Da Capo Press, 53 State Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02109, Usa, www.dacappopress.com
Each member of the band gets to tell his version of the story – which is certain chapters from the beginning of the band until now and very insightful information about the pre life and family, included are also some rare photos. That is the longtime members and the not from the beginning guy, but also a person who only was in the band shortly – he of course only speaks about that short period. Alulis did a great job in writing this down – at the same time, looking at the history and the story’s the band has to offer, it was probably not that hard to make it into a very readable book. Apart from that it was a roller-coaster ride, never boring but not good all the time. All the protagonists do not mince any matter, as a matter of fact, sometimes you get the feeling they make these story’s up – but in the end, I’m quit sure it all is true. And in a lot of cases the truth is very sad.
They start out as kids in a very violent LA (suburbs) scene coming from different backgrounds (you find out everything about their family backgrounds also – they are as open as it goes), drugs play a big role back then, for most of them. You can find out how the LA-scene in the early years really was: gangs, criminals, party, drugs and good music (not many other punk values). The „good music“ was not the case for NoFx – in the beginning – they where just a band of californian punk dudes, very simple minded, not really able to perform good music and therefore tried to – maybe – compensate that with very many bad jokes and a general asshole attitude. I don’t even dare to pick out examples of the shit these guys (well, or some of them, some where worse other not so…) came up with leaving many people with destroyed homes or souls. One of the members being a heavy junkie does explain some of this, but not all. Luckily over the years things picked up for the band and since years they are one of the biggest punk bands in the world, touring, playing and partying away – apart from the junkie, he is clean now. When I said they mince no matters that was probably understated, because they really open up, speak about family, crime, fuck ups – you name it, it is all there. Certainly one of the most honest biography’s that ever came out. I was torn back and forth if I should hate them for what they did in the past or love them for how authentic they always where and are to nowadays. For some young people reading this it will be not good to „learn“ that you can fuck up take drugs and drink like maniacs for many years, get rich and become one of the best known bands. Even thou they say about themselves they easily could also be dead, in prison or at least on the street, like many of their contemporaries that used or do shit like them. It sometimes feels like they should state even more firm that their earlier behavior was wrong. Anyway. Saying that, I have to add that – like in many other books – it is weird that people who consume so much drugs and are not the diary types still do remember so many details after decades – maybe it is – in this case, because they made these experiences as a group and talked about them a lot? After finishing the book I had the feeling the focus was on the early years and the closer they get to the present the faster they tell the story’s. Not that those story’s would be less interesting…. the drummer had a motocross team for a few years, the singer got more into drugs or funded a big political campaign – punkvoter, other people opened nightclubs or restaurants or lost otherwise hundertthousends of dollars – all of them have kids and doing pretty well – at least financially. It is a great book about a very typical californian punk band that is definitely special. While writing this I listen to the thirteens album of the band and it seems the personal level of the lyrics there were only possible because of this book because everyone but especially Fat Mike was forced to confront ghosts of the past – and that surely was not always comfortable. It is going to be interesting to see how long Mike, Melvin, Smelly and Hefe continue with NoFx– they deserve to do so as long as they like. Now you should go and get this book that starts like this: „ The first time I drank piss was on….“ and that is just the beginning. Paperback, 350 pages, 22,99 US $ (dolf)
Isbn 978 0 306 82477 7
[Trust # 181 December 2016]