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777” Vol.007

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

I remember the first time I heard punk rock. I was in high school and my best friend kept raving about this one song by NoFX. Soon afterwards, I somehow tracked the song down on the internet. I say 'somehow,' because the internet at that point was still called the World Wide Web; dial-up and all. And the World Wide Web, dear readers, was as underdeveloped as a Decemberists album. How I got anything off it except Porn, I'll never know.

I had heard 'punk rock' before (a la Green Day), but nothing quite like "Linoleum." It became the first real taste of something that I would grow up and develop with, and would lead to a more-seasoned-than-most musical taste. As such, I have a soft spot for NoFX, and though the band itself is not exactly what it used to be, they still make me smile.

Finding three NoFX 7-inches to fit the bill on 777" wasn't easy, but the show must go on. Submitted for your approval are what NoFX is best known for: xenophobia, drugs, and lesbians. Now there's a party. Appreciate it, dear readers, for I won't be around forever.

-Ollie

Cokie
Cokie The Clown
(Fat Wreck, 2009)
01. "Cokie The Clown"
02. "Codependence Day"
03. "Straight Outta Massachusetts"
Availability: Fat Wreck Chords

The Coaster sessions didn't impress me much. If there's something that's been consistent in NOFX's career, it's the clever lyrics. Coaster was sorely lacking in this category and left me disappointed. Cokie the Clown came to us shortly after the LP's release, and it's barely a step forward from the directionless state of Coaster.

The title track itself doesn't have much going for it. It's a Melvin/Fat Mike trade-off about a Clown who is a drug addict. Cute. "Codependence Day" sounds a bit like a shortened Decline, with "Straight Outta Massachusetts" being a slightly more interesting mid-tempo number recounting Fat Mike's move out of…wait for it…Massachusetts. It's unfortunate that the Orphan Year 7" had the highpoint of the Coaster B-sides, but at least there's more exclusivity here, even though, sadly, fans are probably the only ones who would enjoy it.

NoFX Liza
Liza and Louise
(Fat Wreck, 1992)
01. "Liza and Louise"
02. "The Fastest Longest Line"
Availability: Fat Wreck Chords

With all the collection CDs out there of out-of-print NOFX material (like the 45 Songs album and the recent Wreckstrospective), it was hard finding a 7" with exclusive material. It was hard, but not impossible. The Liza and Louise single has one of the favorites from the White Trash album but, being no different than the album version, let's look instead at Side B. "The Fastest Longest Line" is, in essence, "The Longest Line" except faster and sung by guitarist El Hefe, trying to sound like Fat Mike. Although it's clear the original version is superior, it's still  notable not just for its rarity, but for the epic Gun 'N' Roses tip-of-the-hat at the end.

Insulted By Germans
Insulted by Germans
(Fat Wreck, 2005)
01. "Insulted by Germans"
02. "Fanmail" (Dickies cover)
Availability: Out of Print

In 2005, NoFX announced a series of exclusive 7" releases for those fans willing to dish out $80 for a year's membership for their 7" Of The Month Club . The singles, most of which are out of print, have since become fantastic collector's items because they bring together some  most diverse NoFX songs. Here we have the first in the series. Side A contains a sweet number depicting NoFX's perspective on the foreign audience… particularly Germans. A great song in what would later become a great collection, particularly the middle part with the hilarious ranting German. Gets me every time! Chalk up side B as having yet another great NoFX cover. This time The Dickies' "Fanmail." Blistering! Shame on those of you who didn't pick this up!

Ollie Mikse is a senior graduate student in central Pennsylvania. Don't believe him? Count the wrinkles on his forehead. I dare you! In between frequent trips to Philadelphia, his band, his label, his journalism and his hobbies which include making beer, missing deadlines (see the former) and putting too much on his plate.  He rubs his temples in a counter-clockwise fashion and drinks green tea. His band is The Ottomans (www.myspace.com/theottomansmusic ).

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