What's there to say about NOFX that hasn't already been said? They've been at the pinnacle of punk for an eternity now without any signs of letting up. Their sound has been imitated by more bands than your than your average high school graduate can count. The clown princes of punk have put out more albums than will fit on that K-Mart brand MP3 player your mom bought you for Christmas. Let's face it, it's all been said before. But, even though they've been around the globe 10,000 times, they've still maintained a healthy sense of humor. The fact of the matter is NOFX live performances often times resemble more of a stand-up comedy act than a punk show (that's not to say when they do play they don't rip). So it was no surprise when I approached ringleader Fat Mike for an interview at a recent Warped Tour his response was "Can I catch up with you later? I'm about to shave a mullet onstage in like 5 minutes". And catch up with him later I did, as he got his feet massaged backstage by a professional masseuse. The following is the conversation that transpired........
Big D - Let's talk about Wolves in Wolve's Clothing, the song 60% is about how you guys only give 60% of "your all" playing live shows and into the band in general, is this true?
Fat Mike - Not into the band in general but we put 60%..... actually we don't really give that much. I don't know, I kinda play on stage to have a good time. And if you try really hard to impress the kids, it's not that fun.
Big D - You can't tell me you only gave 60% on The Decline.
Fat Mike - No, that took me like 6 months.
Big D - So would you say 80%?
Fat Mike - No, I gave that 100%. The new album....Well I try, I don't know.
Big D - What made you guys set out to make The Decline?
Fat Mike - We were so bored with playing our songs and it was a challenge. We never really had a song that was a challenge before. We're not gonna play it that much, but we are going to try to play it in every city at least once.
Big D - I heard you played it (The Decline) live throughout the last tour.
Fat Mike - Yeah, I was pretty loaded too. I know I was way too drunk to be playing that song. (To Debbie the masseuse) It's an 18 minute long song.
Debbie the Masseuse - Oh, wow.
Big D - What the hell's up with the track Instant Crassic? I don't get it. It just cuts off at 34 seconds?
Fat Mike - Not alot of bands fade out a song at 34 seconds. I felt it was getting boring, we like short songs.(to Debbie the masseuse) Hey, I have a sprained ankle over there.
Debbie the Masseuse - Is it alright?
Fat Mike - Yeah.
Debbie the Masseuse - How did it happen?
Fat Mike - Eric Melvin shoved me on stage. I was wearing a bra and he shoved me on stage because Jason was fixing my cord. And he pushed me right over this guy, you know when someone's down on their hands and knees behind you? That old trick? He did that to me, sprained my ankle in a bra, it was not nice at all.
Big D - Is it just me or is The Man I Killed inspired by Johnny Cash's prison tunes, and if not what's the story behind it?
Fat Mike - I can't tell you what the story behind it is, because it's illegal. You hear what i'm saying?
Big D - Hmm, Nevermind. How did you come up with Marxist Brothers? From what I gather it's about conspiracy theorists that shop at underground swap meets. More illegal activities?
Fat Mike - Nah, it's about bourgousie revolutionaries that uh, like to read Karl Marx and drink in coffee shops. They like to talk about revolution but they've already got money, so... me being one of these people. * begins raining* You know I used to love the rain, until I started golfing. For the next few days you can't golf.
Big D - Are you an avid golfer?
Fat Mike - I used to be, I used to go out 3 or 4 times a day. Now it's once a month maybe.
Big D - Oh yeah? What's your best score?
Fat Mike - My best score is a 76.
Big D - I can't golf for shit. Last time I "went golfing" I broke a window out of a trailer home.
*Joan Jett walks by*
Fat Mike - (to Debbie the masseuse) Hey, has Joan Jett got a pedicure yet? (to Joan Jett) Hey Joan, let me buy you a pedicure.
Joan Jett - What?
Fat Mike - Let me buy you a pedicure.
Joan Jett - I've never had one.
Fat Mike - Let me buy you one after me.
Joan Jett - Yeah, I'll do it.
