For almost 25 years, as the frontman of The Offspring, Dexter Holland has been one of the most successful punk rock musicians out there. The Offspring is currently playing amphitheaters alongside 311 as part of the Never-Ending Summer Tour. But that is not all that Holland has going on at this very moment…
Dexter, who has a Ph.D. degree in molecular biology from the University of Southern California, also has a popular hot sauce brand named Gringo Bandito. Gringo Bandito was launched in 2006 and is now headquartered in Huntington Beach, California. In 2015, Gringo Bandito notoriously hosted a Gringo Bandito Taco-eating challenge at Weeman’s Chronic Tacos in Redondo Beach with professional eater Kobayashi. Its hot sauces can be found in over 6,000 U.S. supermarkets.
Our journalist Meghan is making us hungry with these dope hot sauce shots…
Gringo Bandito grew from a passion project into a real company. When did you start it in relation to moving on from Nitro Records?
Dexter Holland: You called it a “passion project” and although I might not use those words, that’s exactly what it was. I was just doing it for fun and watching it grow into something that became much more well-known than I expected. It really had nothing to do with Nitro Records, or moving on from that, or whatever. I loved doing Nitro Records for many years and I’m proud of the legacy that has been left from that label. As that naturally came to an end, the hot sauce continued to grow in a very organic way.
Who started Gringo Bandito with you? Or at least, who did you work with initially to make your idea into a finished product?
Holland: Well first — I should say — I don’t know how to cook. That definitely slowed down my coming up with a hot sauce! Since I didn’t know what I was doing, I developed the recipe over a couple years, just trying out different things whenever I felt like it. There was no “timeline” or “product development” or any of that kind of business-y stuff. This was pure DIY and just me having fun doing it.
Dexter in a hot sauce frenzy… photo credit Chapman Baehler.
Being in a multi-platinum world-touring rock band, what sort of involvement do you have in the daily operations of the brand? Are you on sales calls? Do you go to trade shows?
Holland: I’m very involved with the day to day operations. It’s been fun to get the products in over 6,000 supermarkets in the U.S. and promote the brand. I pick and choose the sales calls that I go on. For example, I went to the Safeway Seattle meeting last year and the buyer approved all 3 items which was great! We attend the Natural Products Expo West trade show every year in Anaheim, so I try to make it to the show and support the brand.
I personally like the name of the company, but did anyone ever ask you to change it? Or show reluctance to carry your products because of the name?
Holland: People love the name!
Finally, Dexter, any last words for the kids?
Holland: Stay spicy, my friend.
A look at a taco-eating contest presented by Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce.