One of my favorite bands growing up was NOFX, and so naturally I was excited when I heard about their upcoming autobiography NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub And Other Stories written by the band and Jeff Alulis (currently available for pre-order and due out April 12th). When I found out that they agreed to do an interview during SXSW, the fan boy in me was ecstatic. The book title along with the cover art is typical NOFX; funny, unapologetic and punk as fuck. I went in expecting a light hearted interview, but that was not the case.
Before the interview started, Fat Mike asked me what I knew about the book. I told him what I knew, which was that it’s a tell-all autobiography about the band and their iconic and lengthy career. He then asked me if I had read an excerpt. To be honest, I didn’t even know there was one out. Basically Fat Mike had called me out on how little I actually knew about this book. I didn’t do my homework, and he was right. Luckily though, what ensued was a million times better than any question I could have come up with. He then began to tell me a story about the first time he tasted his wife’s pee. We started recording somewhere around this point, but this was a great example of the type of honesty I got from Fat Mike and the brutal honesty we can expect in this book.
“People will look at us differently from now on.”
– Fat Mike
Fat Mike is not one to shy away from speaking his mind. He told me about his sex life and his love for cross-dressing which is one of the chapters in the book. He also threw things my way, and asked me if I ever had a finger in my but or what the weirdest thing I’ve done was sexually. Fat Mike was not afraid to talk about the things that most people not only hide, but feel embarrassed about. It’s actually the essence of what was so appealing to me about NOFX and punk music, it taught me to be myself no matter what.
Things got even deeper and heavier as Mike told me about the childhood trauma’s all of the band members experienced. We don’t think of the band as junkies, but drummer Erik Sandin’s ‘Hepatitis Bathtub’ is true. Mike also told me the story of guitarist Eric Melvin’s girlfriend, who was raped by Erik’s roommate. She had told Mike and Erik not to tell Eric (Melvin) because the man was a psychotic killer. Mike had to warn Eric (Melvin) in advance when the band received the copy of the book. There are tons of stories like this, and a lot of it is information even the band members didn’t know about each other. You won’t read here about how they made Punk In Drublic, but instead will learn about the dark and horrific experiences that were hidden behind the guise of a funny, legendary punk band.
Mike had said to me, “Don’t you want to read the book now?” The answer to that is of course an emphatic YES! Although I was planning to anyway I pre-ordered it as soon as I got back to New York. The thing though is that this is something anyone would want to read whether you know a thing about NOFX or not. Not that you need any reassurance in the authenticity of anything NOFX does, the book boasts a foreword from Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong and praise by John Cameron Mitchell, Joan Jett, Amanda Palmer, Jane Wiedlin, Brian Baker and Fletcher from Pennywise. So if not my word, take their word for it, this book is a must read!