NOFX’s Punk In Drublic: 20th Anniversary
Release Date: July 19th, 1994
Record Label: Epitaph
2.) Leave It Alone
4.) The Cause
5.) Don’t Call Me White
6.) My Heart Is Yearning
7.) Perfect Government
8.) The Brews
9.) The Quass
10.) Dying Degree
12.) Lori Meyers
13.) Jeff Wears Birkenstocks?
14.) Punk Guy (‘Cause He Does Punk Things)
15.) Happy Guy
17.) Scavenger Type
For thirty years NOFX has been blazing the trail for a scene bursting at the seams with dedicated hooligans sick of the outdated and brainwashed American dream, including an even more saturated pop music industry. Ignoring bait offered by major labels, NOFX sold over one million copies after the independent punk-rock label, Epitaph Records, released Punk In Drublic on July 19, 1994.
The band originally wanted to record with Donnel Cameron (White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean) who was unavailable to do the engineering. Epitaph Records owner and Bad Religion guitarist “Mr.” Brett Gurewitz met up with Ryan Greene, chief engineer at EMI Music, during a studio pre-production assembly with Bad Religion.
Bad Religion recorded versions of “Incomplete,” “Infected,” and “Stranger Than Fiction” without front man Greg Graffin and Gurewitz taking lead vocals. Gurewitz asked Greene if he had ever heard of punk rock before.
“At the time I’m thinking The Clash. I knew nothing of Bad Religion and I knew nothing of NOFX. I knew nothing about the scene,” recalled Ryan.
Gurewitz says, “I want to hook you up with a band on my label.”
Gurewitz gave Ryan some NOFX CDs and contacted NOFX vocalist & bassist, Fat Mike – Fat Mike contacted Ryan and Ryan sent Fat Mike a demo reel.
“Three weeks later I’m in the studio with NOFX” says Greene & the rest is history.
Greene’s first impressions of NOFX include thinking they had a lot of heart and wrote really good songs. “The vocal melodies are awesome; it’s just they’re playing things in double time and I found it fascinating.”
NOFX says Greene has “really long hair and knows a lot of metal bands, but he’s pretty cool anyways.” (fatwreck.com)
Greene began the Punk In Drublic session with a scratch guitar track for the drummer to lay down his beats to. Greene considers NOFX drummer Erik Sandin to be the most solid fast drummer, in the punk rock scene…with the best foot.
“He’s just solid, he doesn’t move.” People would accuse them of running drum samples on Sandin to which Greene replies, “Have you heard him play live?”
The team moved to the final guitar track where they ran into a slight problem. Ryan explained, “We had some equipment issues so I had to call a friend to bring some guitars by.”
Thinking all the way back to the time he worked with the 1980s metal band, Europe, who rented the Marshall head #10 and Marshall cabinet #13 at SIR.
“We rented that same rig and that was the guitar sound for ‘Punk In Drublic’.” Fat Mike also credits Greene for giving them a more metal guitar sound.
The band seemed to mesh well with Ryan and trusted his judgment. Words NOFX guitarist, El Hefe, use to describe Greene, include: meticulous, anal, and perfectionist. Greene encouraged them to embrace experimentation, including the use of calypso patterns and steel drums on “My Heart Is Yearning.”
Two weeks and seventeen songs later, Greene brought the album to EMI Music Publishing for mixing. Six years after its release, Punk In Drublic became a certified Gold record.
“Back then I thought this should have gone Gold a lot sooner,” Greene recalls. “I just remember when we found out it went Gold we ended up getting our plaques about a year later because it just wasn’t a big priority to have something you can hang on your wall.”
“To me, personally, it’s never about the plaque. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but it is about the art.”
Greene continued, “The band spent so much time writing a record and putting their hearts into it and it’s just nice when people are able to enjoy and experience the album while giving back at the same time.”
Most of the songs on the album are written and composed by Fat Mike, who, at the time of writing this article was “shunning” interviews – Not an easy guy to contact.
“What’s funny about Punk In Drublic is that there’s not a lot of choruses,” Fat Mike has said. “The biggest songs on the album don’t have choruses, like ‘Linoleum.’ I don’t think people notice that about NOFX – it’s one of our secrets.” (AP)
“Leave It Alone” was co-written by Fat Mike and guitarist/dread shredder Eric Melvin and “Perfect Government” by Mark Curry, a former band mate of El Hefe.
“Linoleum” has been included on nearly every live set list since. The song appears on video games Guitar Hero World Tour and Grind Session. Bands Streetlight Manifesto and Bad Astronaut have covered the song and the Las Vegas group, Rusty Maples, performs a beautiful acoustic rendition.
Fat Mike has been quick to name at least two other NOFX albums he considers their best, but knows Punk In Drublic is what they are most known for. “I mean, if it were Heavy Petting Zoo we were known for that would be a bummer.” (AP)
Hefe disagrees, “To me, that was our best album. I had no idea it was going to sell that big. We were doing pretty good off ‘White Trash, Two Heebs, And A Bean.’ We were making a living. How much money can you really make in the punk scene?” (AP)
Hefe supports his claim by mentioning artists they would share the stage with; like Soundgarden, Metallica, and Neil Young.
“From there, it was like the roller coaster just took off.” (AP)
After hearing NOFX, Ryan Greene liked the melodies so he gravitated more towards that sound. “I like to be able to sing along to a song and know what the melody is without a lot of needless production getting in the way.”
Fat Mike and Ryan Greene formed Motor Studios and forged an alliance that lasted nearly ten years, following the completion of their first LP together. The result has been an impressive resume of Fat Wreck Chords releases with Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, Strung Out, Swingin’ Utters, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
While listening to 1990s Fat Wreck Chords albums, take comfort in the fact that a completely different sound would have emerged if Brett Gurewitz had not introduced Fat Mike to Ryan Greene twenty years ago for Punk In Drublic.
Watch: NOFX – Linoleum (Live at Bizarre Festival 1995)