Tag Archives: Tony Sly

Album Review: NOFX – First Ditch Effort

NOFX - First Ditch EffortI can sit here and blow a bunch of smoke up all the buttholes of NOFX, but for the sake of time and whatnot, I will skip a few paragraphs of introduction and get to the point.

Chances are if you are reading this, you already know of NOFX and do not need to read any type of introduction, but just in case you have no idea who I am speaking of, I will put in a small, small intro.

So here’s my review:

NOFX have a new album.  It’s called First Ditch Effort.  It’s freaking good.  After 4 long years, the foursome is back and have taken their 13th release and made it a personal triumph of sorts.  I should mention that the band has been around for 30 years now too.

Impressive.

This album was not like the others.  Where I was used to drug fueled witty pokes at anything and everything, this album was serious and seemingly was written from torn pages of the band’s personal journals.

“Six Years On Dope” started with Fat Mike and Melvin arguing who should scream / sing the song.  This romper of a track was a confessional tale of sorts with both Melvin and Fat Mike disclosing their lower times of hardcore partying.  Not surprising, the track was catchy as hell, but destructive in hearing all these two have been through.

“Happy Father’s Day” continued with heavy riffs and had Fat Mike more or less vanquish his father figure.

“Sid and Nancy” is a punk rock conspirator’s dream track in that Fat Mike and crew suggested Nancy Reagan killed Sid Vicious.  Providing an insight to what happened by the hands of Nancy proved to be quite interesting to listen to and very well could become the start to what would be a killer cult movie.

“California Drought” referenced Fat Mike’s current cleanse he been experiencing after years of recreational drug use.  The positives were null in this track as Fat Mike sung about the struggle on wanting to use when he knows he can’t.  It was cool to hear El Hefe supply a horn solo in the middle of this track.

“Oxy Moronic” was brilliant.  Pointing the fingers at the big pharmaceuticals with plenty of tongue-and-cheek references to the thousands of stupid drug names, this track was all about exposing the doctors who prescribe for profit.  See below for the Funny or Die created music video.

Listening to “I Don’t Like Me Anymore” was like listening to Fat Mike have an intervention with himself.  The content of this song was nothing positive, but man, this song ripped.  If this track is what makes Fat Mike feel better about his actions and future, then I would say this is a win.

Maybe it was because of the NOFX autobiography released earlier this year exposing the truth of the band, or maybe it was just for the hell of it, but “I’m a Transvest-Lite” was all about Fat Mike and his cross-dressing tendencies.  As he is open to his dressing preferences these days, the song talked about his secret over the years and how he’s ok with not going full forced cross-dressing as he is too lazy to apply makeup.  He ended the track perfectly with: “You gotta know it’s not just girls who wanna have fun.”

Listening to “I’m So Sorry Tony” was tough for me and really had me bumming after listening to it for like four times in a row.  For years now, I have been waiting for this song.  Ever since Sly left this world, there have been songs and tributes, but I’ve always wanted to hear Fat Mike’s take.  This song was all heart and took it past band mates to a family level.  Forget that Sly was an amazing musician, Sly was also a voice of reason and an inspiration and Fat Mike really emphasized that in this song.  Listen to this track and you’ll get chills, especially the ending…

“Generation Z” could be the last song Fat Mike and crew ever write and I would be ok with it.  This track was about the foreseen sad future according NOFX as seen by the youth with them being the last.  Not holding back, Fat Mike wished his daughters nothing but the best in this messed up world.  Being a father myself, it was kind of rough to hear the lie: “so we tell our daughters and our sons that they’re not the  final ones to see this planet as a decent place to live.”  As if that did not hit me hard enough, hearing Fat Mike’s kids perform a spoken word, just left this record ending in a whole mess of emotions.

It’s been a couple of weeks since this album dropped and I admit I held off on finishing this review as I just kept telling myself to listen to the album one more time.  With each listen, I am becoming a bigger fan of it.  It’s intense to hear an album full of realizations from a band that used be known for partying their asses off.

Having seen this band at least 15 times live in my life and have called myself a fan of them since I was about 17, I can see that these Peter Pan punk rockers are finally growing up a bit and cherishing all they have accomplished.

