Come Out and Play (song)

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"Come Out and Play"
Single by The Offspring
from the album Smash
B-side "Session"
"Come Out and Play (acoustic)
Released March 10, 1994
Format Vinyl, Cassette and CD
Recorded 1994
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:17
Label Epitaph
Writer(s) Dexter Holland
Producer(s) Thom Wilson
The Offspring singles chronology
"I'll Be Waiting"
"Come Out and Play"
"Self Esteem"

"Come Out and Play" is a song by the Californian punk rock group The Offspring. It is the seventh track on their third album Smash (1994) and was released as the first single from that album. Written by frontman Dexter Holland, the song was the second single to be released by the band, after "I'll Be Waiting" (1986). It is considered to be The Offspring's breakthrough song, as it received widespread radio play,[1][2] and reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, bringing both the band and the punk rock genre to widespread attention. Inspiration for the "keep 'em separated" lyric came from Dexter Holland's experience in a laboratory cooling Erlenmeyer flasks full of hot liquids.[3]

Music video[edit]

"Come Out and Play" was the first Offspring song for which a music video was created. The music video, directed by Darren Lavett, was shot in May 1994[4] and debuted on MTV in the summer of that year. The video is almost entirely in black-and-white with sepia tone segments, and features the band performing the song in the garage of a house with tinfoil covering the walls. There is also footage involving dogs fighting over a chew toy with a crowd watching, as well as a horse race, sword fight and some clips of several snakes and snake charmers, as well as some fencing scenes.

Comparison to "Bloodstains"[edit]

In 1994, Posh Boy Records owner Robbie Fields submitted a written claim to Epitaph Records via the Harry Fox Agency, alleging that the two-bar Arabian guitar phrase repeated throughout "Come Out and Play" copied the guitar solo from "Bloodstains", a song by the Fullerton, California punk rock band Agent Orange written in 1979 to which Fields, as the song's publisher, owned the copyright.[5][6] Offspring lead vocalist and primary songwriter Dexter Holland had cited "Bloodstains" as one of the songs that sparked his interest in punk rock, saying it "really influenced me, especially that Arabian-sounding lead. I've written a lot of stuff like that", and The Offspring's public admiration had brought Agent Orange increased attention.[5][7] Fields contended that the similarity between the two guitar parts amounted to The Offspring sampling Agent Orange, and requested that Epitaph pay a licensing fee of US$0.01 for each copy of Smash sold—equating to $60,000 or more at the time—which he would split evenly with Agent Orange frontman and "Bloodstains" writer Mike Palm.[5] A lawsuit was not filed, as Fields said "Nobody wants to pillory anybody. But I feel I have a fiduciary duty to represent Mike Palm's interests."[5] Palm declined to give an opinion on the matter, later noting that he was not involved in filing the claim but did not disagree with it, and invited listeners to compare the two songs, saying "Anyone who listens will know what the issue is."[5][6]

The Offspring's manager Jim Guerinot called Fields' claim baseless, saying the two guitar parts were "not even close to identical. They're both in the same scale, [and] there's no doubt there's an influence, [but] it doesn't mean that it's stolen. If he feels he has something, he'll sue, and if we've done something that is proven wrong [by technical analysis of the two songs] we should be sued. But we don't feel there's any merit to it."[5] Randall Wixen, the Offspring's music publisher, stated that a musicologist hired by Epitaph determined the two guitar parts were not identical, despite being based in the same Middle Eastern scale.[8] "We've told [Fields] a hundred times he's not getting paid. He's not getting a cent", Wixen said in 1996, stating that Fields and Palm would have to sue if they wished to pursue the claim.[8] Although no lawsuit was ever filed, Palm maintained that he still deserved credit for the guitar riff: "I could show you interviews in which Dexter Holland outright admits that he took that riff from my song and used it in his song," he asserted in 2000, "In the rap world, when something like that is taken as a sample, they pay for it the same way I pay for guitar strings and picks."[6] The claim became national news when The Offspring discussed it on MTV, leading to a backlash against Palm: "Some punk kid's perception of that is to think that I'm the bad guy," he said, "but they don't understand that the Offspring are millionaires and I'm just trying to retain whatever little tiny thing is mine."[6]

