Southern California 7-piece bluegrass/punk outfit Old Man Markley can be heard on a decent portion of the concept album for Fat Mike’s upcoming musical production Home Street Home. See what they had to say about the concept album that include original songs from the punk-rock theatrical musical, Home Street Home.
Old Man Markley’s sound is completely unique to every other band on Fat Wreck Chord’s line-up and the vibrations of their vocals, drums, guitars, and banjo cannot be mistaken on the concept record that was released on February 10, 2015.
[Related: Theatrical Musical, ‘Home Street Home’]
Lead singer/guitarist Johnny Carey and bassist Joey Garibaldi joined the band Youth Brigade around the same time starting Old Man Markley in 2007. Carey had recorded about half of OMM’s first record Guts N’ Teeth in his garage and handed the demo to Fat Mike when Youth Brigade was on tour with Bouncing Souls and NOFX.
“I didn’t hear much back, actually… the demos were raw and we were really underdeveloped as a band. There wasn’t much happening and we really had a lot of work to do,” recalls Carey. “By the end of that year we had Guts N’ Teeth recorded.” The band sent the completed record to Fat Mike while on tour in Europe and did not hear anything for a few weeks.
Johnny jokes, “I had the sinking feeling that Mike thought, ‘What the hell is this shit?’”
Although the bluegrass sound was unlike anything Fat had ever released, at the core they are a punk band inspired by NOFX. Taking some time to absorb the album, play it for band-mates, tour crew, and garner their opinions, Fat signed Old Man Markley in 2010 and released Guts N’ Teeth in January of 2011.
I asked Johnny if being so close to one of his hero’s forced him to act giddy on the inside while keeping it cool on the outside to which he quickly replied, “Oh, I’m giddy on the outside. And, Mike, if you’re reading this and laughing, fuck you.”
Whether it was fate, necessity, or drugs, the planets had aligned and OMM spent the next year on tour with NOFX. After getting to know the group, Fat Mike asked them to perform some of the tracks on a musical he was working on. He sent them a demo and they received the responsibility of recording all of the music for the song “Fecal Alcohol Syndrome.”
Carey and company recorded a bluegrass version of the song that “screams Old Man Markley” and Fat Mike said, “Eh, not really what I’m looking for.” They re-recorded a slightly more punk sounding version with just a hint of banjo and different vocals were added later, bringing a Tim Armstrong of Rancid sound to the evidently dim-witted character, Special Ed.
“You know Mike, he’s fearless. He’ll say and do anything and it’s always with the best intentions and the best of heart. It is kind of funny, the guy totally has that Tim Armstrong sound but it’s all in good fun.” Johnny spent the last three years recording his small parts of the concept album as he is proud to have been a part of punk rock history.
Carey says the stage production has come a long way since the viewing he saw and the album had a few changes as well. One song that did not make the cut was called “Let’s Give Incest A Rest.”
“There was this whole scene, you can imagine,” he said with a laugh referring to the incest song that didn’t make the cut.
Those who love Fat Mike for his colorfully creative choice of vocabulary will be happy to hear “Safe Words,” a song about choosing a word with a non-sexual connotation to say in case your partner gets a little rough, is on the album. Johnny was originally slated to record the part that explains what a “snowball” is and could not get it down – No pun intended.
“It was just weird. And funny. It was the first time I told my mom that maybe we could skip this one. I’m not afraid of my mom, she’s rad, and she can handle it. But it really goes there.” For those of you who are wondering what a “snowball” is, please listen to the song or visit the Urban Dictionary. Mom, please do not visit the Urban Dictionary.
“High Achievers” is the most musical-esque track on the record and describes how nearly every figure that helped changed the course of human history had taken some narcotic before doing so. “Steve Jobs and Bill Gates took acid and changed technology. The Beatles’ trips led to ‘Lucy’, ‘Rit’a, and ‘Eleanor Rigby.’”
To put the amount of time Fat Mike has worked on this project into perspective, he added a back up vocal track to the song “I’m Suicide” from the late Tony Sly of No Use For A Name, who tragically passed away in 2012. Hearing the melodic sound of Sly all the way from “Mattersville” is enough to bring tears to the eyes of the roughest and toughest punker.
For those of you who love the musical theater, but are on the fence about seeing this edgy production, Johnny says, “You’ve got to relax, man. You can’t be uptight about this. Life is short and you’ve gotta be open-minded. Sometimes you have to push that extreme to make a point and that’s the underlying theme. There’s a great message about community and love and support.”
He continued, “It’s dark. I think Mike knew it was going to be a dark musical. If it takes the shock value of it all to get people’s attention and make a great point, I think it’s awesome.”
Those brave enough to dare attending the theater by curtain call, heed Carey’s warning: “If you’re uncomfortable around cum, then I think you might not want to go,” He laughed. “You might want to wear gloves, I don’t know.”
Then he got serious, “It’s loads of fun [no pun intended], if you like punk rock you’re gonna totally have a great time.”
NOFX concertgoers in the last three years should be familiar with the Avenue Q song “Everybody’s Is A Little Racist” played before each set. Fat Mike aligned himself with Avenue Q writer, Jeff Marx, and Soma Snakeoil to write a production that is bound to turn some heads and wrench some guts. Over four years of blood, sweat, and tears has culminated into a musical that will undoubtedly be like anything anyone has ever seen.
Tickets are still available for the premiere of Home Street Home running from February 20 through March 7 at Z Space in San Francisco, CA HERE!
Purchase the concept album from Fat Wreck Chords by clicking here: HERE!
2.) Three String Guitar
3.) Urban Campers
4.) Fecal Alcohol Syndrome
5.) Three Against Me
6.) High Achievers
7.) Gutter Tarts
8.) Bad Decision
9.) Missing Child
10.) I’m Suicide
11.) Let’s Get Hurt
12.) Safe Words
13.) Another Bad Decision
14.) Seeping Beauty (Reprise)
15.) Bearly Legal
16.) Because I Want You
17.) Live… Oh What A Drag
18.) The Agony of Victory
Article by: Blake Taylor
Photos by: Annie DeTemple
Listen: Fat Mike’s Home Street Home – Official Album Stream