NOFX is touring with Pears and Useless ID and I am hoping I can check them all out:

10/22/16 Waterfront Park – San Diego, CA
11/02/16 Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
11/03/16 Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
11/04/16 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC Canada
11/05/16 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC Canada
11/07/16 Union Hall – Edmonton, AB Canada
11/08/16 Union Hall – Edmonton, AB Canada
11/09/16 MacEwan Hall – Calgary, AB Canada
11/11/16 Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, MB Canada
11/12/16 Cabooze on the West Bank – Minneapolis, MN
11/13/16 The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
11/14/16 House of Blues – Cleveland, OH
11/16/16 Sokol Auditorium – Omaha, NE
11/17/16 Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS
11/18/16 Gas Monkey Live! – Dallas, TX
03/10/17 On A Cruise Ship – Miami, FL
03/18/17 Pot of Gold Music Festival – Chandler, AZ

 

Tony Sly Tribute Album To Drop This Fall

I still have a tough time believing that it has been a year since Tony Sly left this world.  Sure, I did not know him personally, but I was pretty damn good pals with the music he wrote seeing how much I listened to it.  To this day, I still listen to No Use For A Name as well as his acoustic material.  It will forever be on my playlist.

I remember bumping shoulders with him backstage at a Cincinnati Warped Tour years ago where I was more concerned about how many beers I had consumed over taking in all that was going on around me.  I was quick to apologize and he just smiled at me as he and the rest of his band headed to the stage to play some songs to a sea of fans.  I recall taking in their set and telling my partner in crime that day how lucky I felt to have just seen them play live again.

On October 29th, Fat Wreck Chords will officially release The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute.  This important release will include 26 covers of Tony Sly songs from Tony’s friends such as Bad Religion, Rise Against, Frank Turner, Anti-Flag, The Bouncing Souls, The Gaslight Anthem, and many many more.  I am still waiting for more details on when the album can be pre-ordered and check FatWreck.com almost daily as I know the vinyl version of this will be something that will sell out quickly.

Tony Sly Tribute

The good folk at Fat had this to say about the upcoming release: “We can’t express how much it means to us and Tony’s family that each of the artists and bands on this album took the time and effort to contribute such meaningful and interesting interpretations of Tony’s songs. All proceeds from this compilation will go to the Tony Sly Memorial Fund.”

Tony Sly passed away in his sleep on July 31st, 2012.  He was 42 years old.

Babble Blog: Spending My Friday Night w/ Grandma, NOFX, & Friends

So as many of you know last weekend I took Friday off of work and headed down to Cincinnati/Covington, KY with my pals to take in a NOFX show.  My previous post obviously is the review of the show itself but sometimes I feel the need to review my weekend for everyone’s entertainment.  After having an interesting yet busy week I was stoked to just get away even if it was for just one night.

After dropping of my dogs at my folks I headed to Columbus with my pal Kolb to pick up Pete and Mary Alice aka The Electric Grandmother and from there the trip would be in full effect.  Weeks earlier we agreed that it would be awesome to take a road trip to see NOFX, Tony Sly, and Teenage Bottlerocket.  Hang out with old friends and see one of my favorite punk bands?  Yes please.  To make matters even better I had just found out a couple days prior to the show that a band I recently became an instant fan of, The Menzingers, were opening!  I was just thrilled and could not wait for Friday night at the Madison Theater.

Before continuing our drive we of course had to stop at one of my favorite bars in Columbus to grab a late breakfast.  Granted I had only been to The Blue Danube once before I deemed it my favorite place for breakfast in Columbus after trying their vegetarian breakfast burrito.  I wish I would have taken a picture of it but my stomach was too quick and I devoured the huge burrito full of eggs, potatoes, and all sorts of veggies and cheese.  I took a chance eating that monster of a meal and getting trapped into a food coma but I lucked out and was fine.  Once we were all nice and full we hopped in the car and proceeded to Covington, KY to our hotel.

It was about 4pm when we got to our hotel and with time to kill we all decided to chill out for a bit.  I took the opportunity to check my email and discovered I was supposed to interview the Menzingers.  Although I did not have my gear for an interview I decided to give the band a call anyways and see what we could work out.  Man am I glad I called them.

