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
Tuesday, August 28 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage
Wednesday, August 29 Allentown, PA The Great Allentown Fair
Friday, August 31 St. Paul, MN Minnesota State Fair
Saturday, September 1 Sioux City, IA Battery Park at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City
Monday, September 3 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino, Amphitheatre
Tuesday, September 4 Huber Heights, OH Rose Music Center at The Heights
Thursday, September 6 Chicago, IL Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Saturday, September 8 Thackerville, OK Winstar Casino
Sunday, September 9 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena