|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Genres||Punk rock, skate punk, ska punk, melodic hardcore, hardcore punk (early)|
|Labels||Mystic, Epitaph, Fat Wreck Chords|
|Associated acts||Me First and the Gimme Gimmes|
|Past members||Scott Sellers
NOFX // is an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California (later relocating to San Francisco). The band was formed in 1983 by vocalist/bassist Fat Mike and guitarist Eric Melvin. Drummer Erik Sandin joined NOFX shortly after. In 1991, El Hefe joined to play lead guitar and trumpet, rounding out the current line-up. The band rose to popularity with their fifth studio album Punk in Drublic (1994), which was certified gold in both the United States and Canada, and is now considered a classic punk album by fans and critics alike. Their seventh studio album So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes (1997) was also certified gold in Canada. NOFX's mainstream success was signified by a growing interest in punk rock during the 1990s, but unlike many of their contemporaries, they have never been signed to a major label. NOFX has released twelve studio albums, fifteen extended plays and a number of seven-inch singles. Their latest studio album, Self Entitled, was released on September 11, 2012. The group has sold over 6 million records worldwide,[dead link] making them one of the most successful independent bands of all time. The band also broadcast their own show on Fuse TV entitled NOFX: Backstage Passport.
Early years (1983–1990)
In 1983, guitarist Eric Melvin met bassist/vocalist Mike Burkett (Fat Mike) and started the band under the name NO-FX, after a Boston hardcore punk band called Negative FX. At this time, they were joined by drummer Erik "Smelly" Sandin. NOFX's first recording was a demo  from 1984, entitled Thalidomide Child produced by Germs drummer Don Bolles, which did not sell many copies, but is now an incredibly rare collector's item. Fat Mike once claimed that no copies existed, it was announced in 2011 that the demo would be re-released and in 2012 it finally saw a release. The group released its self-titled debut extended play NOFX on Mystic Records in 1985, which was later re-released in 1992 as part of the Maximum Rocknroll CD. Mystic's Mark Wilkins, who handled promotion on their first national tour with Dr. Know told Wild Times "I knew those guys had something special. In the middle of the tour Dr. Know's van broke down forcing them to quit the tour but NOFX kept on going and actually completed the tour. That was very rare and in my mind an example of the kind of discipline it takes to be successful."
The band's line-up had undergone a number of changes; however, the original three members had reunited. For a year, Erik "Smelly" Sandin left the band and was replaced by Scott Sellers, and later by Scott Aldahl. Dave Allen was in the band for about four months, until he died in a car accident. In 1986, the band released the extended play So What If We're on Mystic!. Dave Casillas joined the band on second guitar in 1987 and was featured on the extended play The P.M.R.C. Can Suck on This, attacking the PMRC's campaign for music censorship. The original cover was an edited S&M photo; the cover for the re-released version was changed to a photo of Eric Melvin. Prior to the release of Liberal Animation, a compilation of 14 early NOFX songs was released on Mystic Records. The album was self-titled, and featured the songs from the NOFX and So What If We're on Mystic! extended plays. The album is quite rare and only printed around 1,000 copies. The price of the album ranges from $80–300. The album's cover was a redesigned version of the cover from the NOFX extended play.
NOFX recorded Liberal Animation in 1988 with Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion. Although the title and some of the album's lyrics mocked vegetarianism and animal rights, Fat Mike says that he became a vegetarian after writing the Liberal Animation album. The album was re-released in 1991 on Gurewitz's label Epitaph Records. Casillas left the band shortly after the recording of Liberal Animation and was replaced by Steve Kidwiller (a.k.a. "Steve the Caucasian"). The band released its second studio album S&M Airlines through Epitaph in 1989.
Epitaph years (1991–2002)
In 1991, NOFX released its third studio album, Ribbed. Shortly after the album was released Steve Kidwiller left the band, and Aaron Abeyta (a.k.a. "El Hefe") joined the group. With Abeyta, the band recorded the extended play The Longest Line, followed by the studio album White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean, released in May and November 1992 respectively. Also in 1992, NOFX's former label Mystic Records released Maximum Rocknroll, which compiles early singles and demo songs and is actually a reissue of their 1989 long-out of print compilation tape E Is for Everything. Although the band claims that Maximum Rocknroll was not released with their consent, it's listed on the discography of their website.
In 1994, punk rock entered the mainstream with the success of The Offspring's Smash, Bad Religion's Stranger than Fiction, Rancid's Let's Go and Green Day's Dookie, and NOFX had a commercial breakthrough with the release of its fifth studio album Punk in Drublic, their best-selling album to date. The album was certified gold with support from Los Angeles-based radio station KROQ, which played the song "Leave It Alone". A music video was made for the song but did not receive airplay on MTV. Due to the success of Punk in Drublic, NOFX received many offers to sign with major record labels, but the band declined the offers. The following year, the band released its first live album I Heard They Suck Live!!. In the liner notes the band explicitly rejected the advances of major record labels and radio airplay, stating "We've been doing fine all these years without you so leave us alone!" Punk in Drublic is now considered a classic punk album by fans and critics alike.