Greg, the guitarist, answered the phone and after a couple of confusing seconds he realized I was not just some random person and we started chatting.  He sounded stressed out and I soon found out why when he said he and the band were running late on account of their drumming having what they thought was food poisoning.  From what I learned the drummer might have eaten some bad shellfish and was not in good shape causing multiple stops along the highway.  Greg did not know if he should take him to the hospital or just let him rest but he did know that he was having a tough time getting in touch with the tour managers and that the band was going to have to sit Friday night out.

Not wanting to take up too much more of their time I wished them luck and told him we could do an interview another time.  With all the hell going on Greg was super cool through the phone conversation and even texted me later in the evening letting me know that they were in fact not going to make it and were able to get a hold of Teenage Bottlerocket to let them know.  As bummed out as I was to not be able to see the Menzingers that night I was not about to be selfish about it and knew that health is way more important that rocking out.

I am just glad I checked my email when I did.

At around 5:30 we regrouped and headed over to my favorite Irish pub in Covington, Molly Malone’s.  Grabbing some dinner and a couple pints we just relaxed for a bit and talked about what we thought we would expect during the night.  I can tell you this, if you are ever in Covington, KY go to Molly Malone’s and get a pint of Guinness.  They pour it perfectly and even embed a shamrock on the head of the beer.  The food is pretty damn delicious too.

Deciding to hoof it to the Madison Theater we made it there in no time.  The place was like the Agora but with less isles to access the standing areas.  I already wrote about the show so if you missed it click HERE and read away.  Sadly I did not take a lot of photos at this venue but the couple I did are enough to remind me of the awesome evening.

Towards the end of the show a girl who sat by us in the balcony invited us to the Mad Hatter for a Loudmouth after party.  They were the band that started off the concert that night in case you missed my review of the show.  She kept saying NOFX was going there too but honestly I was not sure if that was really going to happen.  She was cool as hell to talk to and very nice but after talking with my gang we decided to skip it after we saw people handing fliers out for it.  I doubted my self a couple of times throughout the rest of the night but honestly I was happy with our decision to head back to Molly Malone’s for $1 Killians.

As we walked back to Molly Malone’s we kept talking smack to one another and bragged how much Killians we were each going to drink. As we rounded the corner we ran into a sketchy looking fellow who started talking to us about the Mad Hatter.  He kept eying up my camera I had in my hand and looked to size up Kolb.  For a brief moment I thought that there might have been an incident brewing up but soon realized the kid was just hammered and so was his friend who was pissing in the alley.

Molly Malone’s was packed when we got there.  I bought the first round and as we drank our tiny little plastic cupped Killians we realized we would rather just go back to the hotel.  Good thing we did because they closed the patio as we were finishing up and I really did not want to listen to the cover band that was playing in the pub.

Me and Pete with special guest Kolb in the back...

Did you know that in Kentucky they stop selling alcohol at 1am at most gas stations and stores?  We didn’t.  We found that our rather quickly and chose to try and find a bar within walking distance to have a couple more drinks.  While doing so we met up with these two guys who said they saw NOFX too.  We all thought we found a sports bar but it was closed.  The two guys pointed down the street to another bar they said they just came from and told us they would meet us there.  After a failed attempt at buying beer at a BP we decided to head over there.  The place was called Joy’s and it was DEAD.

For about an hour we sat and had drinks and started talking about 9/11 of all things.  Funny what alcohol does to bring back those memories you try and not think of often.  Still, it was good conversation with some of my favorite people in the world.  Joy finally asked us to leave around 2:30 in the morning so we thanked her for letting us hang out at her bar and were going to call it a night – or so we thought.

Late night hunger crept up on us all.  Kolb decided to go back to BP for snacks and the rest of us were going to try and fight the urge until we saw there was a White Castle right in front of our freaking hotel.  We must have waited 10 minutes before we came to our senses and got out of there.  During that 10 minutes we made fun of drunks who were passed out at various tables including one guy who was old enough to be my grandfather.  We were not that drunk and we sure did not need stomach aches so back to the hotel we went and we grabbed some overpriced snacks at the front desk.  Yum…Combos.

