The band was formed by vocalist and bassist Fat Mike, and guitarist Eric Melvin, drummer Erik Sandin joined them shortly afterwards. In 1991 El Hefe joined to play lead guitar and trumpet, rounding out the current line-up. The band rose to popularity in 1994 with their album Punk in Drublic which was certified gold.
NOFX has released 10 studio full lengths, 15 EPs, and many 7" singles. The group has independently sold over 6 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful independent acts of all time. The band also aired their own show on Fuse TV entitled NOFX: Backstage Passport.
Early years (1983–1988)Edit
In 1983, Eric Melvin (guitar) and a friend, trying to start a band, got Fat Mike (Mike Burkett, vocals/bass) to leave his then band False Alarm and practice with them. Melvin's friend didn't like the situation and quit. They then enlisted Smelly(Erik Sandin, drums)to play for the band. Mike knew Smelly because they skated together in Hollywood and Erik liked Mike's Black Flag skateboard. At the time, Erik was in a band called Caustic Cause and NOFX was supposed to be a side project for him. Another guitarist named Dillon practiced with the band but quit when Mike, Eric and Erik played their first show without him.
After playing some more shows, they recorded their first demo with the help of Don Bolles, drummer of The Germs, who agreed to record them if they filled his car with gas. They put an ad in Flipside magazine, but according to Fat Mike sold no copies of the demo. They toured the western United States playing garage gigs and keggers. They recieved no money for playing most of the shows and usually ended up sleeping in the tour car or on the floor of the person who hosted the gig.
In 1985, Smelly quit because he was moving to Santa Barbara and was replaced by Scott Sellers. With Scott, they released two 7"s, NOFX and So What If We're On Mystic! on Mystic Records, both to later be compiled on The Album 12" and again on the Maximum Rock N Roll 12". Scott then quit and moved to San Diego. He was replaced by Scott Aldahl.
In 1986 Dave Allen joined NOFX as a second guitarist and vocalist but ended up dying in a car accident two months later. The band was put on hold. Mike went to college in San Francisco and Scott quit. Melvin went to city college in Santa Barbara and talked Erik Sandin into joining NOFX again. Dave Casillas was recruited to play gutiar and they were back to being a 4-piece. They then toured extensively, including Europe.
After continually getting ripped off by Doug Moody (Owner of Mystic Records) they left the label to create their own label, Collosal Wassail Records. In 1987, The PMRC Can Suck On This 7" was recorded and released. The next year they released their first LP, Liberal Animation(Although the title and some of the album’s lyrics mocked vegetarianism and animal rights, Fat Mike says that he became a vegetarian after writing the Liberal Animation album) , on Collosal Wassail along with a 7" split with the band Drowning Roses.Dave then left the band and was replaced by Steve Kidwiller
Record Labels In The Making (1989-1991)Edit
Dave Casillas left NOFX in 1989 and they found guitarist Steve Kidwiller. This guy was their lead guitarist and if you've listened to S&M Airlines or Ribbed you'll know why. He was a great guitarist who could play amazing solos. (I guess he just lacked El Hefe's magic touch) He did come up with the idea for the Ribbed album's title and cover. They couldn't think of anything to call it so he was like "fuck it! let's just put a huge picture of a condom on the cover!" That was the end of that dilemma.
About a month after Steve joined they recorded S&M Airlines. Then they toured for 3 months all over the US and Canada. They didn't rest much back then cause they played in such crappy places for almost no money so a couple months later they went back to Europe for a month and a half.
Then Bad Religion guitarist, Brett Gurewitz, cooked up Epitaph Records and signed NOFX, the second band to join Epitaph. (Bad Religion was obviously the first) NOFX brought out S&M Airlines (1989) on the new label.
Anyways, in 1991 Ribbed was released on Epitaph. Mike went to San Fransisco and started up [[Fat Wreck Chords[[ sometime in 1991. That year Steve left because of problems with where the band was headed (he plays in Speed Buggy now) and also because a couple people in the band were heavy drinkers and one of them was really into heroin. (neither Steve nor NOFX said who it is but everyone knows that Smelly went to rehab and hasn't drank or touched drugs since) and they found El Hefe (Aaron Abeyta, guitar, came from the Mark Curry Band aka Crystal Sphere) to take his place.
Enter El Hefe(1992-1997)Edit
I guess they were really hyped about Fat Wreck Chords or El Hefe's trumpet or something cause they released The Longest Line (1992), and Liza And Louise in the same year. Until The War On Errorism was released NOFX had never released an LP on another label since they joined Epitaph. They have a great relationship with Brett and Bad Religion's own Greg Graffin even sang the harmonies on S&M Airlinescause they didn't know how back then. They produce all their 7"s and things like The Decline on Fat Wreck Chords and apparently they're not putting out any more records on Epitaph.
