Background Information
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genre Punk Rock
Skate Punk[1][2]
Ska Punk[3]
Melodic Hardcore[4]
Hardcore Punk (early)
Years active 1983-present
Label(s) Mystic
Associated Acts Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Punk Rock Karaoke
Fat Mike
El Hefe
Eric Melvin
Erik Sandin
Former Members
Scott Sellers
Scott Aldahl
Dave Allen
Dave Casillas
Steve Kidwiller

NOFX (pronounced "no eff ex") is an American punk rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1983 in Los Angeles.[5] The band was formed by vocalist and bassist Fat Mike and guitarist Eric Melvin. Drummer Erik Sandin joined them shortly afterward. In 1991 El Hefe joined to play lead guitar and trumpet, rounding out the current line-up. The band rose to popularity in 1994 with their album Punk in Drublic which was certified gold.

NOFX has released 12 studio full lengths, 15 EPs,[6] and many 7" singles. The group has independently sold over 6 million records worldwide,[7] making them one of the most successful independent acts of all time. The band also aired their own show on Fuse TV entitled NOFX: Backstage Passport.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

Early years (1983–1990)[edit | edit source]

In 1983, guitarist Eric Melvin met bassist/vocalist Mike Burkett (Fat Mike) and started the band under the name NOFX, after a Boston hardcore punk band called Negative FX.[9] At this time, they were joined by drummer Erik Sandin. NOFX's first recording was a demo from 1984, produced by Germs drummer Don Bolles, which did not sell many copies. The only people who possess this rare copy were either the people who made it or the people they sold it to. It is an incredibly rare collector's item. Many have been uploaded online, but barely any are valid. Fat Mike claims no copies exist anymore, though it is unclear whether he or any other members of the band still possess the item. They released their self-titled debut EP NOFX on Mystic Records in 1985, which was later re-released in 1992 as part of the Maximum RocknRoll CD. The band's lineup had undergone numerous changes; however, the original three members had reunited. For a year, Erik Sandin left the band and was replaced by Scott Sellers, and later 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 So What If We're on Mystic! Dave Casillas joined the band on second guitar in 1987 and was featured on the EP 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! EPs. The album is quite rare and only printed around 1,000 copies. The price of the album ranges from $80–300 (see "NOFX" article on NOFX Wiki for more details). The album's cover was a remastered version of the cover from the NOFX EP.

They 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.[10] The album was re-released in 1991 on Gurewitz's label Epitaph Records. Dave left the band and was replaced by Steve Kidwiller (a.k.a. 'Steve the Caucasian') after the recording of Liberal Animation. NOFX released their second album S&M Airlines on Epitaph Records in 1989.

Epitaph Years (1991-2002)[edit | edit source]

1991 saw the release of Ribbed. By that year, Steve Kidwiller left the band, and Aaron Abeyta (a.k.a. El Hefe) joined to round out the group. With Abeyta, the band recorded The Longest Line followed by, the album White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean, released in 1992.

In 1994, punk rock entered the mainstream with the success of The Offspring's Smash and Green Day's Dookie, and NOFX had a commercial breakthrough with the release of their album Punk in Drublic, NOFX's best-selling album to date. The album went Gold without any radio airplay or aired music videos, although a video has been made for the song "Leave It Alone". Due to the success of Punk in Drublic, NOFX received many offers to sign with major labels, but they turned the offers down. The following year, the band released their first live album I Heard They Suck Live!!.

Punk in Drublic was followed by 1996's slower Heavy Petting Zoo. The album did not approach the success of their predecessor, although it was the first NOFX record to achieve a position on the US Billboard charts, peaking at number 63. The band 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."[11]

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.”

In 1999, the band released The Decline, an 18-minute single-track EP which served as a fiery and cynical social commentary. The Decline, at 18 minutes, 23 seconds, is the second-longest punk song ever recorded (after Crass's 22-minutes Yes Sir, I Will).[12]

NOFX released the full-length album Pump Up the Valuum in 2000. It would be their final album on Epitaph, as the band decided to move on to Fat Mike's own label Fat Wreck Chords.

2002 saw the band record BYO Split Series, Vol. 3, a split album with Rancid in which Rancid covered NOFX songs and NOFX covered Rancid songs.

Recent History (2003-Present)[edit | edit source]

In 2003, NOFX released The War on Errorism, an album of political songs. It became the start of their anti-George W. Bush campaign, and a rallying point for leftist punks. Fat Mike organized the website, compiled two chart-topping Rock Against Bush CDs, and kicked off a Rock Against Bush U.S. tour. The song "Separation of the Church and Skate" from that 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 EP almost monthly, from February 2005 to March 2006 (a total of 12 releases). The cover art for these EPs was chosen from fan-submitted entries. The first 3000 subscribers to the club received all of their records on colored vinyl. Fat Wreck Chords later released full sets of the EPs.

