Axl Rose can breathe a sigh of relief. His album title, Chinese Democracy, is safe for now.
After threatening to call their seventh studio offering Chinese Democracy
(see "Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy Snatched By Offspring"), melodic California punk band the Offspring have decided to name the LP Splinter. The record comes out December 2; the long-awaited Guns N' Roses disc still has no release date.
In April, Offspring vocalist Dexter Holland posted a message on the band's official Web site that read: "You snooze, you lose. Axl ripped off my braids, so I ripped off his album title." Not long after, Rose's lawyers called Holland's lawyer, but that's not why the Offspring abandoned the democratic process.
"I don't think we ever seriously considered using that name," Holland said. "But we could have if we wanted because you can't copyright or trademark an album title or a song title. Think of all the songs that are called 'I Love You' or 'Baby, Baby.' "
The prankster punks, who have been bashing around the Southern California scene for 18 years, chose to ultimately call their record Splinter for one of two reasons — depending on whether they're being silly or straight.
"We found that our records with one-word titles tend to do better than the ones with multiple-word titles," Holland joked before getting real. "Actually, it's because this record is pretty diverse and splintered. A lot of the songs are told in first person through these different voices that are slightly demented like a splintered personality."
The music on Splinter is also fragmented. In addition to the band's trademark upbeat punk and lighthearted humorous rock, the Offspring dabble in reggae rhythms and acoustic instrumentation.
"We just wanted to mix things up," Holland said. "Ever since we had our first song that got on the radio, 'Come Out and Play,' everybody was like, 'Oh, this is going to be a one-hit wonder or fly-by-night band,' and they didn't know we'd already been around for 10 years. Since then, we spent the next five or six albums trying to show that we can do different kinds of things."
The first single from Splinter, "Hit That," will go to radio October 28. While the buoyant dance-pop keyboards and electronic drumming give the music a frivolous tone comparable to the band's 1998 hit "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)," the lyrics address a serious subject.
"It's about taking responsibility," Holland said. "A generation ago, people were talking about the disintegration of the family because everyone was getting divorced, and how it was taking such a terrible toll on society. Well, you look around nowadays, and it's disintegrated so much more. Joe Blow has got three different kids by three different girls and vice versa, and it's happening more and more. And ultimately the kids are the ones who suffer from that. But when you get down to it, people are gonna hook up, so there's nothing you can do about it."