Over the past 23 years The Offspring have mastered the art of juxtaposing urgent, socially-conscious punk rock missives with humorous, self-deprecating songs. It’s an achievement that presents an ever-increasing challenge each time the Huntington Beach, Calif., band enters the recording studio.
“It is tough, because you don’t want to keep writing the same songs, but you don’t want to stray too far from your foundation,” said bassist Greg Kriesel. “We try to write different types of songs, but try to keep the same feel and sound and make sure that each song could stand on its own.
“I think maybe that’s why it took so long to do this album,” Kriesel said, referring to “Days Gone By,” the band’s ninth disc and first in four years. The Offspring, which also includes singer-guitarist Dexter Holland, guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman and drummer Pete Parada, perform Sunday on the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park.
The constant in The Offspring’s diverse offerings are the irresistible melodies that keep fans humming along, whether it be to a song about teen gun violence - the band’s 1994 commercial breakthrough, “Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated),” the angst of unfulfilled dreams (“The Kids Aren’t Alright”) or the misguided suburban youth who thinks he’s “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy).”
“Days Go By” continues the tradition. Standout tracks include call to purpose album opener, “The Future Is Now,” the hooky, summertime ode, “Cruising California (Bumpin’ In My Trunk) and the reflective title track.
“The song “Days Go By” came first and was a natural choice for the album title,” Kriesel said. “At this point in our careeer we are looking back a little bit.”
The album marks the second time the band has worked with mega-producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue).
“The last album turned out really great, so we wanted to work with Bob again,” Holland said in a separate interview. “When you go with a producer for the second time, it can go one of two ways.
“Either, since you've gotten to know each other, everything gets a lot better. Or, sometimes, you've gotten too comfortable with each other, and it stops being professional. The producer becomes too much like a buddy. Luckily, it didn’t go that way. Bob encouraged us to throw all of our ideas out there.”
Kriesel said he’s pleased with the critical and fan reaction to the new album, which was released in June and landed at No. 12 on the Billboard albums chart. He said the band is at its best onstage and is looking forward to supporting “Days Go By” on the road.
“So far it’s been well-received and it’s doing well on the radio,” Kriesel said. “We want to tour as much we can, see where we are and go from there.”
With nearly 25 years and 40 million albums sold worldwide behind them, Kriesel said that The Offspring still feels inspired and “intends to keep going.” But at the same time, he hinted at what he said is the band’s inevitable mortality.
“We’re not really setting goals anymore,” Kriesel said. “At every point a band reaches its end. So I think anything that we get now is gravy.”
IF YOU GO: The Offspring, Neon Trees and Dead Sara, 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, Stone Pony Summer Stage, 913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park. Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the gate and available through www.ticketmaster.com. For more information call 732-502-0600 or visit www.stoneponyonline.com.