NOFX started as a Berkeley, CA, based trio in '83 but soon relocated to L.A. The group consisted of Fat Mike (Burkett), guitarist Eric Melvin and drummer Erik Sandin. Sandin was the first to leave in '85 and was replaced by Scott Sellers for a couple EPs. Sellers then bailed and Scott Aldahl held the sticks for a couple of weeks until Sandin rejoined.
The group's adventures with drummers was nothing compared to finding the crucial fourth member. In '85, vocalist Dave Allen signed on. Sadly, he was killed in a traffic accident later that year. Figuring they needed to beef up their sound, second guitarist Dave Casillas was added. But by '89 he was gone and Steve Kidwiller was there for NOFX's first full-length album, "S and M Airlines." Kidwiller only lasted a couple
years before Aaron Abeyta (El Hefe - The Boss) took over.
NOFX originally recorded EPs on the Mystic label before moving to Fat Mike's, Fat Wreck Chords imprint. They continued releasing material on Fat Wreck Chords even after they signed with legendary indie label, Epitaph Records.
Epitaph had a serious Punk catalog and a healthy desire to avoid the mainstream - street credibility was essential. That suited NOFX. Epitaph eventually went bankrupt, but so did a lot of other labels, with or without street credibility. Indie life was tough no matter what.
Since '85, NOFX has released EPs and albums regularly. "White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean" got things in gear in '92. Two years later, the group's best effort to date "Punk In Drublic" arrived and went gold. A brief and unfortunate side trip to Grunge ("Heavy Petting Zoo") didn't do any long term damage as NOFX returned to Punk in '97 with "So Long and Thanks For All The Shoes." A couple EPs, "Decline" and "Bottles To The Ground," plus a full-length '00 release, "Pump Up The Valuum," added to the group's already extensive catalog.
NOFX covered Rancid songs and Rancid returned the favor for the '02 shared set "BYO Split Series, Vol. 3." A year later, NOFX launched their anti-George Bush campaign with the politically charged album, "The War On Errorism." That was followed by the Rock Against Bush tour. And finally, "Separation Of Church And Skate" landed on the soundtrack for Tony Hawk's Underground video game.
The '06 EP "Never Trust A Hippy" preceded the full-length "Wolves In Wolves Clothing." And the song "Kill All The White Man" was heard (albeit briefly) in the film Crank - though the full-length version made it to the soundtrack album.
A three-night stand in San Francisco yielded "They've Actually Gotten Worse Live!" In a NOFX press release the album, seen as a follow-up to '95's "I Heard They Suck Live," was called "their sloppiest, drunkest, funniest, best sounding recording ever."
Back in the studio, NOFX issued their 11th album, "Coaster," in '09.
Three years passed before there was another album. "Self Entitled" followed the release of a 7" single, "My Stepdad's A Cop And My Stepmom's A Domme."
With things relatively quite on the NOFX front, the soundtrack for "Home Street Home" a Punk musical, written by Fat Mike, Soma Snakeoil and Jeff Marx, arrived in early '15.
1988 Liberal Animation
1989 S&M Airlines
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
2012 Self Entitled
Whatever Punk started out to be, it has evolved into sarcasm. That's OK, cuz nobody expects Rock to be intellectual, and all but a few who have tried to add weighty comments, has failed. So here we are in the gutter and it's a great place to be.
The thing is, when NOFX are on, they ARE on. "Punk In Drublic" is their best. "So Long and Thanks For The Shoes" and "Pump Up The Valuum" deliver. The latter has the splendid sub-minute "And Now For Something Completely Similar" and the epic (nearly two minutes) "What's The Matter With Parents Today?"
"I Heard They Suck Live" doesn't. In fact, it's clear Blink 182 was listening to this CD in their collective bedrooms, way back when. "Heavy Petting Zoo" is the only dog in NOFX's litter, so pass on that ditty. While EPs are often forgettable they were NOFX's main medium for a considerable portion of their career. So check out the EPs for some great Rock. It's all about speed, angst and something approaching wit - who could ask for more?
"Coaster" is eight ways to brilliant. The set opens with two searing Punk shots, "We Call It America" and "The Quitter." Great start. On "My Orphan Year" Fat Mike sings about losing his parents. Especially potent are the lines about not having time to spend with his dad only to learn of his death, drunk after a show. It's a poignant moment. On the lighter, tongue-in-cheek side, "Creeping Out Sara" admits to liking k.d. lang while confusing Canadians and lesbians (happens all the time).
"Eddie, Bruce And Paul" takes a run at flawed remembrances and "whatever happened to?" questions. "Suits And Ladders" and "One Million Coasters" are simply NOFX Punk - and that's very good. But the killer track is "I'm An Alcoholic." Full of self-loathing and the desire to escape ("like to wake up without feeling sick"), the song has a clever cocktail Jazz break that's almost uplifting.