The Offspring is the debut studio album by American punk rock band The Offspring, released on June 15, 1989 through Nemesis Records. After years of discontinued print, the album was re-released by Nitro/Epitaph Records in 1995, with a different album cover. Both the re-releases on the two respective labels are nearly identical. The Offspring has rarely played any songs from this album live. This is also the only studio album by The Offspring with fewer than 12 tracks; it has 11 (10 on the 2001 printings). It also includes elements of horror punk, with songs like "Demons" and "Beheaded".
After recording a demo tape in 1988, The Offspring began preparations for their first full-length album. They recorded it in March 1989 at South Coast Recording in Santa Ana, California, with Thom Wilson producing. During the sessions, the band re-recorded their early songs "I'll Be Waiting" and "Blackball", which both originally appeared on the band's 1986 single "I'll Be Waiting".
The album was released on June 15, 1989 in limited numbers by Nemesis Records, only in 12" vinyl and cassette format. When it was released, the album initially sold 5,000 copies and it took the band two and a half years to sell them all. One of the copies was destroyed by Wally George at his show the Wally George Show in 1989, thus leaving only 4,999 copies left. Some copies also have the Cargo Records logo next to the Nemesis logo on the back cover. To support the album, The Offspring embarked on a six-week national tour, but Noodles was stabbed during a performance at the Hollywood anti-nuclear benefit. Following the small success of The Offspring, the band signed with Epitaph Records in 1991.
"Beheaded" was rarely ever played live, having been played at least 24 times as of July 2016. The Offspring has rarely played any songs from the rest of the album. "Crossroads" is the only song from the album that has never been played live.
The Offspring received generally mixed reviews. AllMusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine, who gave the album two-and-a-half stars out of five, stated that The Offspring "is a rawer, harder-edged collection than their breakthrough set, Smash, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a better record", and that it "lacks the metal guitar crunch that dominated Smash." A Sputnikmusic review, which rated the album as four out of five, said that The Offspring "showed a much different and almost stranger side to The Offspring and that the Dexter Holland, the singer, can write good, even political, lyrics." The album received another positive review on Punknews.org, stating that "The Offspring were a much more amazing band in the past and by far their most spectacular album is the first."
The Offspring did not initially reach the Billboard 200 charts or become a commercial success. However, when the album was reissued in 1995, it reached a peak position of number 85 on the Netherlands Albums Chart for three weeks.
The Offspring was reissued several times, with formats in different countries, and with different labels (see the table below). The album was reissued on CD (and again on vinyl and cassette) in 1995, a year after The Offspring's commercial success with its third studio album Smash. This version is nearly identical to the one released on Nemesis. It features a different artwork instead of the controversial "Guitar Alien" front cover artwork, designed by the late Marc Rude. Six years later, the album was reissued once again on Nitro. Album pressings after June 26, 2001 (July 16 in the UK) removes the closing track "Kill the President"; according to frontman Dexter Holland, it was removed to prevent legal pressure falling upon the band and Nitro.
Two covers of this album exist. The original version features an image of a man's body exploding as the xenomorph from the Alien franchise holding a Stratocaster guitar emerges from his chest. There is a report, which remains unconfirmed, that this album was banned from retail stores due to its "grotesque" cover.
The 1995 re-release shows a different image which features a blurry black-and-white picture of a person's face. It was later admitted that the band's studio never really liked the original cover, the re-release gave them a chance to change it.
The shadows on the back cover of the 1995 reissue also appear on the cover of the "I'll Be Waiting" single.
All tracks written by Dexter Holland, except where noted.
NotesTrack 1, "Jennifer Lost the War", is featured on Punk-O-Rama Volume 1.
Track 6, "Beheaded", was later re-recorded as "Beheaded (1999)" for the movie Idle Hands.
Track 7, "Tehran", was later re-recorded as "Baghdad", which appears on their 1991 long-out of print EP Baghdad.
Track 9, "Blackball", is featured on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4.
Track 11, "Kill the President" is removed from the 2001 issues and is replaced by 4 seconds of silence. On the official website, the song is not mentioned in the track list.
Adapted from The Offspring liner notes. The OffspringDexter Holland (Listed as "Keith Holland" on the 1989 vinyl and changed for subsequent reissues) – Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Noodles – Guitar, background vocals on "Blackball"
Greg K. – Bass, background vocals on "Blackball"
Ron Welty – Drums
Additional musiciansJason – background vocals on "Blackball"
Jeff 1 – background vocals on "Blackball"
Jeff 2 – background vocals on "Blackball"
Tyler – background vocals on "Blackball"
Rick – background vocals on "Blackball"
Michelle – background vocals on "Blackball"
Marvin – background vocals on "Blackball"
Cynthia – background vocals on "Blackball"
ProductionThom Wilson – producer
Jim Dotson (Listed as "Jim Oddo") – engineer
Mad Marc Rude – Cover art (for 1989 vinyl)
Back cover picture – Kirk (for 1989 vinyl)
Mackie Osborne (Listed as "Mackie") – Art (for reissue)