Today on Journey of a Frontman, I am so honored to interview Pete Parada, the drummer for one of my all-time favorite bands, The Offspring. He’s also played with many other bands including Face to Face, Devo, Halford, and more!
What was the first Offspring song that you listened to that caused you to say “Man, I really like this band!”?
The first song I heard from The Offspring was “Come Out And Play” and it kind of blew me away. It was so different from everything else getting played on the radio at the time. The energy was so refreshing amid all the gloomy grunge that was happening in music. I loved it.
How did you receive the opportunity to play drums on the Rob Halford/Bruce Dickinson song “The One You Love To Hate”?
I worked with Rob Halford in 1999 when I had a break from touring with FaceTo Face. My friend Pat Lachman was playing guitar for Rob and asked if I wanted to come down and make some metal. I was a huge Judas Priest fan so it was very cool to be asked to help write some music with him. He was so mellow and down to earth. He was skeptical of my tiny drum set at first because he was so used to giant heavy metal kits, but once we played a song he was convinced. (“Is that your whole drum set?” ~one song later~ “Never mind”.) So we wrote for about six weeks. At the same time, Face To Face was writing for our next record, so i rehearsed with Rob early in the day and went straight to Face To Face rehearsals after that. when it was time to record, Face To Face was hitting the studio at the exact same time, so it didn’t work out for me to do Robs whole record. But we kept in touch and he called a few months later and said he really wanted to have me on a song. There was a duet he had written with Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and would I be interested in doing the drums on it? Of course I was interested! Still one of the coolest people I have ever met. He always wanted to make sure that the process was fun, and he had a never ending supply of Judas Priest stories to tell, which for me was fantastic.
Since you played drums on this track, what is your opinion of The Offspring song, “Turning Into You”?
That is one of my favorite songs on the new record. I love the shift from the loop, to the uptempo verses to the big, powerful half time chorus. I had no idea what the song was about when we tracked the drums, so when I heard the lyrics later it really had an impact on me. I think everyone can relate to that feeling of being pulled in a direction that you don’t want to go, and figuring out how to get out of that pattern. One of my favorites to play live, too.
If you had a say in it, which band(s) would you want to tour with/open for The Offspring in the future?
Hands down it would be The Gaslight Anthem. I love that band and their energy. I also love Rise Against and we are always talking about trying to find a way to tour together. That would be pretty awesome if we could all make it happen.
Since you toured with them last year, what is your opinion of the up and coming rock band, Dead Sara?
They are easily the best new band out there right now. We loved getting to watch them every night and I really miss them. I’m so happy that they are getting so much recognition now. To see them leave every ounce of themselves on stage night after night was very inspiring. They have an edge to their performances that you can’t teach someone. You either have it or you don’t. And Emily’s voice is just so unique. We made a new arrangement of our song “Gone Away” for her to sing with us and it gave me goosebumps every time on stage with her. They are going to be huge.
Seeing as you were a big fan growing up, what are some of your favorite Motley Crue songs?
Oh, man! I loved Mötley Crüe! Still do. I would say “Wildside” is probably the coolest song they ever did. That song is pretty epic, especially when it gets all swingy and groovy and then somehow changes back into the propelling beat of the rest of the song. Plus the video showed Tommy’s upside down drum solo, so bonus points for that since I was too young to see that tour. When I lived in L.A. I actually got to spend some time at Tommy’s house. His tech was a friend of mine and so I would go there to see him, and Tommy was the coolest guy. We got to just sit and talk and he would tell stories and it was a pretty great experience for me. I wanted to go back in time and tell my 14 year old self that someday that was going to happen! One day I helped him clean out his garage and he gave me a snare drum. We used it a lot on some Face To Face records. Still one of my prized possessions.
If there were to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary in 2019, which bands would you like to see on the bill?
Can I pick anyone?! Even bands that have broken up? Well, I would say King’s X because they were the best band at the 90’s Woodstock and one of my favorite bands of all time. Then obviously I would want The Offspring to play. Since I get to pick anyone, let’s say Muse, Nine Inch Nails, Dead Sara, The Gaslight Anthem, Rush, Iron Maiden, Rise Against, Foo Fighters, Ani Difranco, Against Me!, Jawbreaker, My Chemical Romance, Thrice, Faith No More, Judas Priest, Death Cab For Cutie, Tool, Slayer, Fiona Apple, The Descendents, Garbage, Bruce Springsteen, Lisa Germano, NOFX, Soundgarden and KISS just to name a few.
Tell me the story about you getting this sweet shirt.
That is actually one of my stage outfits from when I played with Devo! It is a shirt full of barbecued hot dogs. I had four or five different outfits that I wore at each show with them. That one was from the encore when we would play “Freedom Of Choice”. It was definitely intense to change that many suits so quickly during the show, but I had so much fun with those guys. I love Devo.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
In addition to playing drums, I really enjoy teaching. I’ve built a studio in my house and wired it with cameras and microphones in order to teach drums online to anyone, anywhere in the world. I am putting the finishing touches on it when we are off tour and hope to launch it later this year. Keep an eye out for it at drumbunker.com
Where do you think that the main character from the Offspring song, “Self Esteem” is today and whatever happened between him and that girl?
Man, I really hope he’s grown and gotten a better sense of himself! We all go through those phases of not knowing who we are and getting taken advantage of, but he must have grown out of it by now……right?!?!
All photos by Tijs van Leur