The new album, Single Album, will be issued through Fat Mike’s own Fat Wreck Chords label on the 26th February. Mike himself describes the album (NOFX’s 14th album in a 40 year long career) – with considerable understatement – as ‘dark’, tackling the loss of friends on the SoCal punk scene, and his acceptance of his own drug addictions which prompted a successful subsequent stint in rehab in late 2020.
Recorded in San Francisco with Jason Livermore & Black Flag’s Bill Stevenson (who have also produced Rise Against and Alkaline Trio), NOFX have today released their new lead single Linewleum. If that title sounds somewhat familiar, Fat Mike himself explains.
“I have no idea why “Linoleum” is THE NOFX song that is covered by so many bands – it wasn’t a single, it had no video, it got no radio play, and most importantly, it didn’t even have a chorus!!! All popular songs have choruses! WTF!
So, One night I stayed up till 4:00 am checking out all the different versions on YouTube. Watching hundreds of bands from over 28 countries (mostly Indonesia) doing Linoleum was a humbling experience for me. So I decided to write a song that was a shout out to all those people that learned those four chords and remembered the non-rhyming lyrics. Then I asked the biggest of all the bands (Avenged Sevenfold) to play some leads on the song. Then M Shadows suggested we do a video together. Then I figured I should put all of the bands in the video. Well, I couldn’t fit all the bands, but I picked a bunch of cool ones!”
Check out the video below!
By early 2020, NOFX – which includes guitarist El Hefe, guitarist Eric Melvin, and drummer Smelly – had written and recorded enough songs for a planned double album to be released that autumn. Like so much about 2020, those plans changed.
As Mike says: “When you write a double album, you write differently. I was writing really different songs, and some fun songs, but you have to make a double album interesting enough to listen to the whole way. I wanted to make a perfect double album, and I didn’t accomplish that. So I decided to just make a single album, hence the title.”
Single Album pares down the roughly 23 songs NOFX tracked. “I just kept adding songs,” he continues. “I was maybe a little out of my mind. I was pretty high on drugs that year,” he adds.
While fans may wonder what else is new, Single Album casts the frontman’s habits in a surprisingly harsh light. Grieve Soto eulogises beloved Adolescents founder Steve Soto and takes a meta turn when Eric Melvin warns Mike to be “cautious, more respectful, less obnoxious”. Birmingham has what people in recovery call a moment of clarity, when he realised he was an addict.
“That was a clarity moment in my life when I was by myself, and the sun’s coming up, and I’m scraping cocaine off the floor, like, ‘Eww, gross. I shouldn’t be doing this,’” Mike admits. “So what did I do? I ordered more.” After being hospitalised with a bleeding ulcer – a terrifying experience that caused him to vomit blood – Mike entered rehab in fall 2020. He promptly wrote another new album while there and has been sober since.
The single, Linewleum, is available here.
NOFX’s new album can be pre-ordered from Fat Wreck Chords.
Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.