View Full Version : Interview with Dexter

07-01-2005, 09:13 AM
Taking off
Offspring frontman flies pretty high, and across the world, too

LOOKING BACK on it all, Dexter Holland first suspected he might be in trouble when he touched down in Magadan, a tiny Russian community on Tauisk Bay, off the Sea of Okhotsk. Immediately, he was confronted by bone-chilling, minus-30-degree temperatures and four Kalishnikov-armed soldiers, in green trenchcoats and traditional furry hats, who in halting English demanded to see his identification documents.

"It was so cold that they were like, 'Can we please go on your plane?'" recalls the singer, who didn't dare reveal his day job as leader of multiplatinum O.C. outfit the Offspring.

"My plane only holds six, so there's four of these guys on it in their big coats, and all of a sudden I had a moment, an epiphany, like 'Wow I'm a pretty vulnerable guy right now.' But they signed my stuff and said 'Please leave. Quickly. It is cold out here.' And I did no problem there!"

Secret solo flight

Holland, a blond-haired, broad-smiled California guy who only occasionally surfs, is a licensed pilot who six months ago mapped out an around-the-world flight, then secretly solo in his own six-seat Citation jet took off for parts most definitely unknown.

People often ask him why he did it, he says, heading into his latest physicial challenge: an Offspring headlining slot on the all-punk Warped Tour, which comes to San Francisco Saturday.

"It was a 'because it was there' kind of thing. I knew I could fly by myself, I really like it, so it was like, Me, man, plane, around the Earth."

A foolhardy move? Perhaps. But Holland says he knew exactly what he was doing. Until that final leg in Russia, that is.

And its following pitstop in Nome, Alaska, where he was horrified to discover that the airport runway wasn't just unusually clear; it was iced over.

"So when I tried to set the brakes, I did it five times as I was careening down the tarmac thinking 'I've made it all the way back into the U.S. and here I'm going to go flying off the end of some runway!'" he recalls.

But the Citation finally screeched to a halt, just in time.

Holland's route was nicely executed. He left California for New York, hopped up to Newfoundland, then over Greenland for refueling in Iceland, then Ireland. "Then I went down through Europe, landed in Egypt," he continues. "And I was trying to figure out a way to tiptoe through the Middle East, so I stopped in Dubai, which is very Westernized and pleasant. And from there I went all the way across to India, then to Bangkok."

For obvious reasons, he didn't want to advertise his connection to an American rock band that, in a little over a decade, has sold more than 32 million albums (whose singles and videos have just been condensed into two "Greatest Hits" anthologies; CD released last week, DVD out next Tuesday on Columbia).

Anarchy symbol on tail

His one concession: An anarchy symbol painted on the tail of his craft.

The sortie was completed in 11 days, flying at 41,000 feet in two 31/2-hour shifts per day. And yes, Holland admits, he was struck with a few Amelia Earhart-dark thoughts while cruising over vast expanses of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

He packed the same way he did for the Warped tour, dragging along countless bags of Doritos and beef jerky for sustenance. He kept in touch with his worried wife and daughter back home via a satellite phone and his Blackberry wireless, and even managed to compose a new song at such a lofty altitude.

"It's called "Fiery Death (Going Down in Flames)," he laughs.

"I actually began writing our new single 'Can't Repeat' up there, and I finished after I was back." It's featured on "Greatest Hits."

How did Holland's fascination with flight begin?

Fans of his power-drilling vocals on Offspring hits (such as "Hit That," "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" and "Come Out and Play (Keep'em Separated)" will be shocked to learn that, as a kid fresh out of high school, he came dangerously close to enlisting in the Air Force.

Says Holland, "I mean, I was 99 percent there. You have to be nominated by your congressman, have to be a fine upstanding young man and stuff. But the Air Force Academy said 'We love you, we want you to go, but you can't be a fighter pilot because you wear contact lenses. You have to have 20/20 vision, uncorrected.'"

The top gun was crushed.

"So I stayed in L.A. and started a band instead. That sounded like more fun. Luckily, I didn't get in and things all worked out for the best."

Although he likes to keep it hush-hush, Holland also uses his aircraft (the Citation and a Cessna-sized prop plane) for some charity work. He's a member of the all-volunteer organization Angel's Flight, which flies underprivileged cancer (and other gravely ill) patients to treatments in otherwise-hard-to-reach hospitals. "I've never even told'em that I'm in the Offspring. I don't think Angel's Flight even knows," he reveals.

"And sometimes I feel guilty almost, because flying is something I love to do. It's not like I'm cleaning toilets for somebody. I guess if I really wanted to volunteer, I'd adopt a highway or something."

Another wild scheme

Man. Machine. Open sky. Holland has gradually gotten hooked on the buzz. Recently, when the Offspring were playing Miami, he hatched another wild scheme: "I thought 'Just for the hell of it, why don't I fly into the Bermuda Triangle? Just to say I did it, just to tempt death?' So I found where the middle of it was on a map, flew out there, did a couple of circles, then flew back." Nothing happened. Knock balsa wood.

There's one ultimate high this Offspringer has yet to chart, he concludes. "An around-the-world flight. But over the poles. I'm looking into it right now, because it'd be no sweat to go straight down through South America, Antarctica. There are bases there and I'm sure you could land. But I haven't figured out how you get from there to Australia. It's really far, and I don't know if there are any islands. And no matter when you take off, one of the poles is going to be freezing cold ....

"Hmmm ... I'm going to have to do a lot more research!"

i guess this puts to rest our "Can't Repeat" being recorded during Splinter theory, now why DIDN'T Atom play drums on it?

07-01-2005, 11:21 AM
thanks for the post sneed. dexter has some big balls to fly straight into the bermuda triangle (ive seen enough history channel stories on the thing).

07-01-2005, 11:34 AM
that was cool...thanks

Orange County
07-01-2005, 01:22 PM
Cheers Sneedo, thanks for typing that up. :)

07-01-2005, 01:26 PM
no problem I love typing stuff for you

edit: pasting ;)

07-01-2005, 02:11 PM
Nice one, that was a good read :D

07-01-2005, 02:16 PM
i guess this puts to rest our "Can't Repeat" being recorded during Splinter theory, now why DIDN'T Atom play drums on it?

Yeah, that's odd... Maybe he was on vacation or something.

07-01-2005, 02:51 PM
Okay, Chris. I have to admit that sometimes you can be obnoxious, but thank you very much for transcribing that article. It was a fascinating read and I'm proud that Dexter is quite the humanitarian.

07-01-2005, 03:14 PM
you rule! ;) Thanx for pasting this interwiew

Venom Symbiote
07-01-2005, 05:10 PM
That's probably the greatest Offspring interview I've read in years.

SO much good stuff there.

And regarding the Atom thing? I think this is really something we need to ask Noodles. That's about the only way we're going to find out. We need to hear it from the man himself, or good ol' Mr. Wasserman. Let's make 300 threads on the topic. :D Heh.

But yeah, I loved his smartarse comment about the "Fiery Death" song, haha - that was pure radness if I ever came across such a thing.

And he's better fucking do that other opposite 'round-the-world trip. Stop off in Australia, you whore! :)