I was just sending messages to my awesome friends Pete and Mary Alice who seemed to have both reconnected with the love for NOFX. Well you two, this is for you:
I was reading my Twitters this morning and came across once from Alternative Press. The Tweet had a link to AP’s site where they were offering a new NOFX song for download. The song “The Quitter” is from their upcoming release called Coaster due out April 28th on Fat Wreck Chords. What an awesome way to start my day!
For the first time ever punk veterans NOFX did something that might be actually considered “going commercial” by creating a show that was broadcast on TV in 2008. Last Spring NOFX teamed up with real music station FUSE TV and put out the hilarious yet eye opening series called NOFX Backstage Passport. The two disc DVD was finally released by the band’s very own Fat Wreck Chords so that now fans can watch this very original show over and over again.
The eight episode documentary that took place from September of 2006 to November 2007 featured NOFX on tour in unfamiliar countries showcasing not only their live performances to their fans but also aired their down time and behind the scene troubles trying to get from one country to another. The result is a show that is like a punk rock No Reservations complete with drunks, drugs, and disaster.
Any fan of punk rock knows who NOFX is; now admitting you are a fan of NOFX is another thing. Formed in 1983 the band achieved their own success doing things their way with no commercial help. Having never signed to a major label, they ignored requests for radio airplay as well as refused to have their music videos aired. They are godfathers of punk to many and have toured the world as well as have been a staple to the punk rock summer camp also known as the Van’s Warped Tour.
I have been a fan of NOFX since I got my first taste of their adaptation of punk rock music when I was in high school. 14 years ago I purchased a VHS movie put out by them called Ten Years Of F*cking Up. I swear I watched that video until the tape wore thin. Their live videos were entertaining in a sense that they just did not care. Not just seeing them on the television, I have caught them numerous times live as well, I guess you can say like these guys a little.
The moment I heard that they would be putting a show on FUSE TV I made sure I set my DVR to record because I knew I was going to enjoy it. From the first episode of NOFX Backstage Passport started I was hooked. With only eight episodes of course I wanted more but thankfully the two disc DVD is now a part of my collection so I can go back and enjoy their tour.
The intro song performed by NOFX pretty much summed up the entire series with:
“We’re NOFX, screwing up since 1983 / These days we’ve got mortgages and families / So we’re going on a sketchy tour / No country is too obscure / We’re going to drink and golf and fight and snort / We’re NOFX this is punk rock passport”
Just alone in the first episode, it is learned that the series would revolve around NOFX playing in countries that punk bands normally would never tour in. While a comedic gesture it also proves to be the band’s biggest challenge ever.
The band, as if no one knows, includes Fat Mike, Smelly, Eric Melvin, and El Hefe. Along side the band, their manager Kent was introduced (who becomes a major part of the show, mostly because of his drinking habits) as were multiple crew members (Rugly, Wilkie, Carlos, Jeff, Ryan, Limo & Jay) who are more like family over employees.
Seeing the band at the beginning of the episode leave their actual families for the tour proved that these careless musicians are people too and I almost felt bad for them. As exciting as a world tour would be, I can only imagine how tough it is to leave your loved ones.
The reality of their idea soon is shattered at some of the first episodes when the fans actually turn on the band during a couple of shows because of an instrument mishap as well as a failed joke turned insult. It’s wild to think that such a thing could happen to a band like NOFX but it did and fans were pretty pissed off at the band. If that was not bad enough a later venue the band showed up at had no idea that they were even supposed to play and the band was soon forced to leave the country because of death threats their mindless promoter was receiving.
The promoters NOFX worked with to get this tour working were novice if not scam artists. Some of them kept promising Kent money and never delivered while others just continued to dish out lies.
It was actually sad to see the band get screwed out of money from those brainless promoters, yet humorous to see Kent negotiate with them sternly, fueled by anger and sometimes alcohol. Kent alone stole the show at times especially during the one episode where he just kept drinking and eventually was carried away. At the end of the series Ken makes a wise and bold choice that will change his life for the good.
Though the band seemed to have nothing but disappointment during most of their tour in many of the episodes, there were a handful of stops that they made the best of. From hanging out with curious youth who become excited at one of the roadie’s tattoos to cuddling with wild animals and even swimming in the Dead Sea, NOFX and crew seem to ignore the bad and enjoy their surroundings with what they had. They even gave acoustic apologies to fans outside their hotel at one point due to a canceled show that quite possibly even lifted the band member’s hopes more so about the situation they were stuck in.
During one of the episodes NOFX randomly made friends with a local while hanging out at a bar. The local had never heard of NOFX let alone punk rock music and the band was quick to invite him to see their live show for a real taste of punk rock. The smile alone on the local’s face during the show was priceless. The band even went so far in one country to self promote themselves reflecting their younger days as an unheard of punk rock band in California. After all, many of the countries NOFX toured in had no real idea who they were let alone sold their material at local music shops.
