Bad Religion, The Offspring and Pennywise are three bands who all rose to stardom during the 90s punk scene, gaining popularity roughly around the same time (even though the former existed for a decade longer and was, without a doubt, a major influence on the latter two). The idea of a co-headlining tour between the three of them as part as Epitaph Records’ annual Summer Nationals series of concerts almost feels like an all-star lineup of 90s punk, given the reach and overlap of all of their fanbases. To commemorate playing shows with their contemporaries, The Offspring paid tribute to their fellow tourmates by recording a three song EP consisting of nothing but cover songs originally done by the bands that they took the stage together with over these past weeks.
While they are mostly straightforward renditions, that is perhaps its greatest strength; after all, the whole concept of Summer Nationals
is the novelty of hearing The Offspring cover songs by Bad Religion and Pennywise. Even though they’re not reinventing the wheel, they’re blitzing through classic one-minute tracks from some of the punk genre’s greatest albums – “Do What You Want” off of 1988’s Suffer
and the title track off of 1989’s No Control
– rockin’ riffs and frenetic drumming intact, with the charismatic vocals of Greg Graffin substituted with those of the equally iconic Dexter Holland. While their take on “No Reason Why” from Pennywise’s eponymous debut does fall a bit short of expectations (mainly due the overpolished guitar tone in comparison to the original), the Summer Nationals
EP is definitely one to check out for fans of any, if not all, of the three bands currently touring together. If only The Offspring could bring this brand of energy to their original work…