Fat Mike - Alright, your up next in a few minutes. It's a good time. I've only had one before in my life.
Joan Jett - So what, do I get my nails painted. I don't even know what a pedicure is.
Fat Mike - Don't look at my feet juice, my jew juice.
Joan Jett - Why? Are you dirty?
Fat Mike - I am a dirty jew *chuckles all around*
Debbie the masseuse: Actually your not. With your shoes and your socks on, your feet weren't bad at all.
Fat Mike - I should take more showers though. I have only had one shower this tour. I spent some time in a pool though.
Joan Jett - I want my nails black.
Fat Mike - So get'em black. *rain gets even harder* Now it's coming down! It's cooling down that's pretty awesome. (Back to your humble narrator) So what else were we talking about?
Big D - Me?
Fat Mike - Yeah.
Big D - NOFXs' lyrics often take a very anti-religious stance, are you religious at all?
Fat Mike - No.
Joan Jett - Your doing an interview?
Fat Mike - Yeah.
Joan Jett - I'm so sorry
Big D - Are you kidding me? You're Joan Jett. You can interrupt my interview anytime. I'm stoked just to be in your presence.
*picture taking ensues, narrator forgets about Fat Mike and chats with Ms. Jett, Mike chats with masseuse about knots in foot*
Big D - Sorry man, that's Joan fucking Jett man. I was jammin' out to her when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
Fat Mike - We're like this now.*does the finger deal*
Big D - Hell yeah, that's cool. Back to the lecture at hand, You put alot of time & effort into thwarting the relection of W, what do you think his biggest blunder (aside from attempting a to create theocracy of intolerance) is to date?
Fat Mike - Certainly the war in Iraq has got to be the worst. But that's obvious.
Big D - And what was your reaction at his reelection?
Fat Mike - I was bummed out for about 2 days. Life's too short to be upset. The day after the election I had a pretty bad ecstasy hangover. No kidding.
Big D - Aside from Mr. T who do you think would make a good president?
Fat Mike - I think Joe Biden would make a good president. Senator Joe Biden (of Delaware) . He has god ideas.
Big D - Why do you think our generation refuses to represent itself at the polls?
Fat Mike - Our voter turnout was higher this election than any other election in history. Our numbers were higher than any other group, percentage wise than the previous election. The press didn't cover that, but those are true numbers. Percentage-wise we came out more than anybody else. So I think we did our job. That's why we celebrated on election night,even though we lost. We did our job.
Big D - Do you plan to do your "job" next time?
Fat Mike - Not as good. Not as well, no. I don't want to work that hard anymore.
Big D - Even if Jeb runs for office?
Fat Mike - He'll never run. He doesn't have a shot. With George Bush's approval rating. He doesn't have a chance.
Big D - On Heavy Petting Zoo, The song August 8th, is it just me or is it celebratory of Jerry Garcia's death?
Fat Mike - Yeah it's a celebration of Jerry Garcia dying. The funny thing is I got the date wrong. He actually died on August 9th. We had a show that night in San Francisco and we bought drinks for everyone in the club, you know so we could all cheers to Jerry Garcia's death.
Big D - At what point did you realize "Holy shit, I can make a living playing punk?"
Fat Mike - 1991 I made $8000 that year. My wife was making $20,000 at her public relations firm. So I was like, "together, we can do this"
Big D - What's been the craziest thing you've seen while playing a show?
Fat Mike - Probably the craziest was in Columbia, Missouri, a really small town. There were some girls who came on stage and asked us for Liza & Louise. They all got naked and were licking each other, licking each other's "hoo-hoos"
Debbie the Masseuse - On stage?
Fat Mike - On stage. And the one in the back was getting spanked by the other one and the kid's in the front row were just...... it just blew everyone's mind. We actually played the song 2 times in a row because we didn't want them to stop.
Big D - What's your favorite country to play?
Fat Mike - Iceland's the best.
Big D - I heard you guys live in different cities these days. What's the writing process like now?
