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INTERVIEW: FAT MIKE OF NOFX

NOFX_Katie_Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

NOFX have been indulging belligerent teens and grown-ups for over 30 years. At least 60% of that time, lead singer/bassist Fat Mike and the crew have made it their mission to refuse interviews. Times have shifted in recent years, but this hung in my head as I prepared to chat with a band I’ve followed for nearly 20 years. I had a feeling it could be tricky, but it had to be done. 14-year-old Scott demanded so.

Boston begins your tour the day after Thanksgiving. Are you eager to begin?
Well yeah, if there’s a show we’re going to be partying hard, but I should have had 3 or 4 days sober so I think I’m in good shape. We will be in Boston for Thanksgiving. We’re going to be eating oysters.

Is it possible to pickle a liver?
Probably. I don’t worry about me too much because I only party when I’m on tour. When I’m at home I’m pretty straight and narrow.

Your lyrics have caused controversy, not like you’re shock rockers—it’s a clever adaptation the way you pull in social commentary.
Well thank you sir.  I definitely don’t write anything for any audience. I’m just trying to write lyrics that I think are good. I don’t think about it, I’ll come up with song titles and I’ll have them for a year or two in my phone. Then when I start writing songs, I’m like, “Oh, I can work off of this!” Lyrics come last. First song title, then melody, then lyrics.

Are you encouraging people to think differently?
Of course! That’s what punk rock drives to do, whether it’s an offensive song, or for about solving everyday problems. I try to think about something that will make someone think about something differently. Anything. Writing the standard love song doesn’t happen for me. Period. Never done it, no interest in it … but then I think “We Got Two Jealous Agains” is a good love song and it turned out to be a good divorce song, too.

You’ve been greatly respected throughout your career. Would you try to use your powers politically again, like Punk Voter?
Nope I did that. I did my 2 years of Public Service and the world is a much better place for it … that’s sarcasm.

That was a heartbreaker I’m from Ohio and I thought …
Oh! Your people! It was fixed from the beginning.

Self Entitled and Stoke Extinguisher seem to be very reflective.
Yeah, writing “I Believe in Goddess” was for my girlfriend because she’s awesome, and some songs like “She Didn’t Lose Her Baby” were written about our friend. “I, Fatty” was actually from a book about Fatty Arbuckle. “My Sycophant Others” was a song about other people I know from record labels and how their employees treat them, but my crew, the NOFX crew, thought I was singing about them, but it really wasn’t. They aren’t “yes men.” They give me shit all the time. “Down with the Ship” was when a time, a few years ago Fat Wreck Chords was struggling. It was going to be a sad song for Cokie the clown, an acoustic song. Things have turned around, and now we’re doing great.

Yeah! Teenage Bottlerocket, Cobra skullsGet Dead are fucking great!
They’re pretty cool, right? It’s not what you expect! They’re great. You gotta listen to the Tony album, it’s the best record we’ve ever put out … Did you say “that’s it?”

I’ve got a couple more here.
Oh, shit. Fuck me … I just saw band called Bad Cop/Bad Cop—an all girl band from LA. I met them at a place called Lilith Bear. It was a party the bunch of dudes with beards in drag. It was crazy. I fucking love them so I thought that I might buy them. It sounds like Bad Religion, but it’s an all girl band. They had a three part harmony, really nice.

51br56I2fcL._SS500_You recently did worked on an adult film soundtrack for Rubber Bordello. Your girlfriend is a star of that film. Any tips for bringing S&M into a relationship?
Buy your lady a corset and maybe then get some thigh-high boots. You have to ask her about it and you have to be honest. Say, “This really kinda turns me on,  will you try something new with me?” Maybe then you can get tied to the bed and see how that goes. I would definitely start with a little bed bondage. That’s really the way to go. That’s the place to start.

Your peers have done novels and clothing lines, maybe NOFX does a sex toy line?
No sex toy line, I wouldn’t want a Fat Mike sex toy line. But we’re working on a book that should be out the next Christmas. All about NOFX. It’s the fucking filthiest, bloodiest, craziest book I reckon rock and roll has ever had.

And Backstage Passport 2 is coming out, favorite adventure?
Finally making it into Colombia was pretty awesome. It ended up being a free show. The government put it on and there were about 35,000 people there. It was awesome! A metal band opened for us. The whole crowd was chanting NOFX through their whole set. So they quit early. AND there was some great coke since it’s made there.

Wow, that’s huge! So do you prefer small venues for large shows?
It’s whatever. What makes a good show for me is if I can find something about the crowd or a situation that’s super funny so I can talk about it. Coming up with original stupid s*** on stage. That’s always a good show to me. Well … we just wouldn’t play small venues. Similar bands don’t choose to play small venues, that’s the only kind of clubs they can play now. I’m sure it’s fun, but we’re not going to play clubs to make a quarter of the money that we could in a larger space. What it comes down to is that I only want to play a few shows a year. My liver will fail. So what we do to is play 3 weeks long maximum. Playing in a band is super fun, but the more you do it the less fun it becomes.

Do you have a scotch that you recommend for everyday as well as for celebrations?
Or what about Krokadil?
I like Jameson all the time, but I’ll drink Macallan. 12 year Macallan. Krokadil is my favorite … No, I don’t think I’ll do that one. I don’t do any intravenous drugs, so I’ll probably stay away from that one.

That’s wise. What lasting legacy do you want for NOFX?
What we are, what we stand for. It’s nice that we’ve had a 30 year career and that people still come to see us.

NOFX

FRIDAY 11.29.13
HOUSE OF BLUES
15 LANSDOWNE ST.
BOSTON
7:25PM/ALL AGES/$25 GA
HOUSEOFBLUES.COM


About SCOTT MURRY

Art director and provider of Swedish Fish for Dig Publishing. He's an enthusiast for punk rock, scotch and running. Combine all three and we'll be onto something.
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One Response to INTERVIEW: FAT MIKE OF NOFX

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