British Columbia

'I get panic attacks nightly': NOFX punk rocker shares his view on U.S. election

"We all took it for granted this qualified woman would easily win. Now it’s so close, it’s embarrassing to be a U.S. citizen right now."

NOFX's Fat Mike discusses music and politics ahead of 2 Vancouver shows

NOFX frontman Fat Mike visited CBC Vancouver ahead of two shows with the band at the Commodore Ballroom. (Liam Britten/CBC)

Punk rock has long been considered politically conscious music, and for over three decades, Fat Mike of American band NOFX has kept that aspect of the genre going strong.

In 2003, NOFX took aim at then-President George W. Bush with their album War on Errorism, which included the song Idiot Son of an A------ directed at Bush.

Ahead of two shows in Vancouver Nov. 4 and 5 at the Commodore Ballroom, Fat Mike sat down with On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot to talk music and politics.

After the campaign against Bush in 2004, how closely are you watching this year's election?

I get panic attacks nightly. All my friends do too. Because who had any idea this idiot would get as far as he did?

We all took it for granted this qualified woman would easily win. Now it's so close, it's embarrassing to be a U.S. citizen right now.

I think he's a bigger a-hole [than Bush] but I don't think he'll be a worse president because no one takes him seriously. Democrats hate him, Republicans hate him, the military hates him. Just a bunch of racist, sexist rednecks love him.

But I don't think he'll have enough power to get anything done that's that evil.

The problem is what the world will think of the U.S. and how demeaning it is for women of the U.S. to know that this kind of a man was voted in over who I think is a very decent, intelligent woman, Hillary.

Are musicians as rebellious against authority now?

I called out a lot of my friends like Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters and Gwen Stefani and people from big bands and said, "Come on, let's say something, Let's make some statements against Trump."

And Billy Joe from Green Day was the only person who did it.

The fact of the matter is, 30 to 40 per cent of your fans are Trump supporters. Look what happened to the Dixie Chicks. Their career got derailed.

When bands speak out you, you lose a lot of fans.

That's okay with me. I don't mind losing fans. We're a punk band. But these big rock bands, they will not speak out and it's crazy because they're so wealthy, you can afford to!

I just don't care that much because we lose fans for many reasons. Might as well lose them over a good reason.

Your latest album, First Ditch Effort, is a very personal record, isn't it? You talk about drug use, low-self esteem. Why did you want to tackle those topics?

It is. I said things I can't believe I said. I got addicted to drugs for the first time last year.

I like myself a lot. I have very high self-esteem — too high, some people might say — but some mornings, I'd look in the mirror and be like, "Ugh, I do not like this person."

A lot of people have felt that way. So I think people can relate to that.

The book we put out, Hepatitis Bathtub, that's where we really put our secrets out there.

We have a song on the album called I'm a Transvest-lite where I talk about crossdressing and how I secretly did it when I was a teenager. And now I'm open about it.

After this record, pretty much all my secrets are out there, so I've lost all pride and shame, which are two things no one really should have.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast