*featured photo by Chris Douglass
Yes. NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories may be the most filthy literature you’ll ever read. However, when I was expecting solely a book of putrid stories about drugs and Fat Mike’s fetishes, what I ended up with was a much deeper look into the souls of four broken musicians.
No matter what anyone says, NOFX will always be a band that holds near to every punk’s heart. Whether it’s admitted or not, they have either been loved or hated by every punk in the world. In their tell-all book The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, the hatred will either harden or the love will turn into compassion. From an outside perspective, NOFX has always seemed like the punk band that did something right. They showed audiences around the globe that a group of assholes could change the world…but with a price to pay.
The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories is the saddest book I have ever read. The world’s most beloved punk band is comprised of the most broken, beaten, and abused humans and this book drops the curtain to reveal the tragedy that is the soul of NOFX. The stories of sexual abuse, drug abuse, and familial abuse will shed a new light on how far this band has had to climb to reach their success. Each member has had to build themselves up from scratch while continuing to maintain a presentable image to fans around the world. The amount of death, stress, and risk that the band has endured doesn’t seem possible, but it all happened.
For over 30 years, NOFX has been branded with countless tragedies to cover their skin. They used those tragedies as incentive to keep recording and performing to honor their many lost friends and family. NOFX was my gateway into punk rock and forever their discography will hold near to my heart. When I was reading into each member’s lives, I saw the brokenness within them and it gave so much more meaning to every song they’ve ever written. It may seem like an exaggeration, but just see for yourself.
Logistically, the format of the book is written so well. Author Jeff Alulis did a fantastic job transcribing interview to text. The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories takes you on a 40-year journey through every band member’s life who has been a part of NOFX, which means there are always at least four perspectives on one event. The structure of the book reads extremely fluidly and takes you through each perspective in a chronological fashion. It’s a must read for any fan of punk rock, even if you hate NOFX.
When I was 12, “Linoleum” changed the way I would ever play the drums. Smelly (Erik Sandin) revolutionized the punk drum beat and every day I would play that song 10 times in a row to build up my drumming stamina and chops. He was a champion on stage that I strove to be like. The namesake story, The Hepatitis Bathtub, comes from Smelly and it is tragic. He took drug addiction to the highest level and the fact that rehab worked and he has been sober for over 20 years is a testament to the possibility of recovery for any addict. Not only is he an inspiration to drummers, he is an inspiration to recovering addicts of any caliber.
NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories is out today, April 12. Grab your copy using the link below. Stay tuned later this week for an interview with the band about the project!