Punk in Drublic was followed by the 1996 CD Heavy Petting Zoo, whose LP companion featured different cover art and the name Eating Lamb. The artwork for the CD featured a man fingering a sheep, while the LP depicted the same man in a 69 position with the sheep. Heavy Petting Zoo and Eating Lamb were banned from sale in Germany due to their obscene cover art. The album did not achieve the success of its predecessor, although it was the first NOFX record to achieve a position on the Billboard charts, reaching number 63. Fat Mike stated: "Weird record. I thought it was the coolest record when we finished it, but a few months later I wasn't so sure. Some of those songs are kinda weird. I like the cover a lot though. I think it sold well in Belgium."
In 1997, the band released So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes, a return to faster punk, as exemplified by the frenetic opening track, "It's My Job to Keep Punk Rock Elite."
NOFX released The Decline, an 18-minute single-track extended play which served as a fiery and cynical social commentary in 1999. The Decline, clocking in at 18:23, is the second-longest punk song ever recorded (after Crass' 20-minute song "Yes Sir, I Will").
Move to Fat Wreck Chords (2003–2008)
NOFX released its ninth studio album The War on Errorism in 2003, an album of political songs. It became the start of its anti-George W. Bush campaign. Fat Mike organized the website punkvoter.com, compiled two chart-topping Rock Against Bush albums, and started a Rock Against Bush U.S. tour. The song "Separation of Church and Skate" from the album was featured in the game Tony Hawk's Underground.
In February 2005, the band launched the NOFX 7" of the Month Club, a subscription-based service which saw the release of one new extended play almost monthly, from February 2005 to March 2006 (a total of 12 releases). The cover art for these extended plays was chosen from fan-submitted entries. The first 3,000 subscribers to the club received all of their records on colored vinyl. Fat Wreck Chords later released full sets of the extended plays.
On March 14, 2006, the extended play Never Trust a Hippy was released. The EP was followed on April 18 by the studio album Wolves in Wolves' Clothing. On September 12, 2006, the video game EA Sports NHL 07 was released, featuring "Wolves in Wolves' Clothing" on its soundtrack, produced by Bill Stevenson and Fat Mike. NOFX's song "Kill All the White Man" was played briefly in the action movie Crank in 2006, and was credited as such in the film's soundtrack.
In January 2007, the band recorded three nights of performances in San Francisco, California, for a live album entitled They've Actually Gotten Worse Live!, released November 20, 2007. The live album is described on the press release as "their sloppiest, drunkest, funniest, best sounding recording ever … and they even made sure not to play any songs off their 1995 live album I Heard They Suck Live."
NOFX launched a world tour in September 2007, which included concerts in Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa). During its final performances in Israel (7 September in Haifa), vocalist Fat Mike inadvertently struck guitarist Eric Melvin with his bass guitar during the performance of "Bottles to the Ground", breaking the guitar's neck, and leaving a bloody gash on Melvin's forehead. The broken bass guitar was replaced with one from Useless ID for the rest of the concert. The band completed its scheduled set amidst the audience's cheers for Melvin's good humor and perseverance. This tour was the basis of the band's television show, NOFX: Backstage Passport.
During the same tour, NOFX played four concerts in South Africa, the band's first performances on the African continent. The tour of South Africa followed successful tours by the bands Lagwagon, Frenzal Rhomb, and Mad Caddies, all of which are signed to Fat Wreck Chords.
Coaster, Cokie The Clown and Self-Entitled (2009–present)
In February 2009, NOFX reunited with former members Steve Kidwiller and Dave Casillas for its 25th anniversary special performances. NOFX released a new album, Coaster, on April 28, 2009. The band worked with the same co-producer, Bill Stevenson, who produced its previous album Wolves in Wolves' Clothing. NOFX was also added to the lineup for the Warped Tour 2009. They also toured Australia and New Zealand in late 2009 with Bad Religion.
NOFX released a new extended play on November 24, 2009 titled Cokie the Clown. It was released on one CD or two seven-inch vinyl records, which are called Cokie the Clown and My Orphan Year. The extended play consists of outtakes from the Coaster sessions. NOFX started its spring 2010 "Fermented and Flailing" tour on April 21. This was the official tour for its album Coaster.
During this time period, Fat Mike would occasionally adopt the Cokie the Clown persona (as seen on the extended play's cover and the "Cokie the Clown" music video) during live performances. Fat Mike performed a solo acoustic performance on March 20, 2010 at the SXSW Festival as Cokie that was described as "strange, emotional, and intimate." At the end of the concert, after debuting a new song called "Drinking Pee", a video that was played for the audience suggested that a number of festival participants unknowingly drank Fat Mike's urine. The stunt resulted in Fat Mike getting banned from the Austin, Texas venue. In May 2010, NOFX posted a video online that showed Fat Mike urinating into a bottle of Patrón as was previously announced, but then switched the bottle before going on stage to a bottle not containing any urine. Months later in an interview, Mike stated that he had "always wanted to be banned from somewhere."
On June 21, 2010, NOFX announced that they were going to release a compilation album titled The Longest EP. A compilation of select songs from its extended play's from 1987 to 2009. It was released on August 17, 2010.
