There are varying degrees of truthfulness in interviews. There’s honest, then there’s revealing, then “wow,” and finally, “Holy sh–, did they just say that?” NOFX frontman Fat Mike has so many “Holy sh–” moments you actually find yourself replaying the audio to make sure you’re not crazy. Then again, that is part of what makes such a strong bond between the band and their fans.
At this past weekend’s Riot Fest in Chicago, as the band performed Punk in Drublic in its entirety, the crowd yelled along with every word and crowd-surfed in glee over the mud-soaked field. The following day, Fat Mike sat down with Billboard to reveal details about their upcoming Backstage Passport 2, a series documenting the band’s life on the road, and share several stories that left us laughing and speechless.
You are the funniest mother—er in rock.
Ah, thank you! Such a nice thing to say.
I think you said Offspring were the seventh best band at Riot Fest.
I was lying; they were a lot worse than that. We went to see Rise Against; they’re very good. I think the best band on Riot Fest is Weezer. If you count the Blue Album, the Green Album and Pinkerton, and they’re doing Pinkerton, I will f—ing be there for all of Pinkerton. My friend is “Pink Triangle,” Cindy Mah, she’s the girl they wrote about. I used to give Rivers [Cuomo] Vicodin every day on the Warped tour. He’d knock on my bus door, “Mike, can I get that thing again?”
Are there bands you are excited to catch up with and are proud of the way they handle themselves?
So many bands I am so proud of. The thing that bothers me most is some of the best bands on my label didn’t get big, like Real McKenzies, they’re f—ing real punk rockers. When I was recording them, they’re doing speed, smoking crack, they actually shot up ketamine. I’m trying to produce this record and I’m like, “This is awesome, a real punk band.”
Is ketamine real punk though?
Shooting it up is. What is real punk? You can throw a can of beans on an old person and say, “I’m punk.” Punk is anything that is antisocial really.
What is punk then to you?
Punk music is great music played by sh–ty drunk musicians who are also on drugs.
When did punk start?
I’m gonna go with the Ramones. Stooges were a garage band who got crazy, MC5 just played a little fast and were political. But MC5 started punk? No f—ing way. Ramones, they were the band that first of all went to the U.K. and started 80 bands ’cause of how great they were. And in New York there were a few bands before them: the Vibrators, Dictators, they kind of had the sound, but they were metal. Ramones were idiot kids on drugs that did it.
What is coming up for you guys as a band?
We have Backstage Passport 2, which is coming out. We’re working on a deal with Netflix, which should be very cool, exclusive Netflix content. We had Backstage Passport 1, where we went to countries no one ever goes to, snorting ketamine and ecstasy in Singapore, which you’re not supposed to do, Israel, Russia, Indonesia, Philippines. We got in a lot of trouble and made no money. It was a disaster, but it was a lot of fun. This one is more about South America and making up all the shows that got canceled in the riots and also about me being — I’m not gonna say a drug addict, ’cause when I’m off tour I don’t do drugs, but an excessive drug user, and you get to see me at my worst. It was probably the worst night of my life as far as behavior, it was in Monterey, Mexico. It was all on film.
Are there moments where you look at it and think you shouldn’t release the material?
I do stuff all the time where I think, “What the f— was I doing?” That’s my fiancée, I’ll drink her piss, and the next day I’ll be like, “If I was sober I probably wouldn’t have drank her piss.”
So what happened in Monterey, Mexico?
It’s not a big deal, it’s just everyone kept saying how great the coke was there. We play a lot of places where they do drugs, we play a lot of shows with no drugs, whatever, it’s no big deal. We played this show and everyone was like, “They have the best coke here.” And after the show I was like, “Where is this coke?” The promoter was getting it for me, and everyone said after the show I drank excessively and it turned into this thing where I was very angry and it was childish and I was a f—ing asshole. It was the worst behavior of my life. We put it out there and it makes me look like an asshole and I’m not happy about it, but it’s the truth and it was the worst behavior I think of my life. Kind of cool you got it on film.
Do you learn from watching the footage?
It doesn’t happen anymore. I’m not gonna stop doing coke, are you crazy? I didn’t try it until I was 32.
What is the drug of choice now?
I think ecstasy is the best drug. Me and my lady have so many incredible times. There are too many.
What is coming up for you musically?
Nothing. We have a book coming out . We don’t have a title. It’s like [Motley Crue‘s] The Dirt; everyone came clean with a bunch of crazy sh–. Our drummer, who was a junkie for a long time, one of his stories is how he had a bunch of packs of heroin in his mouth, scoring, got pulled over, so he swallowed them all. The next day he drank a bunch of coffee and sh– into his mom’s colander and had to get the bags out of his sh–, rinse it out and put the colander back in the drawer — stuff like that. We also talk about the time my lady put saline solution in my tits, 250 CC’s in each one, in Jamaica, and gave me breasts. I had big tits, I was walking down the beach.