THE BEGINNING

In our regular feature ‘Second Life’ Reef Younis investigates what rock stars do as well as making music. The pretty fly Dexter Holland is a molecular biologist, flying instructor and creator of hot sauce.

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Bryan Keith “Dexter” Holland is known to most as the peroxide blonde, toilet brush-haired singer of The Offspring. But in and around touring and releasing records, he not only graduated with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in molecular biology, he also designed software for BlackBerry and proved that he was pretty fly (for a white guy) by earning his pilot license, becoming a fully certified flight instructor, and buying a few of his own planes in the process.

With ‘Smash’ shifting over 15 million units to become one of the highest selling independent albums of all time, and their mainstream breakthrough album ‘Americana’ also powering to platinum status, he could afford it, but that wasn’t the end of his non-music endeavours.

After churning out seven albums with the band, releasing a handful of 90s college common room-conquering singles, and enjoying a comedy spat with Axl Rose after Holland threatened to steal the much delayed Guns N’ Roses album title, ‘Chinese Democracy’ for The Offspring’s forthcoming LP (“Axl ripped off my braids, so I ripped off his album title” – they called it ‘Splinter’ instead), his next move was about as obvious as the rest of them – Holland created and launched his own boutique hot sauce brand in 2006.

“Making a good hot sauce turned out to be far harder than I thought,” he told the LA Times in 2009. “People take it so seriously and trying to figure out how people make a quality hot sauce is tough. It’s guarded, somewhat.”

After two years of crafting the recipe through trial and error, some scientific nous, and simply by leaving bottles in Huntingdon beach bars, Gringo Bandito was born and slowly introduced to the world. Co-ordinated from a space next door to his California studio, by 2009, 300 gallons of the stuff was being bottled per month, appearing coast-to-coast in the US, emerging in Australia, Japan, Canada, and Europe, and, latterly, keeping 40 or so Amazon customers pretty happy.

With a personal guarantee of experiencing “a party in your mouth” that Holland “tried to make easy on the pooper”, the testimonials soon rolled in. From competitive eaters (“Gringo Bandito goes in my eat hole, then I smile”) and NOFX’s El Hefe’s seal of approval (“Damn, that’s a cold ass honky”) to being Playboy magazine’s hot sauce of choice, Gringo Bandito is the proof that Dexter Holland can still ‘Burn It Up’ almost 25 years later. Even if it is in the bathroom.

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