Flipside 1997 July August


NOFX has sold out. Yup. No two ways around it. Your plumber probably hasn't heard of them, they aren't placed next to the Stone Temple Heroin Addicts or the Smashing Pumpkins playlists, yet unsurprisingly there were no tickets left at Nicholby's in Ventura, the Palladium in L.A., or the Huntridge in Las Vegas - the three shows I caught. This trend continued through Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Brazil and Argentina - the trajectory of this particular tour.

Here are two things I'm quite sure of. 1) There is no - not even one house cleaner in the entire states of Wyoming and Iowa, vacuuming the shit out of a nasty Cheez Whiz and beer stain listening to NOFX's "Liza and Louise," bumping and churning with toddler on hip. 2) There are between on and two thousand punk rock teenagers in the state of Massachusetts alone who are at this very moment, Eastern Standard Time- listening to, singing along to, or forming a band with NOFX as the blueprint. Herein lies great beauty. There is an underground in America and NOFX is one of its kings. Access is less difficult than getting a driver's license, but it does take some effort as long as you understand how to tune into and collect songs that don't get played often on the radio. NOFX are no strangers to punk rock, aren't the next big thing, haven't experienced a meteoric rise to stardom, and don't adhere to a complicated marketing scheme but here they are - the band most mentioned and referred to in the last five years of Flipside - be it praise, curse, wondrous idolatry, bitch, gossip, denouncement, death threat, or the top of a reader's poll.

As national, major labels are quickly figuring out how many licks punk rock can take before its profitable shell is tongued clean and radio interests dissolve from loud and fast and recrystalize around pop music. NOFX continues to plays to - technically speaking - a fuckload of people.

Hey, punk's not for everyone but it's too old to die young and there are enough people around to support it. Green Day's coattails are looking more and more like a tucked-in shirt, the Offspring isn't melting Target's CD racks, and yet with not even a single top ten radio hit, NOFX has a tour bus with a lighted handle which safely guided me up its steps into its quiet confines. I won't lie. I was nervous. It was a delicate interviewing situation.

Flipside had set up an interview a couple of months prior. Blaze and I were virtually minutes away from hopping into his van and gunning it into Hollywood but things had fallen apart due to how NOFX was mentioned and treated by the national press. Climates change, particulars were ironed out, and I wore a t-shirt to prove I had nothing up my sleeve.

The following interview took place in Las Vegas with Fat Mike and Eric Melvin. El Hefe came by and farted into the microphone.

Fat Mike: As I was saying, the Dickies put on a great show at Moguls the other night. Too bad for those fucking cops, though. They ruined everything.  US Bombs, they were great too. And see, like I was telling you, we just played the Palladium and I felt like such a boob going the show. The show was fucked. The Palladium is totally lame and I got talked into playing it.

Todd:  What was with all the shoes thrown up on stage? How many shoes did you collect?

Fat Mike: Probably twenty.

Eric:  I caught one in my mouth.

Todd:  Oh no.

Fat Mike: It happens in the LA, Phoenix, San Diego areas. Once we start going East, people usually hold on to their shoes.

Todd:  They got to walk home. It’s cold.

Fat Mike: That’s right.

Todd:  Who had the fight back stage last night?  Was that Fletcher?

Fat Mike: Yeah, Fletcher from pennywise. Five guys were on him.

Eric:  A guy from the Palladium grabbed our tech by the neck.

Todd:  That’s not good.

Eric: It wasn’t cool.

Fat Mike: And I think Fletcher broke some guy’s jaw. Pretty rough.

Todd:  I’ve heard stories about that guy punching a hole through the top of a Burger King and going through parties spraying people with squirt guns filled with pee.

Fat Mike: That’s standard.

Todd:  Why the hesitancy to give interviews?

El Hefe: Because every time we give interviews, people have been mean to us and rude and it hurts our feelings.

Fat Mike: No. That’s not it at all. There’s two reasons.  First of all, we did a lot of interviews and somehow they filtered into major magazines and they were just lies, a bunch of bullshit. The other reason is we have nothing to say really.

