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Fat Mike of NOFX: “There’s no stopping my brain”

If there were 25 hours in a day, NOFX’s Fat Mike would only use that extra time to get working on another idea. Releasing their new record Double Album, getting ready for their upcoming trip to Australia for Good Things and operating a slew of other projects, we could have never been sure which hat Fat Mike would be wearing when BLUNT called through.

We happened to interrupt him while he wore his Punk Rock Museum hat. With the grand opening of Fat Mike’s punk rock fever dream (a 12,000 square foot building dedicated to more than 5 decades of punk rock) approaching, that was understandable. “We had people from the Smithsonian come out a few weeks ago,” he says. “Their jaws dropped. They’ were like, ‘What?'”

“We have Joe Strummer’s last bag of weed,” he shares. “You can play Lorna Doom’s bass from the Germs, or Louichi’s from Suicidal Tendencies. You can play the instruments. They’re not fucking behind glass.”

Despite what you can assume are staggering logistical and financial mountains to climb throughout the process of creating a museum, Fat Mike remained fueled by his motif: “No one’s done it before.”

“There’s no award show for punk rock. There shouldn’t be. There’s no Grammys. There are no Billboard charts for punk and there shouldn’t be. The best punk records don’t get reviewed in Rolling Stone. But this is our place where any band from anywhere in the world is inducted. You don’t have to get inducted by some fucking jury. Me and Pat Smear from the Germs, we were like, ‘What do you have to do to get inducted?’ And I was like, ‘Record a song.” He’s like, ‘Or be on a flier.’ That’s it.

The Punk Rock Museum is just one spinning plate within Mike’s creative gaze, something that only seems to be expanding in scope and intensity. “I see what’s missing in the world with certain things,” he says, and as a result can’t sit still until he finds them.

“I was a number savant when I was really young. I could add up five, ten digit numbers instantly. I can’t [anymore], ‘Cause they taught me math,” he recalls. Even still, “There’s no stopping my brain.”

This can lead Fat Mike to a lot of hitherto untapped creative wells he feels deserved to be tapped, including, as he revealed, “a concerto album, which will be coming out.”

“It’s all strings. That’s what makes my brain happy. It’s all vibration. It’s all physics. When I’m writing the cello part, you get the melody and you get the root note. Writing cello parts is so fucking fun.”

Fat Mike confirms the record will be off for pressing in December and will feature a selection of reimagined NOFX songs, originals from his musical Home Street Home and one Cokie the Clown song. “It’s funny,” he adds. “This publisher, they offered me three times more money for this album than a NOFX album. Because everyone was like, ‘Oh, this is going to go in this movie.'”

Exploring another lead in the curious case of ‘what’s missing?’ led to the Codefendants, Fat Mike’s brand new band alongside Fat Mike, Sam King and Ceschi Ramo. “What we’re doing, I don’t think anyone’s ever done it before. I really believe that.”

“It’s fun, it’s important. I think we’re a genre defining band. We don’t sound like anybody else. It’s very complex chords, like Beatles progressions and harmonies, under hip hop.”

It starts to make sense that NOFX would embark on something as arduous as a double album. Something Fat Mike suspected would be incredibly difficult and after the fact can confirm: “It was really hard.” But as we see now, once he begins his creative tangents, there’s no turning back. He’d noticed another gap he could fill – what he believed as a lack of quality double albums.

“People just fail at it,” he says of the double album process. “‘Cause you feel you have 20 songs so you don’t have to try as hard or something. You try to make songs that are really different sounding, then you get lost in it and you realise, ‘Shit, they’re different sounding but they’re not that good.'”

“I tried really hard, but I’m pretty happy with it – it’s for sure our funniest album.” Not content with “pretty happy,” Fat Mike reveals NOFX, ever the fiends for punishment. are going back for more: “We have another double album in the can.”

Titled NOFX A – Z , the album is one Fat Mike has been working on for more than a decade, and features an alphabetised anthology of NOFX songs. “Half of them are different versions of songs we already have,” he explains, “There’s ‘Zyclone B Bathhouse’, there’s ‘Xmas Has Been X’ed’. Some songs I had to name until we got the letter.”

NOFX might be looking at winding down things on the touring front, but the band’s cause is far from over, and with Fat Mike rabidly hunting down what hasn’t been done before, there’s no telling what the band may do next. Quite literally, we ran out of time before we could get to yet another project. “Our next album is called Everybody Else Is Insane

…That comes out next fall.”

Good Things Festival 2022

Friday, 2nd December – SOLD OUT
Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

Saturday, 3rd December
Centennial Park, Sydney
Tickets: Oztix

Sunday, 4th December
Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane
Tickets: Oztix

Line-up (in alphabetical order):
Blood Command 
Chasing Ghosts
Cosmic Psychos
Electric Callboy
Kisschasy (Performing ‘United Paper People’ In Full)
Lacuna Coil
Nova Twins
Ocean Grove
Sleeping With Sirens 
Teenage Joans
The Gloom In The Corner
The Story So Far
To The Grave*

*To The Grave not appearing in Sydney