Finding common ground somewhere in the commonwealth, punk rock dads NOFX recently teamed up with UK folk-punk balladeer Frank Turner for a cross-continental collaboration we didn’t know we needed, until now. The 10-track covers project, West Coast vs. Wessex, successfully captures the spirit of both musical entities without getting lost in translation.
West Coast vs. Wessex is a fully dialled blast of pop-punk fury crossed with Turner’s penchant for a good old-fashioned blue-collared folk tune. NOFX continues building on what they’ve always done best, but it’s Turner’s renditions of NOFX classics including “Bob,” “Eat The Meek,” and album closer “Falling In Love” that elevate the collab and bring it to a special place in the Fat Wreck catalogue.
With the album still fresh on everyone’s mind, we asked Turner and NOFX frontman Fat Mike if they’d consider letting us eavesdrop on their conversation. Let’s just say we ended up getting more than we bargained for. Fat Mike generously fashions his unique mask collection and fancy, ummm, leather sheets while speculating that he may have COVID-19 after losing his sense of taste. Spoiler: Fat Mike, thankfully, has tested negative for the virus.
Fat Mike: Good Morning?
Frank Turner: Speak for yourself. It’s a hot as balls afternoon over here. Are we doing an interview on here now?
FM: You’re one of those? Believer in “Time Zones”
FT: Haha, I suppose I am. Not that I’m doing masses of sleeping right now. London is like the inside of a dog’s mouth.
FM: It’s a conspiracy bro.
FT: QANON. What are you up to? What are you wearing?
FM: A mask and a nighty.
FT: Sounds hot. But I think our brief here is textual rather than visual, so I’ll hold off asking for pix.
FM: [sends photo]
FT: Sigh. Haha. How’s things? How’s the split going down in your world?
FM: That’s my mid morning mask. [sends pic] My sleeping mask….. TMI?
FT: Very practical. Just the right amount of info, thanks. I like how you’ve thought this through.
FM: I find it tactile too.
FM: Well, my publicist sent me this: [screen grab]. So we should really stick to the script.
FT: HAHA. Fair Enough. I do not have a mask handy alas. But I am also inside my house. So. Also, who follows what publicists say.
FM: remember how we became friends buddy.
FT: I do. Wasn’t it great?
FM: If you call prison great.
FT: A man needs soap. Who can blame me for taking measures to get it from the floor. And you’re a gentle man.
FM: Awww shucks!!!
FT: Don’t tell the punxxxxx.
FM: Well, you did take the call for that kilo.
FT: I stepped up.
FM: It’s the least I could do.
FT: Haha. It was all so very long ago now.
FM: Back to script Frank? How are you dealing w Covid?
FT: I feel like your publicist just grabbed the phone.
FT: Yeah getting by. I’ve been doing benefits. I did one last night for music crew – #WeMakeEvents – it was fun. I was hanging out with Mark King from Level 42. Aka “The Thumb.” Nice dude.
FM: That’s pretty cool.
FT: You guys did a shirt for your crew right?
FM: I’m gunning mud out my ass and sweating like a mug of beer. Did I mention I have Covid?
FT: That picture is.. Romantic. Really?
FT: Wow. That sucks man.
FM: I just lost taste last night.
FT: My wife had that a few months back. Nothing else. Kind of weird.
FM: You’re the first person to know!!!!
FT: This whole conversation is going public.
FM: I’m really good at this interview thing!!!
FT: Haha. I have noted. Doing press with you is fun.
FM: Oh, I didn’t mention that this was going online?
FT: Zing. I found my mask by the way. The publicists say “selfies” and I obey… [sends photo]
FM: Haha! That’s a cat bra stupid!
FT: This thing is actually killer for international flights. It has padded eye bits on the inside. Hey – remember international flights? My cat doesn’t wear a bra.
FM: British cat owners…. So lazy.
FT: We’re liberated thanks very much.
FM: Mine wears 3!
FT: I wonder if the magazine knew what they were getting into when they asked us two to do this.
FM: Fuck it! Let’s sell this on eBay! This is gold!