Some fellow Californian punk rock musicians criticized the allegation. Frank Agnew, guitarist of fellow Fullerton band the Adolescents, remarked "I don't see how you can call that plagiarism; all it is an Arabic scale. It just reeks to me [as if] people are after a piece of the pie. If the Offspring did a guitar solo that was reminiscent of one of my guitar solos, I'd be honored, not [antagonized]. I think it's real petty."[5] The Vandals, who were signed to Holland's label Nitro Records, released the song "Aging Orange" on their 1996 album The Quickening, with lyrics by bassist Joe Escalante mocking Palm's claim to ownership of a style rooted in ancient Middle Eastern music:[6][8]

Back in ancient Egypt many pharaohs went to jail
For misappropriation of my Phrygian scale
I said "Listen, Tutankhamun, you're driving me insane
It's obvious those bellies are all dancing to 'Bloodstains'
I figured out you owe me, and please try not to laugh
But every time I hear it, I get one more golden calf"

Palm called the song "nothing but Joe's desperate attempt to brown-nose The Offspring", characterizing it as "lame and out of line. You think there was some ass-licking going on there?", sentiments echoed by Fields.[6][8] Palm noted "Aging Orange" incorrectly implied he had sued The Offspring.[8] Escalante, also an entertainment lawyer, said that Fields' and Palm's attempt to get money from Epitaph and The Offspring represented "the kind of crap I hate" in both the legal system and entertainment business, and that The Vandals—with their long tradition of satirizing things they perceived foolish within the punk scene—would have ridiculed the situation regardless of the parties involved.[8] The Offspring later covered "Bloodstains" for the soundtrack of the 2000 film Ready to Rumble.[6] "It's great that they recorded 'Bloodstains'", said Palm, "but it doesn't help me personally. Sometimes I feel like an old black bluesman who got ripped off."[6]

Alternative versions[edit]

Alternate appearances[edit]

As well as appearing on Smash, the song also appears as the second track on their 2005 Greatest Hits album. The music video also appears on the Complete Music Video Collection DVD which was also released in 2005.

Track listings[edit]

Cassette, CD single, 7" black vinyl and 10" picture disc[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Come Out and Play" (Keep 'Em Separated) 3:17
2. "Session" 2:33
3. "Come Out and Play" (Acoustic Reprise) 1:31

Chart performances[edit]

Preceded by
"Fall Down" by Toad the Wet Sprocket
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
July 30, 1994 – August 6, 1994
Succeeded by
"Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)" by Counting Crows

References in Popular Culture[edit]

  • The 15th episode of season 2 of Fresh Off the Boat is named "Keep 'Em Separated" after a line from this song, and the song is referenced during the episode.
  • Professional Wrestler Raven used this song as his entrance theme during his time in ECW.


  1. ^ "The Offspring "Smash"". Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  2. ^ "The Offspring - Smash (1994)". 2002-03-12. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Spoken commentary on the "Self Esteem" video from Complete Music Video Collection, released 2005
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Boehm, Mike (1995-04-04). "Offspring Lifted Key Guitar Riff, Publisher Says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Kane, Rich (2000-08-31). "It's All a Blur". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  7. ^ Prato, Greg. "Review: Living in Darkness". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Boehm, Mike (1996-11-29). "Vandals Lyric Takes a Shot at Agent Orange's Riff Wrath". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  9. ^ Rabin, Nathan (June 29, 2011). "Set List "Weird Al" Yankovic". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  10. ^ Khanna, Vish. "'Weird Al' Yankovic Alpocalypse Now… and Then". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  11. ^ " – Offspring – Come Out and Play". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  12. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 60, No. 12, October 10, 1994". RPM. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  13. ^ " – Offspring – Come Out and Play" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. ^ " – Offspring – Come Out and Play" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ " – Offspring – Come Out and Play". Singles Top 100.
  16. ^ "Offspring: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "The Offspring – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for The Offspring.
  18. ^ "The Offspring – Chart history" Billboard Radio Songs for The Offspring.
  19. ^ "The Offspring – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for The Offspring.
  20. ^ "The Offspring – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for The Offspring.
  21. ^ 1995 French Singles Chart Archived March 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved January 30, 2009)

External links[edit]