The Offspring recruited drummer Josh Freese at the last minute to fill in for Pete Parada, who was let go from the band due to his vaccination status. The veteran punk-rock act played Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium on Sunday (August 8th) as part of the Alt 97 radio festival. In order to get to the gig in time, Freese jumped on a plane piloted by Offspring frontman Dexter Holland himself.
Last week, Parada revealed that The Offspring determined it would be best for him to step aside from the band because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet. The drummer explained that he has a longstanding medical condition that causes him to have an adverse reaction to vaccines. “I’m not so certain I’d survive another post-vaccination round of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which dates back to my childhood and has evolved to be progressively worse over my lifetime,” stated Parada. “Since I am unable to comply with what is increasingly becoming an industry mandate — it has recently been decided that I am unsafe to be around, in the studio, and on tour.”
Freese, a go-to session drummer for a number of high-profile bands over the past 20 years, has worked with The Offspring in the past. He played on the albums Splinter, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace, and Days Go By.
The accomplished drummer is also a longtime member of punk band The Vandals, who were playing the Punk in the Park Festival in Denver a day earlier. When he explained to Holland that he would love to do the gig, but wasn’t sure if he’d be able to get to Los Angeles the next day, The Offspring frontman (who is a licensed pilot) offered to fly him to his gig in Denver and then back to Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Freese posted an Instagram pic of himself and his son Hunter posing with Holland in front of the plane, and recalled their conversation: “‘Hey Josh, can you play on Sunday w/ The Offspring in LA?’ ‘Yeah sure Dexter but I’m playing Saturday in Denver w/ The Vandals. Might be cutting it close.’ ‘Well how about I fly you to your gig on Saturday and back the same night?’ ‘You’re on!'”
The drummer then shared a clip of The Offspring show, writing, “I call this one ‘beating the living shit out of the drums.’ Great show this afternoon with the @offspring.” The clip shows Freese doing exactly that.
According to their tour itinerary, The Offspring have an iHeartRadio livestream concert and Q&A set for this Thursday (August 12th), but have no other gigs until they kick off five weeks worth of steady radio festival dates on September 1st. They also will play the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento on October 9th and Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville, Florida, on November 13th.
As of now, it has not been announced whether Freese will join The Offspring for the upcoming shows. The Vandals’ only scheduled concert is a November 6th date at Punk in the Park in Orange County, California, so it’s very possible that Freese will be available to play with The Offspring.
It also should be mentioned that it remains unclear whether Pete Parada’s departure from The Offspring is permanent or just for their 2021 tour dates.
See Josh Freese’s aforementioned Instagram posts below.