In a January 2011 interview with The Daily Times, Fat Mike revealed that a new NOFX album was in production, saying "There are some really good songs on Coaster, but after having written 300 songs, I feel lucky I came up with them. That's why there are songs on there about Iron Maiden and Tegan and Sara. I'm reaching, man. Sometimes I grab stuff just to grab stuff, and I'm going in a lot of different directions." In December 2011, Fat Mike revealed to Phoenix New Times that he has begun work on a new NOFX album and a soundtrack to a "fetish film" called Rubber Bordello.
In June 2011, NOFX began their Great White North Tour, which would have them traveling across Canada. The tour kicked off in St. John's, Newfoundland on June 14. It was the first time the band had been to Newfoundland.
Along with a self-titled 10" of 80s hardcore punk cover songs, the band also plans to re-release their first recordings in Summer 2011. It features covers from The Necros, D.O.A, and songs such as "Police Brutality," or "Race Riot." The album, as stated by Mike on August 28, after a live show they performed in Hamburg, Germany. The album was released on a vinyl record and has been distributed to Independent Record Companies around the U.S., Great Britain, and others.
On February 14, in an article on Rolling Stone's website, Fat Mike says that a new album is on the way this year. "We're recording in April, and it should be out in the fall. I've got 12 songs, but I don't have a name for it and only a few of the songs are finished," he says. "We're demo-ing it right now."
NOFX released their twelfth studio album, Self Entitled, on September 11, 2012. NOFX also released X'mas has been X'd on January 15, 2013 and their 30th Anniversary LP Box Set on February 19, 2013
Music style and influences
The band's sound is diverse, utilizing elements of punk rock, skate punk, melodic hardcore, ska punk, and other music genres. Its more recent songs often focus on issues such as left wing politics and anarchy, society, racism, sexism, homophobia, class inequalities, the use of drugs, media, and religion. The band has released songs that range in length from under a minute, with songs such as "I Gotta Pee" (0:32) and "Murder the Government" (0:45), to its longest song, "The Decline", which is 18 minutes 22 seconds long. NOFX frequently poke fun (in friendly manner) at other bands. Its song "Whoa on the Whoas" parodied The Offspring's frequent use of the word "whoa" in their songs. A split album between NOFX and fellow punk band Rancid featured each group covering 6 songs from the other band's catalog.
The band cites its influences as Bad Religion, Rich Kids on LSD, D.I., SNFU, Operation Ivy, The Dickies, Descendents, Circle Jerks, Dead Milkmen, Sex Pistols, Adrenalin O.D., Minor Threat, The Germs, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, The Adolescents, The Misfits, Subhumans and Stargasm.
Relationship with the media
For years the band has consented to very few interviews and have only made a few music videos, citing the fact that it does not need any more exposure and that people were exploiting the group. In recent years, Fat Mike has consented to more interviews, including six different interviews with Nardwuar between 2002 and 2011. The band has also refused permission for its music videos to be broadcast on MTV, VH1, and similar music channels, although its music has been played on Canada's Much Music. NOFX made a live appearance on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2004. Its appearance on the show was controversial, as its message was anti-Bush (playing the song "Franco Un-American"), the lyrics were modified from the original to include an anti-Bush statement:
We all know George Bush is an imbecile
He loves Dick but he hates homosexuals
We're sick and tired of the embarrassment
The whole world wants us to get a better president
The band briefly pursued an "anti-Conan" riff, although the intent was likely jocular. The credits on the album Heavy Petting Zoo call on MTV, along with commercial radio stations and major labels, saying "we've been doin' just fine all these years without you so leave us the fuck alone" and calls them "assholes."
Fat Mike has also repeatedly conducted friendly interviews with the Australian Broadcasting Corporations' alternative radio station Triple J on its breakfast show with Jay (Jason Whalley) and the Doctor (Lindsay McDougall). Jay and the Doctor are both members of Frenzal Rhomb, an Australian punk rock band that has played many tours and festivals with NOFX, and has its music distribution outside Australia handled by Mike's Fat Wreck Chords label.
- "Fat" Mike Burkett – lead vocals, bass guitar, keyboards (1983–present)
- Eric Melvin – rhythm guitar, accordion, keyboard, backing vocals (1983–present)
- Aaron "El Hefe" Abeyta – lead guitar, trumpet, backing vocals (1991–present)
- Erik Sandin - Drums (1983–1985, 1986–present)
- Steve Kidwiller – guitar (1989–1991)
- Dave Casillas – guitar (1986–1989)
Drummers that would replace Erik Sandin for a year, until he returned
- Scott Sellers - drums (1985–1986)
- Scott Aldahl - drums (1985–1986)
- Dave Allen - drums (1985–1986) (deceased)
- Liberal Animation (1988)
- S&M Airlines (1989)
- Ribbed (1991)
- White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean (1992)
- Punk in Drublic (1994)
- Heavy Petting Zoo (1996)
- So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes (1997)
- Pump Up the Valuum (2000)
- The War on Errorism (2003)
- Wolves in Wolves' Clothing (2006)
- Coaster (2009)
- Self Entitled (2012)
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