It’s understandable to expect a chat with NOFX tied to the group’s new memoir, The Hepatitis Bathtub And Other Stories, to be a light-hearted, dick-jokes-and-goofing-around affair, but like the book itself, The A.V. Club-hosted panel got intense quickly.
That’s because, despite NOFX’s well-earned reputation as inveterate smartasses, these are guys who have gone through some truly traumatic experiences. Fifteen pages into the book, guitarist Eric Melvin writes for the first time about being molested as a child, and this panel was the first time he’s ever spoken about it in a public setting. There’s drummer Erik “Smelly” Sandin’s long battle with heroin addiction, countered by bassist/frontman “Fat Mike” Burkett’s current substance issues, and the one time guitarist Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta almost ended up in prison for counterfeiting.
We talk about all of this and more, but it’s not all darkness. There are plenty of laughs, particularly when it comes to the Smelly’s pre-sobriety shenanigans, when he was one-half of “The Moron Brothers.” The stuff in that song all came from real life, so let’s have a moment of silence for the poor suckers who gave NOFX a place to stay back in the early days.
The video runs right at an hour, and make sure you watch until the end, when the band openly talks about the possibility of Fat Mike dying. It’s not what fans would expect from a NOFX discussion, but in a good way.