THE OFFSPRING Drummer Exits, FREESE Takes Over

THE OFFSPRING drummer Ron Welty has announced that he has quit the band.

In a statement on the band's web site, the drummer explained: "After more than 15 great years with THE OFFSPRING, I've decided to leave to devote all my energies to a new project called STEADY GROUND. I wish Dexter, Noodles and Greg the best of luck moving forward, and it's time for me to focus on my own thing."

Singer Dexter Holland commented on Ron's departure: "After being together so long it will be weird doing stuff without Ron, but we are really looking forward to putting this new record out. We wish him the best."

A PERFECT CIRCLE/VANDALS drummer Josh Freese has been enlisted to play on the group's as-yet untitled new album. The follow up to 2000's "Conspiracy of One" — due later this year — is being produced by Brendan O'Brien (KORN, PAPA ROACH).

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