El Hefe: Can I say one thing? (He takes the microphone and honks a carnitas-loaded fart into the microphone)

Fat Mike: The other thing is, we just started lying all the time, making up stories because our interviews were so boring. So then we thought, “What’s the point of lying?” And then now, we don’t like doing them because we’re not looking for publicity anymore.  We’re just looking to play and have fun.  We don’t need to get any bigger. We don’t want to get any bigger.  I saw a friend of mine’s band. They did an interview and a photo – some punk band – whatever, and it was in Spin and it looked so dumb.  And I thought, I don’t want to be there. We are doing this interview because Flipside is the first fanzine I ever bought. It’s cool.

Todd:  What didn’t you like?  What didn’t you want to see?

Fat Mike: I didn’t want to see them in that magazine.  That photo of them…it was like, god. Cause they’re cool guys, they’re friends of mine but they looked like fucking idiots in Spin.

Todd:  Gel and mousse. They look pretty.

Fat Mike: Yeah. I don’t want to be involved in that, you know? We’re really lucky. We’re in a great place. We have a lot of fans and we’re not trying to fool anybody. We’re just putting out records, having a good time.

Todd:  Do you mind telling how many records you’ve sold – the last couple albums – are they selling better or worse?

Fat Mike: Our last couple albums have pretty much plateaued and that’s fine. We’re all making a good living. No problems. The three punk bands that signed and got real big, they have nowhere to go but down. And they all are going down. You know what? We’re staying right where we are and we’re totally happy.

Todd:  Ever played Brazil before?

Fat Mike: No. Six shows in Brazil and two in Argentina.

Todd:  Technical question. NoFX or NOFX?

Fat Mike: All big. That was a Doug Moody thing and some how we got a small “o” being on Mystic.

Todd:  What does it stand for?

Fat Mike: Well, it’s stupid, but when we started the other guys in the band were straight edge, I wasn’t. So, NOFX.

Todd:  Did some of the original members come from the La Cresenta, Montrose area?

Fat Mike: Yeah. Our drummer. We were a three piece and we still have those three original members. Thirteen years now.

Todd:  Wow. You, Melvin, and…Erik?

Fat Mike: Erik.

Todd:  I got confused because I though his name was Herb for some reason.

Fat Mike: He changes his name on all the albums.

Todd:  There we go. That’s why I didn’t recognize it.

Fat Mike:  Herb Reath Stinks – “her breath stinks.”

Todd:  That’s great. I didn’t get that.

Fat Mike: All our old names were like that. Mine was Mike Rackhabit – “my crack habit.”

Todd:  I don’t want to ask this question, but where did the name Fat Mike come from? El Hefe’s bigger than you are.

Fat Mike: You know, I want to get this out because I’m tired of that fucking question. Don’t ever ask me this question again. I was a hundred and thirty pounds and I went to college and they give me this little food card.

Todd:  Ahh, the thirty-meal plan.

Fat Mike: You could eat whatever you want and I gained thirty-five pounds in one school year. I went on tour the next year and every city we went to, people went, “Fuck, you put on some pounds, didn’t ya?” Everywhere we went, everybody started calling me Fat Mike.

Todd:  Who has the biggest tits in the band right now?

Fat Mike: El Hefe.

Todd:  Know his measurements?

Fat Mike: No, but he’s getting pretty big. People who have never seen us before, they go up to him and say, “ Are you Fat Mike?”

Todd:  I bet…has he always played the horn? Does he have any training with that?

Fat Mike: Yeah. He plays horn, piano, skin flute, hanging sax, the male organ, all types of stuff.

Todd:  Where do you guys get your ska influences and your reggae stuff?

Fat Mike: Op Ivy. The Clash. All the good ska and reggae come from punk bands if you ask me. Bad Brains. I got this Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits and I like one song, you know. It has a nice feel to it but the melodies aren’t so great.

Todd:  Can you give me, to the nearest thousand, the number of bands that have spawned to sound like you?