From missing band members to strange green powders and some S&M whipping and pain, you clearly are involved in punk rock shenanigans like none other. Throughout the series I was actually wondering to myself if the band would ever make it home alive and had a very hard time waiting in between episodes to see what happened next. Thanks to DVD there was no waiting between episodes. I watched the entire series in one sitting and was ok with my decision to kill an afternoon doing so. I seriously could talk about this show all day but I really do not want to ruin it for you.
The first disc contains all eight episodes with the band touring in such countries as Brazil, Peru, and Russia. The second disc is loaded with over two hours of bonus footage from each episode that soon loses it’s appeal. I really wish the footage would have been included with each episode almost like an uncut version but other then that I have no complaints. There is also a enclosed NOFX passport full of photos, set lists, and other added memories from the tour.
The release on DVD was supposed to be uncensored but somehow the original footage was lost so the broadcasted episodes on disc one is exactly how it was seen on Fuse. The deleted scenes however are full of wholesome cussing and fowl mouthed hilarity. The series were limited on cable thanks to censorship, commercials, and week long waits but I assure you this DVD will make up for all of that. Loaded with hilarious adventures this DVD will not disappoint and if you think all musicians have it easy, think again. Granted NOFX traveled in no man’s land at times and narrowly escaped with their lives, this is visual proof of how badly a world tour can go and how awesome the experience can be by taking chances.
Want to buy a copy? For only $15 it can be yours. Head over to Fat Wreck Chords to buy a copy online.
1: Episode 1: Brazil, Chile Watch
2: Episode 2: Argentina, Ecuador, Peru
3: Episode 3: Japan, Singapore
4: Episode 4: Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, China
5: Episode 5: Indonesia
6: Episode 6: Israel
7: Episode 7: Russia
8: Episode 8: South Africa
If someone were to ask you who the greatest band of your time was, what would you say?
I myself would be speechless and have no response. That is just too tough of a question to answer.
To me it is impossible to label just one band being “the greatest band of my time”. Still there are a lot of bands out there I see could hold the title if I had to be forced to make a decision (to each their own of course). With so many genres of music I love along with the tons of artists that have my respect I think I might be able to narrow it down a little, but I know I would be missing out on someone who deserves credit so we shall just call this a sample.
Here are a couple of bands that stand out as great to me and reasons why:
NIN – Since I was a kid I have loved this band. I learned of them freshman year in high school when some lame jock kid found a cassette tape in his locker that was next to mine. He was going to throw it away but decided I was a better target and tossed it at me. It was a copy of Pretty Hate Machine and I remember that day throwing it into my big 4 AA battery of a hog yellow Sony Walkman. I was hooked instantly. It was a new genre for me seeing how I was all about the Beastie Boys and Metallica. Every album that NIN has released I enjoyed tremendously. I still find it a shame though that it took me over 15 years to see them live… It was amazing though. NIN blew me away and I almost hate myself for missing them live so many times…
Pantera – I was introduced to them thanks to some illegal substance smoking friends back in high school. I was already a fan of metal but there was something about Pantera that just grabbed me. Maybe it was Phil Anselmo’s voice or Vinnie Paul and Dime Bag Darrell’s musical capabilities. They were one of my first live shows and even if some of their beginning albums were hair metal and concluding albums seemed a little weak to me I am still a fan of Cowboys from Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven.
Faith No More / Mike Patton – Mike Patton is a musical god and I wish to hell Faith No More would group together just for one more last hurrah. Ever since “Epic” was featured on MTV I labeled myself a fan. Throughout the years Faith No More went their own ways and Mike Patton continued his uniqueness in bands like Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk and Peeping Tom. Sure it got a little weird sometimes especially when he worked with jazz experimentalist John Zorn but it still was Mike Patton!
Bjork – Yeah I know…call me what you want but I love Bjork. I did not really appreciate her until I picked up Homogenic. That album changed the way I started to look at music. Perhaps I was growing up but saddening loud metal and screaming bloody murder just did not seem as exciting. Her voice was so depressing in songs yet so happy. It may not make much sense but I know what I like and I love Bjork.
Radiohead – This English rock band is and will always be one of my favorite bands of all time. I rocked out to them since their first album was released. “Creep” grabbed my grunge attention when I was sporting flannels and saying how great Nirvana and Pearl Jam were. As years passed their music became a little too much for some but not for me. I loved OK Computer and Kid A because I found them so unique. I would listen to each album over and over singing along with a smile on my face. That to me is a great band.
NoFX – Drug infused punk rock music since the 80’s who now are successful after capturing pop punk rock at its opening stages. Saying no to commercial radio and MTV the band made their own success literally. The band may not have your top quality musicians but their look on life, politics, and themselves make for one hilarious act.
So that was my small piece. I could change the above six to other bands easily but they were the first that came to mind… Misfits, Iron Maiden, Rolling Stones, Minor Threat, and even Tupac… There are so many other heavy hitting bands/musicians that I could talk about…
What are some bands you consider your greatest band of your time?