Saturday morning came way too soon but as much as I wanted to sleep in I knew I had to get up and start the day.  What better way to start the day than an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet???  Let’s just say there is nothing like a giant Belgian waffle, a made-to-order omelette, and a pot of coffee to get your day started.  I did not eat nearly as someone else who’s name I will not mention did but lets just say a dozen eggs may have been used up rather quickly…

Pete and Mary Alice wanted to check out some place called the Creation Museum that was about 20 minutes away.  I will be sure to put a link RIGHT HERE once they post something on their blog about this place.  From what they told me later on this place believed dinosaurs and humans coexisted and Earth was only 4000 years old.  Now I am not that religious but I studied my ass off in science and history classes and spite what my folks think paid attention in Sunday school…  I was not having it and did not want to go.  Plus I heard they take their beliefs very seriously and if you make a mockery out of them the place will ask you to leave.  I am not about to pay money only to be thrown out after three minutes from laughing my ass off.

So I dropped Pete and Mary Alice off at the Creation Museum and headed to Newport, KY with Kolb to catch a movie while they learned about dinosaurs and bibles.  Kolb and I caught The Losers (I thought it was great in case you were wondering) on the big screen and then returned to the Creation Museum to pick up the happy couple.  I kept my fingers crossed that they would not be in white robes waiting for me outside the establishment.  Luckily they were not brainwashed when I picked them up and even bought me a bumper sticker!

Time was speeding by so we canceled our trip to Ikea and Shake-It Records in favor of having dinner with a very close friend of mine and his soon to be new family.  We opted to have Thai at some mom and pop place down the street from his house.  The place was frigging amazing.  That might have been the best pad thai with tofu I had ever had in my life.  Their sushi was less than desirable but the main encore was perfect.

I really wish we had more time to kill as we were all enjoying ourselves at dinner but we all had to head home after dinner.  We said our goodbyes and headed back to Columbus.  We said goodbye to Pete and Mary Alice and continued home.

It was the quickest day in history if you ask me and before I knew it the sun was setting and I was just getting on to I-76 about to get back to reality.  It was a great hangout with friends that included a great punk show.  I needed that…

I am already thinking about my next road trip.  Gaslight Anthem in Detroit or Columbus this July anyone?

The Fermented & Flailing Tour Featuring NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, & Tony Sly – Madison Theater – Covington, KY – 04/30/2010 – Concert Review

Punk rockers of all shapes, sizes, and age filled up the Madison Theater last Friday night to see the Fermented & Flailing Tour in Covington, KY.  The tour, featuring long time independent punkers NOFX with special guests Teenage Bottlerocket as well as Tony Sly of No Use For A Name (NUFAN), did not make it to Northern Ohio during this tour as much as I would have like it to have, but I did the next best thing and drove 4 hours to the tour and do not regret it one bit.

I was highly bummed out when I arrived to Covington in the afternoon as I found out first hand that another band that has been touring with them, The Menzingers, were cancelling their performance that night due to food poisoning.  I was actually on the phone with Greg, the guitarist of the band, trying to set up an interview with them before the show when he informed me that they were behind in schedule and considering going to a hospital as their drummer, and friend, was not in good shape.  As much as I wished I could have seen this amazing up and coming band I understood the situation and wish them luck.  There is always a next time.

The Madison Theater was packed by the time I got there and after scoping out the area and seeing how inconvenient the photo area was I decided to forfeit the idea of getting up close and snapping some shots of the bands.  As much as I wanted to it just was not a good idea.  The stage overlapped the sectioned off area and there was hardly enough room for the bouncers to stand there and do their thing.  Not to mention this venue did not have adequate isles or areas where people could move freely around the sides.  I made my choice and was ok with it.  I was still able to snap off a couple shots but more importantly I still was going to enjoy the show.

Locals Loudmouth opened the night with their impressive 90’s inspired pop punk / ska sounds.  There were a ton of fans in the house that were very aware of who this act was who hail from the Cincinnati / Covington areas.  Their lead singer admitted that he had “whiskey hawk” in between songs and pointed at the green mat of hair on his head promising that he tried to get it up over and over.  The band clearly was stoked to be sharing the stage with members of the Fat Wreck Chords family and put forth a great set.  I am kicking myself still as I missed their merch table after the show but I plan on looking into these guys some more very soon.

Tony Sly, seasoned punk rocker and front man of NUFAN, took the stage with his acoustic guitar in hand and informed the crowd he wanted to play some songs.  The response some of the crowd gave him was disrespectful as they booed him.  Sly did not let that bother him and played songs off this new album such as “Keira” and “Already Won”.  I know I was excited to hear “Toaster In The Bathtub” and “Soulmate”, a NUFAN cover that I could not help but sing along with.

