NOFX: The Longest EP: CD

Jan 11, 2011

So it’s come to this: I’m reviewing a NOFX album. For those of you who came in late ((i.e., the last fifteen years or so)), one of my first and most infamous columns for MaximumRockNRoll was a merry romp detailing my long-standing and permanent dislike for NOFX, from which i derived much of my early fortune. The deal, in so many words, was that i saw this band in 1986 when they were a three-piece ((famously standing up in the middle of their set, yelling “For THIS they took the Replacements off the P.A.???”, then leaving the building)), a few years later when they were a five-piece, and numerous times when they were their standard four-piece configuration. Three-piece, five-piece, four-piece, slam, i do not like them, Sam I Am ((hell, i barely like Samiam, come to think of it)). My contention is ((or, at least, was)) that they play a rather insipid style of what i used to call “generic hardcore” in the 80’s ((later mutating into a slightly more sipid style of pop-punk in the 90’s)) and now call “fake hardcore” in the 2000 AD’s, with “funny once, if that” lyrics to which people always feel compelled to sing along – not out of any legit desire to sing along, mind you, but just to ensure that YOU, THE OTHER PERSON LISTENING, UNDERSTAND THE LYRICS and thereby BASK IN THEIR GLORIOUS ALLEGED MIRTH AND WIT. Their album covers were ugly and un-punk-looking, and, to me, they were pretty much the poster boys for punk rock moving out of the record stores and into the skateboard shops, and, boys, that don’t move me. I’ll explain this “fake hardcore” thing: Listen to a NOFX song. Tap your foot and count out the beats, like a music teacher would do it: “One…two…three…four…” ((with a band like NOFX, it’s sometimes hard to figure out if you should be counting “one…two…three…four…” or “one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four” or “1234123412341234!” which is part, but not all, of the problem)). Make note of the counts at which the chords change. The vast, vast, VAST majority of the time, the chords change on “one.” In other words, any given chord almost always plays for exactly four beats—or some exact multiple of four beats— before giving way to a new chord. Now, listen to a punk record that doesn’t suck ((if you’re a long-time NOFX fan, this may be a challenging proposition)). Tap your foot and count out the beats again. Where do the chords change? HINT: ALL OVER THE FUCKIN’ PLACE. Four beats = one measure. It is SHIT BORING to listen to music where the chords only change at the beginnings of new measures. It’s fuckin’ garbage! Folk music has faster chord progressions than this! The ironic thing about this whole affair is that their acoustic numbers ((“13 Stitches” “My Orphan Year”)) and joke reggae number ((“Kill All The White Man”)) are actually pretty together. The punch line is that, in a lot of ways, NOFX don’t actually suck. They’re pretty good musicians, they are occasionally insightful and funny, and they are obviously dedicated to The Scene. They just suck at punk rock, the one thing at which we have reasonable grounds to expect them not to suck. That is all i have to say on the matter. How’s the tour bus running? BEST SONG: “13 Stitches (Acoustic)” BEST SONG TITLE: “13 Stitches (Acoustic)” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Although i am straight and out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, i am not now nor have i ever been the titular punk guy in “Punk Guy.”

 –norb (Fat)