NOFX’s Fat Mike: America Is ‘Full of Uneducated Racist Idiots’

NOFX frontman and punk figurehead Fat Mike has dictated an essay to Kerrang in which he considers the current political plight of the United States. Opining on the day Trump leaves the White House, the musician proffers his view of racism’s pervasiveness and faltering awareness in the country.

The argument’s an unsurprising one coming from Fat Mike, the songwriter and record label founder whose real name is Mike Burkett. After all, NOFX have made their stances clear on songs such as “We Called It America” and “The Idiots Are Taking Over.” But among the musician’s complaints about the state of America, he also highlights the positive attributes he sees among its citizenry’s widening ideological gap.

“I used to be scared of this country and embarrassed by this country,” Fat Mike says, “because it’s a religious nation. It’s a gun-toting Christian state. But what I didn’t understand was that racism is this huge. I knew it was there, but our country is just full of uneducated racist idiots, and that’s crazy. Because of that, we’re the last in everything.”

“That said,” the rocker adds, “our smart people are pretty smart. We do come up with a lot of new shit.”

Much like their contemporaries in Green Day, NOFX were highly critical of the George W. Bush presidency, especially on 2003’s The War on Errorism. To wit, Donald Trump might seem like good fodder for Fat Mike. But he still had to consider the political past to get a handle on the last four years.

“I’ve tried to get through this by looking at the history of the world,” Fat Mike continues. “There have been so many worse times than this, and shit happens. People are desperate and stupid. But I’ve tried to remember, also, that the U.S. is still a good place to live, and you choose to live where you want to. I live in LA — I used to live in San Francisco — and I would not choose to live in Mississippi. That’s a different country.”

Looking forward, the singer tips his hat to incoming President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. But he also maintains that, overall, whoever’s in the office doesn’t change a lot.

“As for what’s coming next, I don’t actually think that presidents do that much,” Fat Mike argues. “It doesn’t affect your daily life that much — except when Trump does a thing like outlawing transgenders from the military and turning the country toward civil war. There’s so much hatred that it’s crazy, and that’s what’s scary. But I think Biden is a decent man, and I do like Kamala, too.”

Further, the musician contends that, when Bush was president, it would take him “about 45 minutes to convert one of his supporters to a Democratic. I could do that; I was good at that. With Trump supporters, no, there’s just no way you can convince them of anything.”

NOFX have a new album — it’s called Single Album — coming out on Feb. 26. This month, they released the effort’s first single, “Linewleum,” a song with assistance from Avenged Sevenfold among others.

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NOFX Recruit Avenged Sevenfold for New Song ‘Linewleum’

Punk legends NOFX have just announced their 14th studio album, Single Album, and released its first single, “Linewleum.” Dedicated to the hundreds of bands who’ve covered NOFX’s classic “Linoleum” over the years, the new song features a lead from Avenged Sevenfold, who also appear in its official music video alongside August Burns Red, Tony Sly, Frank Turner and others.

Single Album was initially supposed to be a double album, but frontman Fat Mike bailed on the idea partway through the writing process. “When you write a double album, you write differently,” Mike says. “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.”

Fat Mike describes the record as unintentionally dark and inspired by his own infamous drug use. “I was pretty high on drugs that year,” Mike describes 2019. From Single Album, the song “Grieve Soto” pays tribute to late Adolescents founder Steve Soto, while “Birmingham” addresses the moment Mike finally accepted that he was a drug 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. So what did I do? I ordered more.” Following a hospitalization to treat a bleeding ulcer, the NOFX frontman entered rehab in fall 2020 and has reportedly been sober since.

As for “Linewleum,” Mike reflects on the universal love fans have for “Linoleum.” “I have no idea why “Linoleum” is the NOFX song that is covered by so many bands while other NOFX songs get hardly any attention. ‘Linoleum’ 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.”

He adds, “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! A song about not playing a song that’s not a hit song with a video about other bands covering the song! This is why I love punk rock writing punk songs. Rules out the door!”

NOFX – Linewleum (Official Video)

Watch the video for “Linewleum” above and click here to pre-order Single Album via Fat Wreck Chords. Produced by Descendents legends Bill Stevenson and Blasting Room co-owner Jason Livermore, Single Album will be released Feb. 26.

Fat Wreck Chords

All images & transcripts are of Fair Use and copyright to their respected & collective owners. Some images copyright AP, Clipart.com.