I cannot say that everyone in house was rude to him but there were enough drunk fools around where I was that just went overboard making fun of him to make my blood boil.  Perhaps an acoustic set was not what those concert goers were looking for that night but I think what pissed me off the most was that all the folk who were mocking and booing him literally had no idea who he was.  This guy helped pave the punk rock road that these kids were standing on and they had no idea who he was – I guess I just wish those coming to early conclusions could have been a little more educated.

The brave Sly continued through his set and thanked everyone for listening to him.  An intimate performance down the street at Molly Malone’s may have been more appropriate for his set but honestly I was not complaining and was thrilled to have finally seen him live on his own.  Still I could not believe how many so-called punk rockers booed him…

Power pop punks Teenage Bottlerocket (TBR) delivered a killer set opening with “Skate Or Die” and pretty much did not  break until their last song.  Their punk rock thrash assault on the crowd had the tightly packed venue going insane with tracks like “Bigger Than Kiss”, “I Don’t Wanna Go” and of course brought more calamity when they announced they were going to play “30 Seconds Of Rad” and commanded all to a pogo throw-down.  Their set was fun, fast, and just what was needed to get the fans ready for the headliner.  Most folk there that night may have solely came to see NOFX but I am positive that they left glad they were there in time to see Teenage Bottlerocket do their thing.

The venue seemed much warmer once TBR left the stage and was filled with smoke from cigarettes and other substances.  I decided to head up to the balcony area and I did so just in time as NOFX emerged on stage.  The foursome clearly was pre-gaming it a bit before performing that night but did not hesitate to play for all who paid to see them.  Greeting the crowd Fat Mike noticed a fan in a wheelchair and asked her to be brought onto stage.  After words were exchanged between band and bouncer the girl finally emerged to the left of the stage and had the best seat in the house.  The band said they had a song they were going to play her later as she reminded them of someone they once wrote a song for.  Fans all over cheered in approval.

The rest of the night was just a blur of NOFX tracks from their lengthy catalog, insults from the band to the crowd, and just overall madness.  At one brief moment Fat Mike hinted that the band was thinking about playing “The Decline” but a fan in the crowd told him that he played it last time they were in Covington so not wanting to repeat himself Fat Mike said never mind and then joked that the band was thinking of playing Heavy Petting Zoo in it’s entirety.  Sadly that did not happen either and I was rather  bummed out as I have always wanted to hear “The Decline” live.

Poking fun at the crowd, they yelled at fans for waving erratically at them and even pointed out a couple ICP Juggalos who apparently were not ashamed to show up in painted faces.  The fans took the insults just fine and some chose to throw their drinks on stage soaking Fat Mike more than once.

The band did play tons of tracks including “Bob”, “Linoleum”, “Murder The Government” and even “Cokie The Clown” with Eric Melvin lending his pipes.  At one moment El Hefe picked up his trumpet and started playing the opening notes to “Arming The Proletariant With Potato Guns” and I honestly felt privileged as this was the second time I had seen NOFX play the song in less than a year.  They may have had a hard time getting through the jokes this time around but it was still hilarious.

Other tracks the band played included “Kill All The White Man”, “Franco Un-American”, the tear jerking “My Orphan Year”, “Bottles To The Ground”, and even “The Brews” which was the perfect sing along for a Friday night punk rock show.  After a quick encore which included the highly anticipated “She’s Nubs” dedication to the girl who had been on stage all evening the band slowly left the stage while Eric Melvin serenaded the crowd with his accordion skills.  Dodging their stagehand/keyboardist Melvin kept playing songs to everyone for what felt like ten minutes before finally giving up his instrument and calling it a night.

The band may have screwed up on a lot of their songs, were off key more than once, and did not look entirely thrilled to be playing that night but I would never expect anything else.  It was NOFX, they can do whatever the hell they want to do during their show and I would leave satisfied.  Having seen them tons of times in span of 15+ years I know what to expect from the foursome who just do what they want and don’t care what you think.  I can admit that as long as they continue to tour I will be making my best effort to see them live because a NOFX show is just that damn entertaining.