NOFX and Punk Values
You either love NOFX, or you loathe them. There is no in between. Regardless of your opinion on the group, they are notorious for their “punk values” and staunch dedication to staying true to their roots. While punk values may seem like an oxymoron, punks generally value DIY attitudes, conform to the counterculture, and are viewed by society as being disrespectful, rude, or otherwise unpleasant. If you’ve heard NOFX’s music or even seen them live, you’ll agree NOFX falls under all three.
In case you’ve never heard the term before, DIY stands for “do it yourself.” Instead of bands reaching their audiences through more traditional means, like large music labels and mainstream media, bands adhering to the DIY mentality book their own shows, produce music via self-funded record labels, and create opportunities for new DIY bands to gain recognition through joint-touring.
NOFX has sold over ten million albums worldwide. NOFX has produced eleven full-length albums. NOFX has never been on a major record label and refuses MTV, VH1, and similar channels to broadcast their music videos. Simply put, NOFX is one of the most successful independent bands of all time. Additionally, Fat Mike, the lead singer of NOFX, founded Fat Wreck Chords in 1990. Although the label only signs one-record deals with bands, the label promotes the DIY attitude the punk scene has become synonymous with.
Counterculture is described as a subculture of society that holds values that run counter to the social mainstream, and it is the cultural equivalent of political opposition. References to counterculture are present in much of NOFX’s discography. Fat Mike himself initiated the Rock Against Bush campaign, a project using punk music to create anti-war and pro-peace sentiments. Although the efforts were not successful and Bush won the 2004 election, the campaign inspired political awareness among young voters, especially those in swing states.
The title of their ninth studio album, War on Errorism, is a play on words, mimicking George Bush’s decree of a “War on Terrorism.” The album cover depicts a cartoon version of George Bush as a clown, and almost the entire album criticizes George Bush and his policies. The album reached #1 on the Billboard Independent Album chart, proving that perhaps their beliefs expanded beyond the counterculture of society.
Disrespectful, Rude & Unpleasant
While NOFX may be the most successful “punk” group of all time, they may also be the most hated. During the 2006 Warped Tour, NOFX apparently attacked the religious group Underoath so harshly they felt forced to leave the tour. A handful of times throughout the tour NOFX began their set by warning, “If you are Christian or believe in God like Underoath, I would leave right now.” In “Leaving Jesusland,” NOFX criticizes the Bible-belt. “Franco Un-American” pokes fun at the faults in American culture, and “Always Hate Hippies” critiques hippies for being “middle class punks.” Ultimately, nobody is safe from the wrath of NOFX.
NOFX is hated, and they know it. After all, there’s nothing more punk than being despised.