So they released White Trash Two Heebs And A Bean in 1992 as well, on Epitaph. This record was gonna be called White Trash, Two Kikes And A Spic but Melvin's grandma found out and didn't like the title. There was some mention of like Jewish guilt or something and the title got changed. Later, in 1993, they released a 7" called Don't Call Me White. The year after that they released Punk In Drublic (1994) on Epitaph. On Eurotaph they released an EP titled Leave It Alone (1995). NOFX was pretty popular by now and there were a lot of NOFX bootlegs going around but they all sucked so thy decided to release a live album. I Heard They Suck Live! was the result, released on Fat Wreck Chords.
If you've been to a NOFX show you'll know they're awesome live though. They're funny, energetic, more often than not they're drunk, and have amazing performances. They're better live than on their albums. A true sign of a good band.
They're Over Thirty (1997-1999)Edit
In 1996 they released Heavy Petting Zoo on Epitaph. There was a ton of controversy about that album because the cover has a picture of a guy feeling a sheep and the LP version has a guy 69-ing a sheep. (if you don't know, don't ask) a lot of people thought this was gross (it's just a cartoon!) and in France (I think) it was even banned. It was probably banned in other places as well. NOFX's argument was that nothing is actually shown, it's all just implied or something like that. Basically they wanted to offend anyone they could in true punk rock style. It worked. On Fat Wreck Chords in 1996 they released a limited edition picture disc called HOFX and another 7" called Fuck The Kids (an awesome album), also on Fat Wreck Chords.
Since El Hefe joined NOFX hasn't changed it members. They've just kept on pumping out the killer punk rock tunes. I'm not gonna sit here and name all the albums, if you wanna know that kinda stuff check out the discography. Before So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes (1997) they kinda had a different sound on each album. Since So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes they seem to have found their style they like and it is wicked. They're fast and melodic but still have that gritty punk sound on most songs. And they've always been funny as hell. The cool thing about this new style is they always surprise you with what they bring out next, like The Decline ... most punk bands are notorious for short songs. (ie. the Dead Kennedys's song, Short Songs) and NOFX has its share of short songs (Fuck The Kids) so they came out with a single that's 18 minutes and 21 seconds of hardcore punk rock packed into one song. It seriously is a masterpiece.
NOFX launched a world tour in September 2007, which included concerts in Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa). During their final concert in Israel (7 September in Haifa), vocalist Fat Mike inadvertently struck guitarist Eric Melvin with his bass guitar during the performance of “Bottles to the Ground,” breaking the guitar’s neck, and leaving a bloody gash on Melvin’s forehead. The broken bass guitar was replaced with Useless ID bass guitar for the rest of the show. The band completed their scheduled set amidst the audience’s cheers for Melvin’s good humor and perseverance.) This tour was the basis of the band's recent TV show, NOFX: Backstage Passport.
During the same world tour NOFX played four shows in South Africa (one in Cape Town, one in Durban, two in Johannesburg); the band's first concerts on the African continent. The tour of South Africa followed successful tours by bands Lagwagon, Frenzal Rhomb and Mad Caddies, all of which are signed to Fat Wreck Chords.
Music style and influencesEdit
The band’s sound is diverse, utilizing elements of melodic hardcore, skate punk, ska, and other music genres. Their lyrics generally satirize issues such as politics, society, racism, sexism, homophobia, class inequalities, the music industry, and religion.
Relationship with the mediaEdit
For years the band has consented to very few interviews and have only made a few music videos, citing the fact that they do not need any more exposure and that people were exploiting them. In recent years Fat Mike has consented to more interviews, including four different interviews with Nardwuar between 2002 and 2006. The band has also refused permission for their music videos to be played on MTV, VH1, and similar music channels, although they made a live appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2004. The credits on the album Heavy Petting Zoo call on MTV, along with major labels, to "Leave them the fuck alone."
Fat Mike has also repeatedly conducted friendly interviews with the Australian Broadcasting Corporations' Youth radio station Triple J on its breakfast show with Jay (Jason Whalley) and the Doctor (Lindsay McDougall). Jay and the Doctor are both members of Frenzal Rhomb, an Australian punk rock band that has played many tours and festivals with NOFX, and have their music distribution outside Australia handled by Mike's Fat Wreck Chords label.
- 1988: Liberal Animation
- 1989: S&M Airlines
- 1991: Ribbed
- 1992: White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean
- 1994: Punk in Drublic
- 1996: Heavy Petting Zoo
- 1997: So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes
- 2000: Pump up the Valuum
- 2003: The War on Errorism
- 2006: Wolves in Wolves' Clothing
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