Offspring Drummer Exits, Freese Takes Over

Longtime Offspring drummer Ron Welty has left the band after more than a decade-and-a-half of service. The Orange County, Calif.-based punk act will replace Welty with friend Josh Freese (Vandals, A P

Longtime Offspring drummer Ron Welty has left the band after more than a decade-and-a-half of service. The Orange County, Calif.-based punk act will replace Welty with friend Josh Freese (Vandals, A Perfect Circle) for studio work on its upcoming Columbia album, tentatively titled "Chinese Democrazy (You Snooze You Lose)," itself a parody of Guns N' Roses endlessly delayed "Chinese Democracy."

"After more than 15 great years with the Offspring I've decided to devote all my energies on a new project called Steady Ground," Welty said in a statement. "I wish Dexter, Noodles, and Greg the best of luck moving forward and it's time for me to focus on my own thing."

"After being together so long it will be weird doing stuff without Ron," adds frontman Brian "Dexter" Holland, "but we are really looking forward to putting this new record out. We wish him the best." There is no word yet on whether the in-demand Freese will join as a permanent member.

The Offspring have been at work on the follow up to 2000's "Conspiracy of One" since late last year. As previously reported, the forthcoming disc -- due later this year -- is being produced by Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen).