In a sense, we have been waiting for this since yesterday, when Billboard broke the urgent news that SoCal mall-rock legends 311 and Offspring would be covering each other, an act of artistic cross-pollination performed in honor of the bands’ upcoming joint tour, which kicks off next week. But in another, more accurate sense, we have been waiting for this crossover since roughly 1995, when the two bands’ complementary styles of bratty skate-thrash and amber-colored reggae-thrash soared throughout the airwaves, inspiring all of middle-America to buy a pair of Oakleys and briefly try to skateboard.
Per the Billboard article, it was Offspring’s idea, and, as 311's Nick Hexum elaborates:
“They said, ‘We had the idea to cover your song, and we’ve done it,’ and I was like, ‘Wow! I have to hear this,’ ‘cause it’s such a signature song. Were they going to cover it faithfully or rework it?’ They reworked it just enough; There’s punk to it, and Dexter (Holland) actually does a killer job of rapping SA (Martinez)‘s parts in more of a punk rock style, with fast drums. We were so blown away, It was so my (sic) fun to hear that. So we returned the favor and reggaefied (‘Self Esteem’), which is probably my favorite song of theirs. It’ll be a lot of fun to give the fans new versions of these songs they love so much.”
Today—after either one day of waiting or 23 years, depending on how you’re counting—they finally released the songs. We will hold them back no further. Let’s begin with the inciting incident, Offspring’s cover of “Down,” which, if you want to sing along, begins with the word “chyeaaaaaaaah”:
In a press release accompanying the track, Offspring guitarist “Noodles”(?) gives his thoughts on the experience, with an inevitable dash of pretension:
“We’ve always been big fans of the song ‘Down’,” shared Offspring guitarist Noodles. “Parts of the song sound really heavy and almost dark, but it also has a very uplifting message. We knew we’d never be able to groove it the way 311 do so we tried to punk it up a little. 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.”
We’ll let you replace any toppled furniture and grab a glass of water before proceeding with 311's cover of “Self Esteem”:
The accompanying press release goes on to describe “Noodles’” reaction to the above song.
Noodles added, “Wow! Way cool,” in response to 311's take on ‘Self Esteem’. “The guitars sound great and that bass is certainly in your face. I think what ultimately makes this version great is the way Nick and SA split the vocals and play off of each other. SA taking the high parts while Nick slides in effortlessly beneath him is a perfect example of how harmonies are supposed to work. Nailed it!”
Hexum also refers to having “311-ized” the Offspring track, which is certainly one way to put it. Have a safe and blessed weekend in this, the seventh month of 2018.