COKIE THE CLOWN: You’re Welcome: CD

I’ll be honest, this Fat Mike character is pretty much a total stranger to me. I never paid much attention to NOFX, having early on sensed that they were frat boy punk. And even though I rarely take my own opinions very seriously, a person, after all, only has so much time on this little speck of space dandruff we call earth and one simply can’t be deeply acquainted with everything. So I flagrantly marginalized Fat Mike and went about my business, despite being aware that some people consider him a punk rock Person of Importance. If nothing else, Fat Wreck put out some D4 albums and I did respectfully take note of that. But what of this You’re Welcome CD? This clown-festooned Happy Meal is anything but happy and is thematically similar to Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, or Pink Floyd’s The Wall. We are presented with a protagonist (or alter-ego) named Cokie the Clown who has been dragged through the burning dung heaps of life and now dangles by a bloody saliva strand over a burping abyss of nihilism and madness. You’re Welcome is little more than naked catharsis accompanied by piano and strings. The songs are plaintive, emotionally jagged ballads where there’s more than just a tear in Emmett Kelly’s beer. Now if that sounds too wounded and introspective for you, fear not, the whole thing is pimpled with a delicious acne of punkish anger. Cynics and haters will call it flatulent, self-indulgent whining—but I’m kind of surprised to report that I find myself not in that camp. As someone who has dangled by a saliva strand over the burping abyss more than once, I guess I have a soft spot for grim, broken-hearted stuff like this. –Aphid Peewit (Fat Wreck Chords)