View Full Version : Dexter talks to AP about Nitro Records

07-04-2005, 03:57 PM
I got the new issue of Alternative Press and it features the following interview with Dexter:

Live Like There's No Tomorrow

When your punk-rock band all of a sudden finds itself with a multi-platinum smash hit (pun completely intended), why not use some of the bank you made to start a record label? With his label having a back catalog featuring punk-rock stalwarts as well as a formidable roster or youthful acts, Offspring frontman/NITRO RECORDS founder DEXTER HOLLAND put those dollars to good use.

Tell us a little about how Nitro started.
I started Nitro in 1994, which is right around the time things were starting to happen for the Offspring. I'd spent a lot of time around guys like Mr. Brett [Gurewitz, from Bad Relogion] with Epitaph and Fat Mike [from NOFX] with Fat Wreck Chords, and always liked the idea of having a label on the side. At the time, I knew my buddies in Guttermouth were going to be looking for a label to put out their new record, so they were an easy first release. I love being in a band, and that always comes first, but when we're not out on the road or working on a record, I'm here at Nitro. It sounds so cliché to use the word "passion," but it's true: This really is a passion of mine.

Your band took a very pulbic stance in Support of Napster a few years ago. Now that the dust has setteld a bit—wht's your take on how this download culture has affected the artists on Nitro?
This is a really tricky topic, because Napster and all its followers evolved so much that my feelings on it are not quite the same as they were five or six years ago. At the time, our record Americana was out, and according to Wired, we were the most downloaded artist on the internet. We were still selling a ton of records, so I think people were still using the internet as a sampling tool, rather than a way to get around paying for records. No one could control Napster when it started. Now that some speedbumps have been put in place and things like iTunes have come forward, there are a lot more opportunities to distribute music easily and fairly priced on the internet. I think as far as Nitro goes, we luck out by being in the indie world, where fans are still more album-oriented and won't just buy one song here and there from iTunes. They'll still go to the store, or to a show, and buy the record.

Was it intimidating to release records from some of your idols, such as T.S.O.L.?
Yeah![Laughs.] T.S.O.L. are my heroes. I taught myself how to play guitar by playing along to their early records. Looking at pictures of those guys just made me want to be in a band. It was intimidating, but also really exciting to have the label come full circle to the point where I could release the music I loved—because I mean, why have a label if you're not putting out the music you love? When T.S.O.L. started reassembling their old line-up, I asked them to join the label, and they were into it.

In the last couple of years, we've seen a shift in Nitro's roster toward more youthfl acts—was it a conscious move to get away from the veteran and ex-member bands?
I know what you mean, but I don't think it was on our minds as we started signing new bands. It goes this way when a band eveolves in style, too—these things frequently will just happen, and aren't usually by design. A couple years ago, as I was getting approached by the Damned, and Guttermouth were making theiir way to Epitaph, AFI were really my up-and-coming band. Once they moved on, we realized we needed to sign some new bands, and that's really all it was. I'm stoked with the way things turned out. THese young bands today are just so good with their guitars. You don't hear a lot of thrashy punk-rock bands anymore; the standard for musicianship really seems to have been taken up a notch.

Rumor has it that AFI were still under contract with Nitro whent hey upt out Sing The Sorrow on DreamWorks. How'd that all go down?
The story of AFI is actually such a wonderful story of what I think an indie label should do for a growing band. Indie labels can really provide a home for a band. A lot of bands need a few years to build up a following on an indie label, or else they run the risk of being a flash in the pan on a major label. AFI had five records out on Nitro, and finally, by the fourth or fifth record, things were really starting to happen for them on tour, particularly after The Art Of Drowning came out [in 2000]. At that point, you could see the writing on the wall, and they needed to move onward and upward, because who am I to keep a band from moving on when I had a band who had to make the same move? I actually approached them and told them that if they wanted to move on, they had my blessing. When my band left Epitaph, it was a really tense situation for a few years. I didn't want to go through any of that with one of my bands, because it was awful.

