Humorous, political and staunchly independent, NOFX are one of the great punk rock bands of all-time. They were at the forefront of the '90s punk rock wave that made rock stars out of Green Day, The Offspring and Rancid, and you'd be hard pressed to find a list of important punk records that didn't include the band's seminal 1994 release Punk in Drublic, which managed to be certified gold without the support of MTV or radio. As the band gears up for its show at the King Cat Theater on Jan. 24, we sat down with the band's always outspoken ringleader, Fat Mike, to talk about the record and why people seem to like it so much.
Do you always have a lot more songs completed for a record than the ones that actually make the album? For the last four or five, yeah, but for Punk in Drublic, we pretty much used everything. There were a few songs I wouldn't have minded dropping.
Punk in Drublic is a great title. Do you always have a list of titles floating around? I'm constantly writing down album titles. I came up with one a couple of weeks ago, but I don't really like it. It shows an old man using a walker and it's called Punk Walker. When we came up with Coaster, we were like, "Yes, this is perfect."
Can you tell me about the cover art and the concept behind it? That was one we had no idea. Some artist that Epitaph hired did it and we were like, "I guess it's okay, go for it."
Do you have a favorite song on the album? I would say "Dig."
Is there a song from the album that you've never played live or that stands out as being a song you don't like? We play the song, "My Heart Is Yearning" live sometimes, but I don't really like that song. I think it bums the vibe of the album.
Are there any that you've never played? We've never played "Dig" or "Happy Guy." Actually, we did play "Dig." We just played it acoustically.
Do you not usually play it because you don't like it? It's just too hard.
What makes it too hard? The guitar riffs.
But you're the bass player. I know, but there's this weird bass part in the middle that I have to sing over and that's hard. And then there's trombone in it, sliding trombone. And we don't have a sliding trombone player, although [guitarist] Hefe can play trombone.
Punk in Drublic was the first record of yours produced by Ryan Greene, which seemed to influence the sound of the next decade of pop-punk records. Would you agree? It has that more metal-sounding guitar. I think the production is better on our previous album, White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean. But except for Heavy Petting Zoo, I'm pretty happy with every record we did with him.
The album is certified gold. Where is the plaque hanging? We have a bunch of them. They only cost like $130 to get made so we had like 40 or 50 of them made. I have one in my Vegas house. I've got one in my dungeon. I gave one to my mom.
Is that something you're proud of? Yeah, I think it's pretty cool. A lot of bands got gold and platinum records in the '90s. But I think it's pretty cool that that record went gold and actually never hit the Billboard charts. We have one but The Ramones don't, so that's pretty interesting.
Does it still sell better than some of your more recent albums? It sells better than everything until a new record comes out.
What do you think it is about the record that people seem to identify so strongly with? "Linoleum" seems to be everyone's favorite song. If you go to YouTube there's like 20 bands that cover it so that has something to do with it. I just think that record is really high energy and it strikes some chords that way. I prefer So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes more and maybe even War on Errorism.
Do other musicians tell you that that record influenced them more than any of the other records in your catalog? Other musicians? No. Fletcher from Pennywise told me that Wolves in Wolves Clothing was his favorite, which I think is our most underrated album. Punk in Drublic is like the public's favorite.