Fat Mike: I dunno.

Todd:  I can’t get through a Flipside without reading about a NOFX rip off. How did you come across this sound?

Fat Mike: I’ll tell you exactly how we got this sound. It’s pretty simple. When we first started, we wanted to sound like RKL. So we started playing songs like RKL. Then Bad Religion. They’ve always been my favorite band.  Suffer came out. We were, “Shoot, maybe we should put some melodies in our stuff.”  So we’re a cross between RKL and Bad Religion. That was all that it was. And all our reviewers used to say, “Sounds like RKL,” “Sounds like RKL.” So now, I guess it’s our sound. And D.I., too. We got the octave chords from D.I.

Todd:  Where’d you get the humor?

Fat Mike: Us. But, you know humor didn’t pay our rent. The first six years were really terrible. People always say, “You’ve gotta tour. The more you tour, the more popular you’re going to become,” but we toured every year for five years straight and we still had forty people at our shows. It was when our albums started getting better.

Todd:  What’s changed the most for you, for being in NOFX for so long?  When you wake up in the morning, what do you realize has changed the most?

Fat Mike: I’m just stoked all the time.

Todd:  I would be too.

Fat Mike I don’t have many worries.

Todd:  How: did you get into the producing side of things? You’ve done the Lunachick’s new album along with Screw 32.

Fat Mike: I dunno, I’ve been in the studio a lot and I just help bands help produce themselves.

Todd:  How is Fat Wreck Chords going?

Fat Mike: Great.

Todd:  Correct me if I’m wrong, one of your first releases was on Fat Wreck and then you guys got signed to Epitaph and now it goes back and forth or some things like White Trash have both logos on them. Is there a formal separation between the two?

Fat Mike: We have nothing to do with each other. In fact, on White Trash, Epitaph put the logo on and they never did that again. Our first album, we put out ourselves and we only sold two thousand copies and then we went to Epitaph.

Todd:  (to Eric Melvin) So you own a coffee store?

Eric:  Um hmm. A coffee store. I call it a café.

Todd:  I roast coffee.

Eric:  Do you really?

Fat Mike: He’s got a coffee yard in the back.

Todd:  Do you know any interesting coffee facts?

Eric:  No.

Todd:  None whatsoever?

Eric:  You mix it with water and it gets really interesting. Yeah, it was something I wanted to do. I thought it would be fun. God, everybody’s got record labels so I thought I’d try something different like not make money. I like it a lot because everyone’s there and everyone comes in and is hanging out and everyone has to eat and drink something so that’s where I get my bucks. People come in everyday and I’ve got a lot of friends who work there.

Fat Mike: It’s just a nice place to hang out.

Eric:  See if it’s going to work, you know.

Todd:  How long has it been open for?

Eric:  Two years.  And it’s getting better and better and I’m learning how to really do it.

Fat Mike: How to really pour the milk in and…

Eric:  Foam it.

Todd:  Nozzle control.

Eric:  There’s such a skill.

Fat Mike: When was the last time you did it?

Eric:  Never. But when you get it just right, the foam stands above the cup. (nice round of laughing)

Todd:  It’s like meringue.

Eric:  It’s really good

Fat Mike: Not me, I don’t like that foam stuff. Straight, no milk, unless it’s rice milk.

Todd: At the coffee shop I work at, I took an informal poll.  Most people who come in are thirty-five or over. About half of them had heard of either Green Day or the Offspring but not one of them had heard of NOFX.

Fat Mike: Good.

Todd:  Why do you think that is?  Is that intentional or a really nice by-product?

Fat Mike: You see, it’s our job to keep punk rock elite. It’s not for everyone.

Todd:  Do you think punk rock’s dying?

Fat Mike: No. I went to that Dickies show last night. It was awesome. It was pure punk rock.

Todd:  Yeah, it’s alive and well.

Fat Mike: We were playing at the non punk rock rock show.

Todd:  How were you teeth? I heard you got hit by the mic.

