Fat Mike is probably the most punk person in the world. He told me so himself.
“You wanna know something? This is probably a weird thing to say but I’m probably the most punk rock person in the world. My whole life is absurdity,” he said.
This is just one of many choice tidbits delivered with a cool cheekiness during a recent conversation with the NOFX front man, who consented to a rare interview in advance of the band’s upcoming House of Blues show.
The band’s appearance with The Bouncing Souls with Cobra Skulls & Old Man Markley on Monday will be its first in Myrtle Beach since at sold out concert at HOB in 2006.
During the set fans can expect lots of the trademark angst and absurdity that have helped NOFX build a catalog that include pro-lesbian tributes such as “Liza and Louise”, anti-Bush anthems like “Franco Un-American,” and an 18-plus-minute-long magnum opus called “The Decline.”
Songs like these and a never-ending flair for the unexpected has helped the band — and contemporaries such as Bad Religion and Rancid — define a genre over the past 25 years.
Myrtle Beach Music: Fat Mike (second from left) goofs off with his NOFX bandmatesBut even after seemingly playing, seeing and doing everything the music business has to experience, Fat Mike still speaks with a sense of urgency that at times flies by so fast that you need to stop and ask him repeat what he just said.
If you go
NOFX & The Bouncing Souls with Cobra Skulls & Old Man Markley
- When | Monday 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.)
- Where | House of Blues, Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach
- Tickets | SOLD OUT!
- www.hob.com or 272-3000
He answers questions about his music and his life, but also launches into tangents about the food industry — specifically the film Food, Inc. and current issues of sustainability — where he surmises that all the efforts put into fixing aerosol cans and fuel is “pretty pointless” and that ultimately, “the 80s and 90s were the best decades.”
When I ask about playing in Myrtle Beach versus larger cities he replies: “There’s not that much difference between playing here and playing in a place like Boston. A show is just a show. We’re having fun. Kids are having fun. That’s all that matters.”
According to him, the real differences in playing come when the band travels overseas.
“They’ll show up at airports and they think we’re rock stars,” he says. “They don’t understand it’s punk rock and we’re just normal guys.”
As to whether fans can expect any new projects from the band, he admits NOFX isn’t really writing songs, but says the band likes to put a record out every three years if possible.
“We have been working on an album of hardcore covers from the 80s. It’s gonna come out on vinyl,” he said. “We’re not gonna label it or anything, there’s gonna be no info on it at all…We always try to do something different.”
Speaking of different, I ask him how things have changed in running his record label Fat Wreck Chords.
“We went from 20 employees to 5,” he says. “The music industry is over. It’s kind of like punk in the early 80s. You just can’t sell records anymore.”
Though quick to claim the demise of the music industry, Mike admits the evolution of the DIY — or do-it-yourself — movement where a kid can now create music, upload it to the Internet, and promote himself removes the need for a label.
“Things are probably better now,” he says. “Half of our shows would get cancelled, and we’d only get paid $50. But that was fine because we were all alcoholics. I’ve certainly slept in a van enough times, and asked for spare change. It was cool because we were kids and didn’t care but I’d rather do it now.”
Mike "Fat Mike" Burkett5 questions with Fat Mike
Here's an interesting look at the man behind the band with a couple quick questions that weren't fit to print:
Will you guys criticize the Obama Administration the same way you criticized the Bush Administration?
No I’m not gonna criticize the Obama Administration because they are trying to do something, whether or not they get anything passed that’s another story.
I got politically motivated because Bush was the worst president this country has ever had.
The world is kind of fucked right now.
I have this theory about punk rock, that being punk rock is absurd. It’s like Albert Camus’s theory, that you can only ever be punk rock in certain instances or for a certain period of time because once you become conscious of your “punkness” you lose what made you punk to begin with.
You wanna know something? This is probably a weird thing to say but I’m probably the most punk rock person in the world. My whole life is absurdity. I live in a BDSM house.
Do you know what that is? It’s Bondage-Discipline-Sado-Masochism. But like I said, I’m a lifer. I’m fucking punk as hell.
We played a New Year’s Eve show where we all dressed in drag and I was dressed as a slutty whore.
Are you going to dress as a slutty whore when you play in Myrtle Beach?
(Laughs) You wish. You can’t do that kind of stuff in the South.
What about Cokie the Clown (a character he portrayed at last year’s SxSW festival)? Is there was a chance you’ll be doing that at the show in Myrtle Beach?
Oh, I just gave the most depressing performance. I told the most depressing stories of my life. It was one time only.
Hey, I have to wrap this up, I have another interview in a few minutes but, you know something?
Some things happen for a reason I think. My life has been too good. I met the most perfect woman. Something is behind that.