Book Review: #NOFX the Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories

I don’t know why I decided to buy and read a book about NOFX. They are a band that I’ve viewed as my favorite punk band since the early 90’s, but that puts them on the same level as my favorite progressive doom metal band (Tiamat) or my favorite insect (any of them but the seed tick…fuckers). Buying a book by them really isn’t something I would normally do. I never even watched their tv show when it was on, so why would I buy their book? No idea, but I did. And I read it. And I loved it. I haven’t even bought or read Neil Peart’s books yet, and he is my favorite musician of any genre.

The book is written by the members of the band, and they take turns telling their stories, sometimes the same stories from different perspectives. It was a brilliant way to tell the true events of the band. Early on you start to see the minds behind the musicians as they relay the events of their lives. I found I liked Melvin and his ability to see through the bull shit while still being willing to dive into the fray. I found Hefe to be almost an innocent bystander to the chaos even though he was undoubtedly a punk even if an accidental one. I found Mike to be an annoying as hell ass hole that is too caught up in himself to see what he himself is doing, yet he is truly the driving force of the band, the dreamer and the dream-maker, so maybe he just sucks as a writer of this kind of work, or maybe he wanted to come off as the annoying punk guy. It was Smelly that really made the book though. Smelly’s story is the story of rock-n-roll, the story of strength and weakness, and the story of endurance. Three times this book brought tears to my eyes, and they were during Smelly’s chapters. I actually had to walk away from the book for a few days due to the strength of the chapter about Joey, a girl he adopted. It wasn’t Mike telling the story about killing his mother or Hefe losing his brother, it was the story about the girl and what she did for Smelly and his father that had me bawling. Now, just to put that in perspective, I read around 50 books a year ranging from classics to pulp (and a lot of horror) and I have only cried during four other books that I can recall: John Adams, A biography on Mark Twain, The Corrections, and Of Mice and Men.

On the other side of things, this book made me laugh out loud over a dozen times also, a much easier task, but one still worth mentioning. The antics of the band is comedy gold, just as many of their lyrics are, and it is always fun to see celebrities (are they celebrities?) as real people. These guys are as real as they come. They are the type of people I would love to sit around with and play chess, drink coffee, or perv on the passing girls, or get totally fucking smashed if Smelly isn’t around. Thanks for sharing guys. You have turned a moderate fan into a passionate one.

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