Fat Mike: A chip here, a chip there. I can take it.

Todd:  Give me three qualities that don’t describe you at all.

Fat Mike: I don’t go for this philosophical stuff…

Eric:  Short-winded.  Is there such a thing?

Todd:  Has to be. There’s long-winded…Do you think there’s still a high level of resentment towards punk rock bands that make more than five dollars a head at a show? Do you think there’s people who think you’ve sold out?

Fat Mike: Sure.

Todd:  Why do you think it’s so prevalent?

Fat Mike: It’s kind of a punk rock thing. I don’t know. It’s just an elitist thing.

Todd:  Elitist?

Fat Mike: Yeah, but I like that about punk rock. I like that it’s …I felt the same way when I was a kid. It’s our scene and when some band tries to get a bigger following, well fuck you, you know. We like it small. We like it how it is. But you know, you can’t have it both ways and we chose to make a living at it and not work in a factory. Fat supports about ten people. I don’t think any of the musicians have to work other jobs…I’m a vegetarian now.

Todd:  Seriously?

Fat Mike: I used to sing songs about how dumb vegetarians were.  “Vegetarian Mumbo Jumbo,” but it has something to do about a cruelty free existence.

Todd:  Do you feel any remorse about hurting vegetarian’s feelings?

Fat Mike: No, I just think people change.

Todd:  It’s all a personal choice.

Fat Mike: It’s all part of being human. Intelligent people they…

Todd:  Cut you a little slack.

Fat Mike: Well, no, you just change. People who don’t change their views aren’t smart people. Some people have a way with words and other shave…not…way. (laughter)

Todd:  What’s the last book you’ve read?

Fat Mike: I’ve been reading this weird book called Twenty-Four, Seventy-Seven A.D.

Todd:  What’s that about?

Fat Mike: Some crazy porn book written by this guy named Gord. It’s a very strange book and don’t ever read it.

Eric:  I’m starting to get through a book called The Holographic Universe.

Fat Mike: Yeah, Erik gave that to me too.

Todd:  Sounds like deep stuff.

Eric:  He was smart and didn’t even start it. It’s kinda interesting. I’ve been trying to read some philosophy lately.

Todd:  Stay away from Foucault.

Fat Mike: Whatever, guy.

Todd:  School damage. Sorry.

Fat Mike: I don’t like reading. The only thing I like reading is pornography.

Todd:  A friend of mine was in Hustler’s Barely Legal last month. She was a “tennis pro.”

Fat Mike: Gala?

Todd:  No. I forget her stage name. Something Pierce, I think.

Fat Mike: My friend Gala wrote this story for Barely Legal.

Eric:  In the December issue.

Todd:  The cool thing about that mag is they make it sound like Sassy. They make it sound like seventeen year old girls read it, which is pretty cool.

Fat Mike: My favorite author is a woman called Pat Califia. She’s this S + M lesbian in San Francisco who writes gnarly bondage stuff. It’s pretty rad.

Eric:  I used to read fantasy and science fiction. That’s what I always read.

Fat Mike: We’re all big fans of what’s his name.

Eric:  Douglas Adams.

Fat Mike: In fact, he’s got a tattoo from it on his neck.

Eric:  Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Todd:  Who’s got the stinkiest ass?

Fat Mike: Our drummer.  His nickname is Smelly.

Todd:  Who has a hidden talent?

Eric: I’m good in bed.

Todd:  Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.

Eric:  I’m learning to play the ukulele. I’m learning to play the banjo, as well.

Fat Mike: I have one, I just don’t play it.

Todd:  Are you thinking about using more horns in future albums?

Fat Mike: Probably not. We’re going to use less. Take out the guitars probably.

Todd:  All drumming.

Fat Mike: Basically. Come on.

Todd:  How do you come across ideas for songs? They don’t seem as arbitrary as others bands’ stuff, but the song “Johnny Appleseed,” for instance, is kinda weird because it deals with a Appalachian folk hero.