How happy does it make you to see so many indie records score high on the Billboard chrats these days
Oh, it's crazy. I remember when some of the powerhouse bands like Pennywise and NOFX, would just slip into the top 200, but now, what was Taking Back Sunday—number two? It's so awesome to see such overwhelming support of independent bands now, and I really think the internet played a huge part in giving kids more options for finding music they really like.

Indie labels are frequently known for their less-than-luxurious confines. When did Nitro first take the plunge and get an office?
It took about a year. Right after we put out that first Guttermouth record, I had stacks of LPs all around the house; it was a mess. Of course, our first office didn't have a bathroom; you had to go down the hall. Now, I am lucky enough to have a bathroom. I think that means I've really made it.

(Interview conducted by Kevin Wade)

In addition to this interview is a little sidebar:

5 ESSENTIAL Nitro Albums
As chosen by Dexter Holland

1. The Letters Organize Dead Rhythm Machine
2. AFI The Art Of Drwoning
3. The Vandals Hitler Bad, Vandals Good
4. T.S.O.L. Weathered Statues —"Not to sound nostalgic here, but this record has some of my absolute favorite punk-rock songs."

07-04-2005, 04:04 PM
that was cool, thanks

Venom Symbiote
07-04-2005, 04:09 PM
Nice read.

Dex always seems like such a cool, accomodating guy regarding interviewers. Awesome to see. :cool:

Assholes ain't cool, kiddies!

07-04-2005, 04:27 PM
Too Bad Taking Back Sunday Sucks!


07-04-2005, 04:35 PM
Dont hate on TBS. Wheres A Wilhelm Scream on Dexs list? A Letters Organize is amazing, at first i was like alright but when i bought that album... ohh man. Nitro is the best punk label right now. Crime IN Stereo, Enemy You(awesome), Letters Organized, and A Wilhelm Scream. Fuck Yes.

07-04-2005, 05:18 PM
very nice reading ;)

07-04-2005, 06:28 PM
Wow...that's pretty much my top 5 Nitro albums too--I'd replace the Rufio album with theSTART's _Initiation_, though.
Hey 1565!!
Do you have initiation?
There is bonus song on this record! but I can't find mp3 anywhere.
So if you have it then send it to me: headaroundu@yahoo.com
if not nevermind....
Thanx :)

Dead Cheerleader
07-04-2005, 06:42 PM
The Start kicks ass. Thanks for posting that. It's really cool that Dexter was interviewed with such a reputable source as the AP. He's such a pimp when it comes to that type of shit.

07-04-2005, 08:30 PM
Great article, but now my eyes hurt from reading the whole thing.

07-04-2005, 08:47 PM
I've never heard The Letters Organize... they are good?

One of my favourite albums is Jughead's Revenge - Pearly Gates... for it's pure punk rock goodness. And Initiation... obviously.

07-04-2005, 09:16 PM
I've never heard The Letters Organize... they are good?

One of my favourite albums is Jughead's Revenge - Pearly Gates... for it's pure punk rock goodness. And Initiation... obviously.
there is video: The Letters Organize

07-04-2005, 10:35 PM
That was an interesting read, though I was hoping Dexter would go into more details into the interview, eg. his and AFI's current relationship.

07-04-2005, 11:19 PM
Thanks for posting that, leo! :) It kind of hints at Offspring and AFI's current relationship. Sorta. I mean, he didn't seem too bitter talking about them. Plus, one of their records remains among his favorites.

Btw, I love LOOOOOVE your sig. Lewis Black is a hilarious man.

07-05-2005, 05:21 AM
thats messed rufio sucks!!

07-05-2005, 07:52 AM
Thanks for the article Leo. Did you get a scan of it? I am thinking of starting up a Nitro Records fan site to get some of the bands out there a little more.

07-05-2005, 05:57 PM
My scanner is being a little bitch so I need to buy a new one. So no scans right now. If anyone is interested in buying the issue, the Transplants are on the cover.

Venom Symbiote
07-05-2005, 06:05 PM
"Great article, but now my eyes hurt from reading the whole thing."

You illiterate turd.

But yeah, as for you guys and the AFI comment stuff: you're right. It's nothing he hasn't said before, really.