Fat Mike - I write all the stuff and tell everyone what to do. It works out pretty well for us.
Big D - I've got a bone to pick w/ you guys. The 7 inch of the month club, I refuse to buy a record player! Where did this idea come from?
Fat Mike - Because people who don't own record players bother me. So I wanted to bum them out because people should own record players.
Big D - Do you ever plan on releasing that material via the internet or CD?
Fat Mike - No plans
Big D - Pffft. Whatever. Speaking of the internet, what's your view on illegal downloading?
Fat Mike - You can't do anything about it so why bitch about it? I used to tape my friend's records on cassete tape so.......
Big D - You got any gold records on the walls back home?
Fat Mike - Punk in Drublic went gold. So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes went gold in Canada.
Big D - Have you ever been arrested on tour?
Fat Mike - Yes. 1986 I was arrested for possession of a deadly weapon. Went to jail in New York.
Big D - A deadly weapon?
Fat Mike - A billy club.
Big D - Which was actually a dildo?
Fat Mike - *all 3 of us laugh* No. Jail.... very boring, very boring place to be.
Big D - Don't I know it.
Debbie the Masseuse - Do feel that?
Fat Mike - Yeah
Debbie the Masseuse - It's a knot.
Fat Mike - Ohhh, hurt me.
Big D - Your the patriarch of Fat Wreckchords, who are some of the lesser known bands on Fat Wreck that we should watch out for?
Fat Mike - I think the most underrated band is Frenzal Rhomb from Australia. Their last album was so good and noone bought it. Dead To Me are good to, but the record's not out yet so..... (to Debbie) That feel's neat. Is that on a pressure point?
Debbie the Masseuse - I study reflexology.
Big D - I envy you. You've mention your record collection in a couple of songs now, what record do you most treasure and why?
Fat Mike - The first Misfits 7 inch. I used to see them play.
Big D - Not me bro. There's the New "Misfits" but we all know it ain't the Misfits
Big D - So you're married right?
Fat Mike - 14 years.
Big D - Has she domesticated you yet, or do you still reserve showering for Wednesdyas and Saturdays?
Fat Mike - I take one to two showers a week
Big D - If I know anything about women (editor's note; Dorian doesn't know anything about women), they won't have sex with you if you haven't showered.
Fat Mike - That's when I take my showers, before we have sex.
Big D - You've got the 'Gimme Gimmes, does anyone else in the band have side projects?
Fat Mike - El Hefe does hip-hop in a band called Potluck.
Big D - Let's go back in time for a moment shall we, at the So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes show in Tampa a few years back, I lost my shoes. So I yells up at El Hefe "Hey man, I ain't got no shoes on" so he brings me up on stage, after asking the crowd if they had seen my shoes, we were all treated to a shower of smelly old sneaks. Ultimately I got my shoes back.
Debbie the Masseuse - You got your shoes back?
Big D - Oh yeah, I was totally stoked .Before I got on stage I was in the pit dancing and didn't give a shit. I had hamburger feet for days. Anyway, El Hefe tells me to stage dive on his que. So you guys started playing a song I've never heard before, he looks over at me and gives me the go ahead. About mid front flip, I mean I went big, You tear into a song, "Don't know how to stagedive" were the only lyrics.
Fat Mike - I don't remember that at all.
Big D - Well, after peeling myself off the floor, all I could do was smile. Thanks for the shoes, and that was the best prank ever pulled on me. I got my balls busted for weeks after that by my friends. Has anybody in the band gone too far while pranking each other on stage or off?
Fat Mike - I don't know ..............Once I put some China White Heroin in Eric Melvin's Cocaine bag. That was pretty funny. Dude he slept for a week. Well it was a coma, you know.
Debbie the Masseuse - Alright your done.
Big D - Looks like my times up
Fat Mike - Yeah, I'd love to sit and chat D but we're playing in a couple of minutes..
Big D - Right on, thanks for your time
Fat Mike - Yeah man, no problem. Take it easy.