Fat Mike: Well, it’s not because what it is about is actually about our drummer, right. Because we’d go on tour and he’d go around and he’d be fucking these girls everywhere. So, it’s not actual apple seeds, it’s him fucking chicks. Planting seeds. So there you go.

Eric:  Then it gets twisted around and El Hefe sings it like…

Fat Mike: See, if you notice all the words in there, they’re all referring to sex.

Todd:  Where did “Lisa and Louise” come from?

Fat Mike: Liza and Louise? (correcting my s to z) that’s directly from pat Califia and Liza. There are references in Liza that absolutely no one will understand unless you read her book, Macho Sluts.

Todd:  Who did you masturbate to when you were kids?

Fat Mike: Absolutely, beck Bondage, all the way.

Eric:  Just about anything.

Fat Mike: Wendy O. Williams.

Todd:  Plasmatics. Whoo. Did you know she married Richard Dean Anderson of MacGyver fame?  I shit you not.

Fat Mike: You shit me so.

Todd:  No I don’t. Honest truth.

Fat Mike: Wow.

Todd:  So are you guys happy all the time. Not happy happy, but satisfied with what you’re doing?

Eric:  Yeah. Things are definitely getting better.

Fat Mike: I cannot think of anything I’d rather do in any way.

Todd:  That’s the perfect answer…Do you think people are trying to get the wrong things out of life? Do you see that a lot?

Fat Mike: Totally. But, you know, there’s not too much choice. You get sucked in.

Todd:  Where did Me First and the Gimme Gimmes come from/

Fat Mike: San Francisco.

Todd:  Is that one of your side projects?

Fat Mike: No. Sorta.

Todd:  It deals with…who is that guy? The Piano Man…Billy Joel.

Fat Mike: It’s actually a cover album.

Todd:  Is anybody interested in doing any other side projects? Are you worried about that?

Eric:  I am. I’m very interested. One question at a time, OK.

Todd:  OK.

Eric:  I’m interested. My friend Kelly is a drummer. He plays in a band called Failure and we did a song for an Amnesty comp. Good time for the tape recorder to stop.

Todd:  Do you want me to?

Eric:  No. We did this for an Amnesty International benefit comp that’s going to be released soon. I think we are going to do some more stuff in the future. Less pop, more experimental or something.

Fat Mike: We have a lot of spare time now because NOFX; we only tour three or four months a year now. We used to do it eight or nine months. We don’t do it so much any more. We feel more fresh. When you play two months in a row, it starts to become kind of a job. We do two week tours now and it’s fun. The whole tour is fun and you can tell. When we’re on stage we’re having a great time.

Todd:  It’s fun to watch you guys interact…what’s the coolest shirt you’ve ever got thrown at you?

Fat Mike: I got this shirt that said “Drug Dependent” (in the style of Independent skateboard trucks) but that’s not very interesting. Got some cool bras.

Todd:  Do you get a lot of boob shots when you’re playing?

Fat Mike: Boob shots?

Todd:  Girls flashing you.

Eric:  It happened once, I think, from what I can remember.

Todd:  That’s it? You guys aren’t the Allman Brothers. Happens to them all the time.

Eric:  Once Mike yelled, “Gimme all your clothes,” and kids were throwing…

Fat Mike: Once in DC, I said, “Gimme some clothes.” It was Seattle, cause it was all the grunge clothes. I said, “Gimme your grunge clothes, man” and I got so many clothes and I put them all on.

Eric:  And he put them all on. Bras and panties too.

Fat Mike: I had a panty on my head.

Todd:  Is NOFX ever going to be sold at Wal Mart?

Fat Mike: I don’t fucking know.

Eric:  Dunno.

Todd:  I was reading in U.S. News and World report that Wal Mart accounts for one in ten of all records sold in the United States.

Eric:  That’s because Wal Mar’s everywhere. Sometimes there’s got to be those towns where there’s not a cool record store and Wal Marts, so it’s good for some people because that’s their only way.

Todd:  Did you guys get any flack for sending out the Love Ewes, the promotional inflatable sheep for Heavy Petting Zoo?

