Fat Mike of NOFX on pornography, punk-rock parenting and how America is a sinking ship
In the first decade of this century you were refreshingly, unapologetically critical of the Bush administration. How do you feel about the Obama administration so far, perhaps the Boehner Congress and the current political climate, generally?
Oh, you know, it's government. It's totally fucked up, and it's more fucked up than it's ever been. And Obama seems more conservative than Reagan. But he's a hundred times better than George W. Bush, so we give him that. But, I've been saying this for a while now: The U.S. is just a sinking ship, so you can't do that much with it.
Sinking ship? Do you think anything can be done to improve the state of things?
Because there's hardly any manufacturing here. Our cost of living is so low because we get everything from super poor countries. We have food, but it's like the '90s were the best eight years we've had, economically, that there will ever be. We owe so much fucking money, it's ridiculous, and no one wants to raise taxes, and no one wants to earn their fair share. They just want and want and want more.
And our system fucking sucks. We need a parliamentary system -- that would maybe help out. But it's just terrible. But then, on the other hand, do you know how many people starved to death in the U.S. last year? Zero. So we have that going for us and we're still in better shape than most countries in the world.
Was releasing Self Entitled on September 11, 2012 entirely coincidental?
Pretty much coincidental. Tuesdays are the days that you have to release your records, and our distributor releases every other Tuesday, so it just fell on that day. Pretty sweet, though.
The title sounds like it works as a kind of joke and a description of certain segments, maybe even most, of American society.
So many people put out "self-titled" records, so we decided Self Entitled would be funny. And we do feel self entitled because we've been doing this so long. We want to play shows how we want to, and we want things to happen the way we want to. We don't like answering to anybody, and we don't.
On the album, you have a song title that seems especially amusing, "My Sycophant Others." What inspired that title and the song?
A lot of my songs just start from titles: So I have "my significant others," and I thought "My Sycophant Others" because a lot of people in my business get surrounded by "yes" men. And I don't. I'm not. But it's kind of a joke. Like our manager Kent, and a lot of people that work for me, they tend pretend to agree with me just to keep me quiet, you know? So it's kind of my joke back at them.
There's another song with a hilarious title, but the song itself doesn't sound like it's about something humorous. "I've Got One Jealous Again, Again." Obviously you mention Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Misfits and The Replacements and so forth. How did that song come about?
I was married for a long time, and we put our record collections together, and we had that song a few years ago, "We Got Two Jealous Agains." We had a lot of the same records. So now we're divorced, and we split the record collection up, and I have one "Jealous Again," again. I have single records again.
A few years back, you played Punk in Drublic in its entirety. Why did you want to play that record in its entirety?
It's our biggest record. It seems that a lot of people's favorite songs are on that. That one and So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes. This tour we're doing, toward the end, all of Ribbed, which should be fun. That's one of our only records where I was really unhappy with the vocal performance, so I wanted to do the whole thing live. I just have the worst sense of pitch ever.
Are you considering recording it live and re-releasing a live version of the album?
Yeah, we're considering it. We're going to record it and see how it turns out.