NOFX: Don’t Call Me Red, White, And Blue

NOFX are a fucking punk rock group, plain and simple. For nearly a quarter of a century now, the band has sold over six million records worth of its unique So-Cal style skate punk, whilst successfully avoiding both major labels, contract and the likes of MTV or VH1. How’s that for DIY success?

Per usual, this summer the band will be heading out on the Vans Warped Tour to support their latest studio album Coaster. Filled with big guitars, sing-along choruses, and socially conscious lyrics tinged with traces of political satire a la Michael Moore, Coaster is classic NOFX, a raunchy piece of political commentary set to a lightning fast barrage of drums and a wall of distorted guitars. And did I mention it only costs $10?

Fat Mike, the group’s bassist and songwriter, was kind enough to share his thoughts on Coaster, political satire, and the declining health of punk rock and the music industry.

The cover of Coaster features a CD being used as a drink coaster. Do you think that the general public appreciation of music is disappearing or that the appreciation of a physical record (as opposed to the digital download) is disappearing?

It’s both. What we’ve learned actually is CDs make terrible coasters because they aren’t very absorbent.

The new generation of kids does not appreciate music, as far as I can tell, very much. They appreciate songs and maybe a video or a feeling that they get from a certain look, but the album as a format is definitely going out of style. That’s a shame. With technology, all kinds of industries go under. The record industry was just the first and easiest.

Your record label, Fat Wreck Chords, has always had a pretty unique business model and it’s only been getting less conventional (i.e. lowering your CD prices so nothing costs more than $10), yet your business is still doing fine in the midst of hard times for the music industry. Can you explain your thoughts on this?

We’d rather sell more records at a cheaper price and have our band do better. So far it’s working really well. People are buying CDs. It seems it might put a little fun back in record shopping when you go into a record store and pick up three CDs for $25. It’s kind of a good deal. You can feel good about yourself.

We’re not panicking. It’s just that the record industry is fucking over; might as well sell what you got.