xtitsx: (Default)
( 18 Jun 2017 04:47 pm)
for people of my generation and musical persuasion, NOFX is the first band you decide you are too cool for.
you get into them when you are fifteen then by seventeen you decide they are too poppy, too silly, and you want to listen to something with a bit more credibility.
by your mid-twenties, however, you should have grown out of that status-chasing and come full circle to embracing NOFX for the pretty fucking great band that they are.
not all of their songs are a hit, some of the songs they put out during the Bush Years are downright cringy, but the totality of their work and the way they've been living their lives and managing their business for over three decades now is admirable as shit.
i can't think of any other band off the top of my head that has managed to eek out a comfortable-but-not-gross living for themselves without compromising their own values or a basic sense of decency.
good for you NOFX! we were all right when we were fifteen.

Backstage Passport – Season 2:
Backstage Passport was a show NOFX did on some TV channel most people don't get that followed them traveling around the world playing punk shows.
the PSE and i watched it a while ago and i think i reviewed it officially, For The Record, but i'm not sure.
it turns out they made a Backstage Passport 2, though, that we hadn't seen, so, we had to go watch that.
Backstage Passport 2 wasn't actually a proper TV show as it was just an hour and a half little movie.
we didn't even have to steal it off the internet, the PSE just found it on YouTube for free.
we put it on in the background while the PSE and i did arts and crafts.

unlike the first Backstage Passport which paints NOFX as charming, happy warriors for punk rock, Backstage Passport 2 was just kinda sad.
Fat Mike was going through a divorce and his enthusiasm for cocaine had gotten out of control.
he looked like shit, and acted like a cunt and made things miserable for the better part of the show.
but, i suppose that's fair.
if you're gonna make a documentary about a punk rock band with a lead singer with a coke problem, you can't make it out to be heroic all the time.
for being something to have on in the background while the PSE and i did arts-and-crafts, Backstage Passport 2 earns a 3.9/10.

The Other F Word:
The Other F Word is a documentary somebody made about punk rockers becoming fathers.
it came on automatically on the YouTube after Backstage Passport 2 and neither the PSE nor i turned it off.
it played in the background as we continued to do arts and crafts.

The Other F Word features interviews with a bunch of mostly-California punk rockers, including Fat Mike from NOFX, though, he didn't really have much to say that was interesting.
he just takes his daughter to private school because he can afford to.
the most noteworthy bits of The Other F Word featured some gross, melted blob from The Adolescents wallowing in self-pity because nobody gives a shit about The Adolescents and he has to be on tour all the time just to make enough money to afford groceries.
another sad sack was some scabby junky from the U.S. Bombs who slurred about how his son got killed in a car crash and how he wants to kill himself.
yeah, this is what happens when Punk Rock grows up.
probably the most uncomfortable part of the whole documentary was the fag from Everclear [of all people] playing a song about how his daddy left him when he was a boy and tearing up.
i don't know what Everclear was doing in a documentary about punk rock, if you've been on MTV you probably don't get to still be punk, but besides that, there is simply no way to be a fifty year old man who is upset that he wasn't loved as a boy.
if i was your dad i would have left you too.
the PSE served the guy from Everclear in a Portland ColdStone Creamery once. he gave her the creeps.
for being a show about grown men with daddy issues, The Other F Word earns a 1.9/10.

The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories:
The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories is a book that NOFX wrote.
i had no idea that NOFX wrote a book, i wasn't sure that all of them were literate, but the PSE came home from the public library with it one day and i was exited to read it.

The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories is the story of NOFX from their individual childhoods in Southern California to the formation of the band back in 1983 when they were just young teenagers, to picking up Hefe in the early 1990s and riding the pop-punk wave to not-quite-success but respectability.
the thing about NOFX is that, unlike all the other bands that got famous and rich in the pop-punk boom, they never compromised their values.
remember how everybody hated Green Day for a while in the early-to-mid 90s?
Dookie is one of the greatest records in the history of anything, objectively better then anything NOFX ever put out, but everybody shat on it because it was a bunch of punk rockers selling out.
NOFX never did that.
rather then prostituting themselves to some corporate record label, Fat Mike used his Jew Abilities to start his own record label and managed to keep NOFX both independent and profitable.
The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories didn't focus as much as i would have liked on the business end of NOFX, i would have liked to read more about the intersection of ethics and profit but mostly it was a book about the band having punk rock adventures.
that's cool, too.

having been some degree of a NOFX fan since the early-to-mid 90s, i had a good understanding of the history of the band, but there were still plenty of things in The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories for me to learn.
1) what a sex pervert Fat Mike is.
NOFX always used bondage and S&M allusions in their work, but i never knew how seriously Fat Mike took all of that shit. i just thought it was for shock value.
turns out, though, no, Fat Mike really does enjoy getting the shit beat out of him by large women.
2) Melvin got molested when he was a kid.
3) Hefe almost went to prison for counterfeiting money when he was a teenager.
4) Erik Sandin, the White Trash from White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean really was super White Trash.
you always think of NOFX as a band with upper-middle class roots [on account of the Two Heebs] but, no, Sandin really was really, really trashy.

a lot of the first part of The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories is about NOFX bragging about how awesome life was when they were just getting started.
being teenagers, starting a punk band, sleeping with teenage punk rock girls, getting into fights, traveling around the country, sleeping with teenage punk rock girls.
it's hard to be a thirty-five year old man, going to Law School, tied down with the PSE and the Monster and an apartment and not get all kinds of jealous of the life these kids got to lead.
my life will never be as awesome as fifteen year old Fat Mike's, and that is sad.
but then, as the book goes on, the consequences of living that kind of lifestyle catch up to the band.
Sandin gets a heroin addiction, Fat Mike goes through a divorce and gets a coke problem, Melvin never quite gets over getting molested.
several people the band was friends die of overdoses, a few get murdered.
perhaps the darkest part of the book was when Fat Mike and Melvin were runty kids hanging out outside some show when a bunch of punk rock gang members walk past carrying off some poor girl to go get raped or whatever.
she reaches out her hand to them and says, loudly and clearly, “help me!” but they don't do anything.
it takes a certain kind of bravery to confront what a shitty thing that was, the feelings of being an accomplice to something awful because of your own fear and cowardice.
though, of course, not as much bravery as trying to rescue that poor anonymous girl.
shit like that reminds the reader that maybe NOFX's life wasn't all that great all the time after all.

for being a well-written, enjoyable read, for demanding my attention and sucking me in to reading more, even when i wasn't on the shitter, for telling a funny, interesting, honest story that i was glad to have read, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories earns an 8.9/10.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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