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Thread: Atom Willard talks about leaving The Offspring

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    Default Atom Willard talks about leaving The Offspring

    From http://www.drummagazine.com/features/post/9308/P2/

    Adapt Or Be Adapted

    Willard’s time spent with The Offspring in 2002 exemplifies how a drummer wisely learns to play drums for the song and not necessarily to assert at all cost his favored flourishes into the mix. It can be a tricky thing to negotiate.

    “The Offspring was a thing where I had to develop both my chops and my adaptability,” he says. “It was the fastest stuff I’d ever played, and I had to learn to play faster while maintaining my volume level. It just made me stronger.”

    It also made him more flexible artistically – but let’s call it a hard-earned pragmatism. Until his first meeting with the band’s head honcho Dexter Holland, Willard had figured that The Offspring’s music contained a lot of room for individual interpretation, drum-wise.

    “I went into the audition and did my own thing, and really kind of went off,” he says a bit ruefully. “And the manager called me a couple days later and says, ’The guys want to play with you again, but I just wanted to let you know that Dexter writes all the drum parts on all the records, and he kind of likes to hear what’s there.’ I’m like, oh ... I always thought that the drummer had written all the drum parts, and this was my opportunity to say, ’Look at what you’ve been missing.’” He laughs. “Well, no.”

    Holland liked to say, “Stick to the script.” While Willard and Holland did discuss putting more of himself into Offspring drum parts, it wasn’t meant to be. Which, he’s quick to point out, is not as bad as it sounds.

    “I was eager to do the right thing, wanted to do right by them, and realized that these are huge songs that’ve sold millions of records. It wasn’t my job to come in and say, ’Let me do it this way.’”

    It was an epiphany for Willard. On tour with the Offspring, though, he had a hard time playing the same thing every night. “You know, you hear something and you just go for it. And 50 percent of the time I’d get ’The Look.’” He laughs. “’Oops, not gonna do that again!’

    “But right or wrong, it’s how Dexter runs his thing, and he runs a very successful band. If the Angels & Airwaves opportunity hadn’t come up, who knows, I might still be there with Offspring. I didn’t have a lot of creative input, but I wasn’t a bandmember, I was an employee, so when I had the opportunity to be part of a band and have 25 percent creative input, and 25 percent financial output, that was very attractive.”

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    That was a nifty read. I like that he talks about how these songs are ones that millions of people know and he realized that it wasn't his place to change it. But he still definitely snuck a bit of his own thing in. I saw them play with him, right before he left, and his playing definitely had a different feel to Ron's or Pete's.
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    That is interesting. Even after the fallout, he still praises his time with The Offspring for making him a better player. Though the real focus of this is why he left as well; the lack of input. I can see where he's coming from, but the band just came off of having the same drummer for 15 years - he wasn't going to be given full creative freedom immediately. Great player though, he just wasn't meant for The Offspring.
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    It's unfortunate it didn't work out he lives in Los Angeles and could have been a great full time replacement for Ron Welty

    Quote Originally Posted by _Lost_ View Post
    I saw them play with him, right before he left, and his playing definitely had a different feel to Ron's or Pete's.
    I agree with you about that I saw him play with them 7 times and I almost went to the last show he played with them October 29th 2005 but I could not get tickets
    Last edited by cool 2 hate 681; 04-15-2014 at 05:26 PM.

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    Cool, cool. It's interesting. I've always known Dexter could be a control freak, but it would be nice to have other input by the rest of the band members. Think of how many new songs or albums we would have if Pete, Greg, or Noodles all had 25% creative input in the albums?

    That being said, I met Atom last month in San Antonio while he was playing with a Against Me! I complimented him on his time with The Offspring and to be honest, even though I never saw them in concert with him.. seeing videos and footage of him really makes me miss him. I do prefer him over to Pete in some ways. As cool 2 to hate mentioned, he really could have been a full time replacement for Ron.
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    I liked Atom, a lot! really good on stage. But Pete's way better with the Offspring. You could tell that Atom was struggling with the speed. there are a lot of videos where songs look slowed down. Pete instead is really fast and fits perfectly.
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    Dude didn't really do his research, did he? Even at the time I think that lack of creative input was being cited as one of the reasons for Ron's departure.
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    Speaking of not doing your research I would like to point out he joined the band in 2003 not 2002

    Also in the article it says he had a hard time playing the same songs every night. I wonder if we can thank him for the awesome setlist on the 2005 tour? I remember that year they played Pay The Man, Mota, The Meaning of Life, Smash plus songs from the first two albums

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    Quote Originally Posted by cool 2 hate 681 View Post
    I remember that year they played Pay The Man, Mota, The Meaning of Life, Smash plus songs from the first two albums
    I've heard all of those songs several times (minus songs from the first album) at regular shows, and s/t songs at many a club show. I think the 2005 "vault songs" were pure common sense, they had thousands of kids out every night who knew the offspring's first 2 albums, who knew punk-o-rama songs etc. It's common sense. I bet you half of the warped tour crowd either knows or pretends to know the Offspring earlier works and probably cites the age old bullshit "they were better before they hit it big" and "I really liked them back in the day" stupid non sense. At regular non-warped shows the ratio of people that know their earlier work and want to hear it is in the single digits precentage wise. It makes no sense to bum out a couple of thousand people to do a few dozen a favor.

    With that said I think every band should play at least one obscure song at every show. I just think they should

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxygene View Post

    With that said I think every band should play at least one obscure song at every show. I just think they should
    totally true. i think it plays a good part the fact that they should rehearse or re-learn some songs of course. it wouldn't be so easy to make a good performance of a song they barely play. ignition was awesome but I bet they practiced really a lot to make that set. If for example tonight they would rehearse "come out swinging" I think it wouldn't be as good as staring at the sun.
    On the other side lately they are always putting into the setlist some deep cut.
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