On March 6, 2006, lead singer Fat Mike was rumored to be in a bar fight in Lexington, KY with an unnamed member of a local band Jumpin Jack and the Jackaroos, but no charges were ever filed.

On March 14, 2006, the EP Never Trust a Hippy was released. This EP was followed on April 18 by the full-length 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. Also in 2006, NOFX's song "Kill All The White Man" was played briefly in the action movie Crank, and was credited as such in the film's soundtrack.

In January 2007, the band recorded three nights of shows 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, funnest, best sounding recording ever … and they even made sure not to play any songs off their 1995 live album I Heard They Suck Live.”[7]

NOFX launched a world tour in September 2007, which included concerts in Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa). During their final concert 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 show. The band completed their scheduled set amidst the audience's cheers for Melvin's good humor and perseverance. This tour was the basis of the band's recent TV show, NOFX: Backstage Passport.

During the same world tour NOFX played four shows in South Africa (one in Cape Town, one in Durban, two in Johannesburg); the band's first concerts on the African continent. The tour of South Africa followed successful tours by bands Lagwagon, Frenzal Rhomb and Mad Caddies, all of which are signed to Fat Wreck Chords.

In February 2009, NOFX reunited with previous fellow members Steve Kidwiller and Dave Casillas for their 25th anniversary special shows. NOFX will release their new album, Coaster,[13] on April 28, 2009.[14][15] The band worked with the same co-producer, Bill Stevenson, who produced the previous album Wolves in Wolves' Clothing.[16] NOFX was also added to the lineup for the Warped Tour 2009.[17][18] They also toured Australia and New Zealand in late 2009 with Bad Religion.

NOFX released a new EP on November 24, 2009. Entitled Cokie the Clown, it was released on one CD or two 7" vinyl records, which are called Cokie the Clown and My Orphan Year. The EP consists of outtakes from the Coaster sessions. NOFX started their spring 2010 "Fermented and Flailing" tour on April 21. This was the official tour for their Coaster album. During this time period, Fat Mike would occasionally adopt the Cokie the Clown persona (as seen in on the EP's cover and the "Cokie the Clown" music video[19]) during live performances. Fat Mike performed a solo acoustic show at the 2010 SXSW Festival as Cokie that was described as "strange, emotional, and intimate." At the end of the performance, after debuting a new song called "Drinking Pee," it was revealed that several members of the audience unknowingly drank Fat Mike's urine.[20] He is now banned from the South by Southwest festival. The stunt resulted in Fat Mike getting banned from the Austin, Texas venue.[21]

Music style and influences[edit | edit source]

The band's sound is diverse, utilizing elements of punk rock, melodic hardcore, skate punk, ska, and other music genres. Their more recent songs often focus on issues such as politics, society, racism, sexism, homophobia, class inequalities, drug use, the music industry, and religion. The band has released songs that range in length from under a minute, with songs like "Murder the Government", to their longest song, "The Decline" which was over eighteen minutes long. NOFX will frequently poke fun at other bands. Their song, "Whoa On The Whoas", made fun of AFI and The Offspring's style of music. A split album between NOFX and fellow punk band, Rancid, led to the two trying copy and imitate each other.

They cite their influences as Adrenalin O.D., Rich Kids on LSD, Sex Pistols, Bad Religion, Minor Threat, The Adolescents and The Subhumans.[22]

Relationship with the media[edit | edit source]

For years the band has consented to very few interviews and have only made a few music videos, citing the fact that they do not need any more exposure and that people were exploiting them.[23] In recent years Fat Mike has consented to more interviews, including four different interviews with Nardwuar between 2002 and 2006.[24] The band has also refused permission for their music videos to be played on MTV, VH1, and similar music channels, although they made a live appearance on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2004.[25] The credits on the album Heavy Petting Zoo call on MTV, along with major labels, to "Leave us the fuck alone."

Fat Mike has also repeatedly conducted friendly interviews with the Australian Broadcasting Corporations' Youth 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 have their music distribution outside Australia handled by Mike's Fat Wreck Chords label[26].

In 2008 NOFX aired a documentary series on Fuse TV about their worldwide tour.[27] The show was entitled NOFX: Backstage Passport.

Band Members[edit | edit source]

Current Members[edit | edit source]

  • Fat Mike - lead vocals, bass (1983-present)
  • Eric Melvin - guitar, lead and backing vocals (1983-present)
  • El Hefe - guitar, lead and backing vocals (1991-present)
  • Erik Sandin - drums (1983-1985, 1986-present)

Former Members[edit | edit source]

  • Steve Kidwiller - guitar (1989-1991)
  • Dave Casillas - guitar (1986-1989)
  • Dave Allen - vocals (1986)
  • Scott Aldahl - drums (1986)
  • Scott Sellers - drums (1985)

Discography[edit | edit source]

Main article: NOFX discography

Studio albums[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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