NOFX formed in Los Angeles back in 1983, a helluva year for new bands and one that gave birth to Alcatrazz, Trixter, White Lion, and any number of bands that are completely defunct and irrelevant in this day and age. That alone says something about NOFX‘s enduring popularity. Maybe they lasted this long because they were forged in the same fiery furnaces of the L.A. hardcore scene that gave us Bad Religion, Suicidal Tendencies, Germs and Descendents. NOFX sharpened their teeth in that tumultuous talent pool until they joined forces with Epitaph in 1989 and went on to release a string of crucial punk records. Their first major breakthrough came in the form of 1990’s Ribbed, still a fan favorite, followed up by now-classics White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean and Punk in Drublic, the latter selling well over a million copies.
That was a wildly successful decade for NOFX as the band popularized the Warped Tour and was the flagship band for the skate/surf/snow culture of the 1990’s.
Now on Fat Mike’s own label, Fat Wreck Chords, their third decade was even more fruitful, which again speaks to NOFX‘s indomitable longevity. The band’s decade-long ban on doing the mainstream press and media was lifted as they sought to actively share their dissent for the Bush Administration and speak out against the invasion of Iraq. And once the floodgates were open, NOFX and their “Rock Against Bush” movement were everywhere: Newsweek, Rolling Stone, New York Times, Howard Stern, and network television. All that high profile interest and hype was reflected in the success of their 2003 record, The War on Errorism, which was the #1 independent record in the country at the time if its release and topped Billboard’s Indie chart.
The new NOFX full-length, Self Entitled, out September 11th, is their 12th studio record. A return to their aggressive roots, the 12 tracks embrace the hostile early LA punk sound while maintaining the trademark technical and melodic sound that NOFX is renowned for. As with all NOFX albums, the subject matter on Self Entitled is diverse (politics, religion, s&m, etc.), but there is a more cohesive mood this time around. The majority of the songs display a more personal perspective from Fat Mike, which lends a more intimate feeling to the album overall.
True to form, NOFX will be continuing onward and upward as they have tours and travels planned through 2012 and into 2013. For a buncha drunken old punks, NOFX function at a surprising level of efficiency. They’ve currently wrapped filming the second season of Backstage Passport, their documentary TV show that takes the band all over the world and films them doing all the unspeakable, wackadoo things that you’d expect from these dudes.
There is little question about what has separated NOFX as an enduring force in independent music, and more specifically, as an institution in the punk scene for so long. Their hallmark sound and style matched with their ability to keep things fresh is unparalleled among their peers. Self Entitled is a testament to these qualities and is yet another credit to their legacy.