Fat Mike: We had a couple of stores close down… a store in France…I don’t think they closed down. Two stores got sued for the posters.

Todd:  The art is so well drawn. You don’t see any of the “bad parts” of the sheep. It’s all suggestion.

Fat Mike: That’s right.

Eric:  That’s the funny part.  It’s all suggestion, so anybody that takes offense at it, it’s their own imagination that’s like…well, I guess you don’t need too much imagination for what he’s doing to that sheep.

Todd:  Are you guys going to stay on the Epitaph / Fat Wreck Chords….

Fat Mike: Hey, wait a second, Epitaph and Fat are not together.

Todd:  Okay, Epitaph and/ or Fat. Are you going to do anything on a third entity?

Fat Mike: No. Our next album is going to be on Epitaph and we will probably continue to do EPs on Fat Wreck Chords.

Eric:  That’s what we’ve been doing for the years and year we’ve been on Epitaph. It’s almost always been one record deals but we’ve been allowed to or just wanted to do side releases like the live album, the EP’s, singles stuff like that.

Fat Mike: Epitaph has treated us very well.

Todd:  NOFX was one of the first to be signed, right?

Fat Mike: Pretty much the first.

Todd: Do you know who the first was, after Bad Religion?

Fat Mike: He did the Vandals, then the label shut down for a long time and we were the first after that.

Todd:  How do like Vegas?  Have you played here often?

Fat Mike: Vegas is one of our favorite places. It’s, uh, tons of kids on speed.

Eric: Yeah.

Todd:  Fun in the sun.

Fat Mike: Gotta like that.

Todd:  Did MTV offer you a lot of money to do a video?

Fat Mike: MTV didn’t offer it. They were bugging Epitaph a lot to send them the video because they really wanted to play us. It really started getting ugly when we kept on saying no. We had No Use For A Name on Fat Wreck Chords. They had a video and MTV started to play it because they had a lot of radio play and one of the lead guys there, Kurt Steffic, the leader of 120 Minutes, he talked to me one day and was like, “Well, you know, we’d really like to play you guys, will you please give us your video because we’re going to push the shit out of it. We really want it.”  I go, “We’re really not into it.” He said, “Well, we’re going to drop the No Use For A Name video.” So they blackmailed us. Give us NOFX, we’ll keep playing No Use For A Name and right then is when my philosophy became straight. I’m not fucking dealing with any of these assholes.

Todd:  Can you name any one punk band that made a good move to the majors?

Fat Mike: Green Day.  They’re the only punk band I know of that was successful switching from an indie to a major. Punk band, we’re talking about. How many did bad on major labels?  Bad Religion, Offspring…

Todd:  The only one I can think of that is doing OK is Social Distortion.

Fat Mike: Yeah, but that’s kinda weird. They’ve been on a major for a long time.

Todd:  The Dickies were one of the first on a major. A&M.

Fat Mike: Yes they were. I really didn’t have anything wrong with major labels – like whatever, do what you want, but I’ve seen so many of my friends bands get flushed down the toilet. Jawbreaker, Samiam. The list is huge. They’ve all got fucked by major labels.

Todd:  What is your guys’ association with snowboard and show companies? I see Vans and Airwalk all over the place. You’re on quite a few snowboard comps…

Fat Mike: Well we all snowboard. Morrow started giving us free snowboards. We all walk, so Airwalk started giving us shoes.

Todd:  Where was your worst tour experience? Was there ever any time you said, “This is no fucking good, I’m going to make peanut brittle the rest of my life,” or something like that?

Fat Mike: Well, no when we were a small band, things were awful, and it was great. We had to siphon gas and sell acid on tour to get by, but it was so fun. The worst thing was just recently, I think. I was so pissed. We had a show in Moscow and they wouldn’t let us into the city. We flew up there and they wouldn’t let us play. They wouldn’t let us out of the airport. First they said, you each have to pay eight hundred dollars each and there were eight of us, and we said OK, we’ll do that because we just want to fucking play, and then the head chief guy said no and we fly all the way back. So that was pretty lame.

