Fat Mike of NOFX talks punk rock musicals, shitty songwriters, humanizing sex workers, and the band's latest, 'Single Album' on Mosh Talks - Knotfest
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Fat Mike of NOFX talks punk rock musicals, shitty songwriters, humanizing sex workers, and the band’s latest, ‘Single Album’ on Mosh Talks

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Mosh Talks on March 23, 2021

The veteran songwriter and punk’s cultural ambassador speaks candidly about everything from sobriety to sex work to Machine Gun Kelly via the in-depth interview.

Few interviews are ever as candid as a conversation with Fat Mike of NOFX.

The veteran songwriter and ambassador of punk rock culture sit in for a comprehensive exchange on Mosh Talks and the talking points were aplenty. Currently making the rounds for NOFX’s most recent LP, ‘Single Album,’ Mike confided how at this stage in their long-tenured career, the band is getting some of the best reviews they have ever seen – no small feat given that the band already has a handful of classic albums in existence.

Mike pulled zerp punches when discussing things like his sobriety, the good and bad songwriters of the world, the future of punk with bands like Get Dead, and even touched on the stigma of sex work and how he’s long championed breaking down those walls.

There just aren’t many people, let alone artists that speak as freely as Fat Mike and the following interview with attest to that. Watch the complete discussion on Mosh Talks below.

:21 – Beez and Fat Mike discuss the significance and often misunderstood Cokie The Clown album – “the most depressing album ever made”

2:56 – How Fat Mike and Dizzy Reed of Guns N Roses became friends through Danny Lohner of Nine Inch Nails, how Fat Mike channeled Trent Reznor during recording, and collaborating with Travis Barker.

5:01 – Fender benders with Travis Barker outside of John Feldman’s house

7:02 – The thriving culture of punk in East Los Angeles complete with backyard and bar gigs.

8:52 – The era of hair metal versus punk rock and how one night the Sunset Strip was about Bad Religion and the next night it was about Ratt.

10:07 – Metallica according to fat Mike – Ride The Lightning > Kill ‘Em All

10:24 – If Machine Gun Kelly’s version of punk is limited to Blink, Goldfinger, and the Madden Brothers, maybe someone else should be doing a punk rock musical

11:32 – How bands street savvy bands like Get Dead are leading the charge for a new generation of punk that is as angry as it is authentic

13:41 – How Fat Mike is currently navigating his sobriety, the quality of the new NOFX material, and being focused as fuck.

15:20 – Mike details why he didn’t do any press for eight years and how trying to be anything more than happy is just a recipe for failure.

17:20 – Removing the asterisk of being a quality songwriter, backing up the statement, “Punk rock is the best style of music,” and how Billie Eilish is the new direction of alternative music.

18:25 – Mike obviously is not a fan of Billy Corgan or The Smashing Pumpkins – he refers to ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ as one of the worst double LPs of all time.

20:20 – Singing the praises of Oasis as songwriters, Mike recalls a New year’s party he attended that was hosted by the Oasis guys where the band actually played their own music at the party.

23:17 – Though NOFX have already made records considered classic, their latest ‘Single Album’ is managing to corral some of the best reviews of their career thus far. It’s a show of longevity that Fat Mike hasn’t seen in punk rock music.

25:20 – The headlock that is ‘Single Album’ and how starting with a song like “The Big Drag” and ending with “Your Last Resort” are the kinds of curveballs that make the album memorable.

26:00 – M. Shadows helped Fat Mike to edit ‘Single Album’ down to just a one-album effort from what as initially intended to be a double record. After deciding to kept it to just one album, Mike went back and recorded the album’s finale, “Your Last Resort,” a song he calls “his heart”.

27:39 – ‘The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories’ opened up a whole new world of songwriting for Fat Mike

29:30 – Mike reflects on the lessons learned from Cokie the Clown and details the gravity of the especially personal track,”Your Last Resort”

31:47 – Humanizing sex workers and breaking down the stigma in the transaction of sexuality

33:49 – Fat Mike explains how he is still motivated by a healthy competitive spirit among his peers and how he enjoys when something he writes can resonates well with his contemporaries. He references “The Big Drag” again and how Fletcher from Pennywise called him frustrated that he didn’t write that.

38:30 – Referencing songs like “Louise” and “My Vagina,” Mike shares how being explicit in his music is always been his thing. Sharing that he is almost self-destructive lyrically, it’s just more about always pushing the boundaries.

41:40 – The era of songwriting by committee and how musicians are more concerned with not offending people rather than making a quality song.

44:16 – Mike details what it was like working with Bill Stevenson of Descendents for the third record thus far and how the guys spent way too much time watching Suburban Lawns on New Wave Theater.

47:20 – Fat Mike is starting a legacy project in opening a punk rock museum in Las Vegas. He shared that friends like Pat Smear and Bryan Holland, better known as Dexter from Offspring are all onboard. Mike also glowed when sharpen that Jerry Only of Misfits was also participating to the extent that he was driving out Misfits memorabilia all the way from New Jersey.

51:35 – Punk rock is very much a community and the aim of the museum is to establish a church for that community. Everyone is welcomed, unless your band really sucked.

52:20 – Mike shares how his punk rock musical in Home Street Home has been so important to him. In the same breath he shares that it’s he and his ex-wife’s baby and worst thing to ever happen to him. Confiding that he has had a rough go with producers mangling it, he also shared that the project will eventually open off broadway and will likely become a TV series. Mike also discussed that he and Joe Escalante of The Vandals have written a sitcom and though he was tight-lipped about the details, he said it’s something that hasn’t been done before from two guys that aren’t traditional comedy writers.

53:53 – Mike has a thing for ballads. He’s written a few and his ultimate goal is to work with Barbara Streisand.

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