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NOFX has become ‘kind of an adult band’
BY GARY CHUN / firstname.lastname@example.org
“Punk rock should always have socially offensive lyrics.”
With The 86 List and Completely Insane
Where: The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Info: 855-235-2867 or flavorus.com
So says “Fat Mike” Burkett, who should know this as lead man for the seminal Southern California punk band NOFX, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a limited-edition box set, including all studio albums and a stage banner.
Three decades in the biz hasn’t slowed down Burkett one bit. The band’s most recent album, its 12th, “Self/Entitled,” is full of old-school moshing fury and attitude, and clocks in at a concise half-hour.
While the lyrics aren’t necessarily “offensive” in their wording, Burkett’s thoughts are certainly pointed and provocative.
One of his favorite songs, “Cell Out,” tackles the usual cynical observation of “I liked your band better at the beginning.” “This Machine Is 4″ aims its bile at a system that “feeds the rich and cheats the poor.”
A self-avowed atheist, Burkett sings “I Believe in Goddess,” and he dismisses his hangers-on and apologists with “My Sycophant Others.”
“I’m not down on life. In fact, I’m having an awesome time. It’s just that I like to sing about social injustice. Sing about what you know, right?”
BURKETT AND the guys have been regular visitors to Hawaii since the band’s start, and will enjoy a collective family vacation this weekend when they play on Maui tonight and on Oahu on Saturday.
“Our visits in the past have usually been pretty crazy,” he said by phone from Los Angeles last week. “I remember our first gigs there were two nights in this tiny bar. Now I’m looking to spend my days being on the beach with my girlfriend.”
His girlfriend is fetish performer Soma Snakeoil, whose latest project, the short film “Rubber Bordello,” includes a ragtime score by Burkett. An interview with the Onion A.V. Club back in December revealed that Burkett is involved with BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance/submission and sadomasochism).
“I’ve been doing this since I was 18,” the 46-year-old said matter-of-factly. “Soma and I have a studio apartment in L.A. that we converted into a dungeon. Not many people know about this side of my life because I haven’t written songs about it. And we make sure it’s something that we keep away from our 8- and 13-year-old kids.”
While that has been the one constant in his private adult life, Burkett has been able to ride out the changes that have gone on with NOFX and his label Fat Wreck Chords over the years.
“The label has come full circle. Of course, it’s not selling as many records as it did in the ’90s, so the operation has been pared down. But what is cool is that the office becomes a record store twice a month for three hours, and the older and younger bands come by to play.
“We’re a good band,” said Burkett, “kind of an adult band now since I’m singing more about adult themes … somewhat more intellectual, more political. We’re certainly never been as pop as Blink-182, although us and Bad Religion are known for our sense of melody.
“NOFX has never tried to be a really popular band. We’re basically the same band as we were back in ’83. We’ve just tried to make our music as best as can be.
“NOFX is my life, so it has to stand for something,” Burkett said.