Todd:  Was it just for one show?

Fat Mike: Yeah.

Todd:  What’s the worst misbilling you’ve ever been on?

Fat Mike: Whitesnake.

Todd:  No Shit?

Eric:  That was some German festival. Our largest show 200,000 people.

Todd:  Who did you want to be when you grew up? Did you have a role model?

Fat Mike: I have no idea.

Todd:  Did you know what you wanted to do?

Fat Mike: No. There was not even the slightest hope of ever making money playing punk rock. So, none of us had any idea. In fact, I remember I had a goal and that was to make a hundred dollars a night, I thought if we could make a hundred dollars a night, we’d be set, we could all make a living.

Todd:  I’m thinking along those lines right now.

Fat Mike: That was my big goal and we just about reached it.

Todd:  Did you want to be anywhere else when you woke up this morning?

Fat Mike: Vegas. What’s better than Vegas?

Todd:  Like gambling?

Fat Mike: Craps.

Todd:  What’s you number one most requested song?

Fat Mike:  “Beer Bong”

Eric:  Because we don’t play it. That’s why.

Todd:  Have you ever been stalked?

Fat Mike: No, not really.

Todd:  Do you know what the square root of 144 is?

Fat Mike: 12. Come on.

Todd:  If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

Fat Mike: I don’t like these weird questions.  Square root of 144?  Come on, we’re college graduates here.

Todd:  I’ve got sort of a philosophical question. Why is punk rock so fervently protected and so fervently attacked? For the mainstream press, punk rock is something to grow out of. If you’re young, it’s OK. Bjork will say, “Yeah, back when I was in the Sugarcubes, I was punk,” but it’s not OK when you “mature.” Why do you think that is?

Fat Mike: It’s just the big anarchy thing when you were a kid. The big rebellion thing. You don’t get into punk rock when you’re old so I think you just grow out of it because you get into it when you’re a kid.

Todd:  You think you’re less angry about it now?

Fat Mike: I was never too angry. I thought it was cool and fun.

Todd:  Still do?

Fat Mike: Yeah.

Todd:  Who do you think is the paradigm of punk?

Eric:  AJ, the singer of Das Klown. He loves that in your face shit – shouts at the crowd, puts people down.

Fat Mike: Paradigm of punk, I know what paradigm means.

Eric:  I don’t.

Todd:  Ever been electrocuted by your equipment?

Fat Mike: Sure, all the fucking time.

Todd:  So what’s the next step? Are you going to continue what you’re doing?

Fat Mike: Sure. There’s nothing else to do. There’s nothing else to do. There’s nothing I’d rather do.

Todd:  Are your parents happy with you?

Fat Mike: Yeah, well both sets of our parents were, “When are you going to grow out of this fucking shit?”  His mom wanted him to be a psychiatrist and my mom wanted me to be a real estate agent and they kept on saying, “When are you going to start your life?” and then we started making money.

Eric:  Now they’re proud of us.

Todd:  Why did you change the original name from “White Trash, 2 Kikes and a Spic” to “White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean”?

(Silence)

Fat Mike: Tell him.

Eric:  Cause my mom had heard about it and she told my grandpa and my grandma became very upset and I just couldn’t live with that.

Fat Mike: Jewish guilt is pretty tough.

Todd:  What are you going to say to the kids who want to do an interview with you and you won’t let them do it?

Fat Mike: Well, we do interviews with some small zines sometimes but we don’t want publicity. We don’t need it. That’s it. We’ve fucking told our story a million fucking times. We’re not that interesting. If you want to learn something about us, read our lyrics.

Todd:  What are the most Fat Mike lyrics you’ve written?

Fat Mike:….fuck.

Todd:  Quite a few bands try to distance themselves from lyrics and say they’re just words so they don’t get clumped as an instrumental band.

Fat Mike: I don’t know if I could pick one song but I’ve got some advice. Join a punk band and see the world.