I 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.
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