FT: HAHA deal. Gotta make $$$ somehow or other.
FM: Don’t make me laugh.
FT: Oh yea – I’m doing a campsite show, kind of like the backyard thing you mentioned before. I play and people stay outside their tents. Should be cool.
FM: Might be my last.
FT: Finding ways to play.
FM: Can I bring my oxygen tent?
FT: Yes please. And the Nitrous Oxide. That looks good.
FM: I have an oxygen one and a nitrous one. You follow me?!?!? Wow!!! I’ve made it!!!
FT: There was an article in the paper here a few weeks ago which, no shit, was discussing a “new trend for baking on festival campsites” – based on the number of nitrous canisters lying around…
FT: Poor dears.
FM: It sucks to have a fever with leather sheets.
FT: Although, who fucking knows anymore. Maybe people are baking. I haven’t camped at a festival in years. I can… imagine? Are you properly sick then? The whole 9 yards?
FM: [sends photo] Yep.
FT: Who have you been licking?
FM: For real.
FT: Track and trace that man.
FM: Who haven’t I been?
FT: Haha fair question. Not me. Thankfully.
FM: But I took a swig off your cider
FT: Ha oh fuck. I’m a dead man now. Although hold on. I don’t drink cider. A FLAW in the narrative.
FM: It looked like cider.
FT: I drank so much as a teenager that the taste of cider and vomit has become permanently intermingled in my mind. I’m more of a white wine guy these days, darling.
FM: Well…. I need to get back to trying to breath.
FT: Didn’t the president recommend injecting brake fluid or something? That might be worth a try. That president of yours. What a guy.
FM: [sends pic]
FT: Practical AND stylish. I like it. Your hair has gone back to the colour it was when you dyed it to fuck with me. Hahaha. “Rose Gold.”
FM: That’s just mean!!!
FM: But true!!!
FT: My blue hair dye is growing out badly, and fading. I look like I’m in a boy band now. Frosted tips.
FM: Don’t talk into your phone for at least 14 days.
FT: After this conversation?
FT: Right-o. I wouldn’t miss it to be honest.
FM: If you didn’t get my drift…
FT: Shall we talk about the split quickly?
FM: I have Covid!!!
FT: Or is that too straight-laced?
FM: Mostly in my face though. Split was a good idea bro.
FT: Yeah man. It’s fucking good and all.
FM: I think we should get other musicians to do the same thing.
FT: Force them, at gunpoint. Start a new thread.
FM: Megadeth / Dave Hause.
FT: HAHAHA. That I would pay real money for.
FM: Lagwagon / Joey Cape.
FT: Sum 41 / CRASS
FM: Only if they get Avril.
FT: Oh wow. Yes. Again, I have money burning a hole in my pocket waiting for that. Didn’t she marry the guy from Nickelback now?
FM: In both bands.
FT: NOFX / Nickelback
FM: People never understand that breakup.
FT: I have almost zero awareness of it.
FM: When Avril first asked Derrick.
FT: Did you ever see the video for Nickelback disco song? It was like a sex crime. You shouldn’t cover that one.
FM: To go out. She gave him 5 cents…. Cuz that was the Sum of 4 and 1
FM: Now she just wants her Nickelback.
FT: Oh man.
FM: I’m a Dad.
FT: I think my phone has Covid now.
FM: I can say those jokes. Sorry!!!
FT: What’s blue and doesn’t weigh very much?
FM: Haha. What?
FT: LIGHT BLUE
FM: For the WIN!!!!!
FT: I have no children, and thus no excuse. But feel free to use that one.
FM: Let’s do this every day from now on.
FT: And find a new website who wants to post it? Or just for our own benefit? Either way, sure.
FM: Can’t we do both?
FT: OK. This has been lots of fun. I had also totally forgotten it was happening. Again. \
FM: See you manana bro.
FT: Get well man, seriously. Try linen sheets.
FT: Haha. I have to go to the supermarket to buy BBQ supplies. Til tomorrow.
West Coast Vs. Wessex is available now. The video for NOFX’s re-working of “Thatcher F*cked The Kids” is available to stream here, and visuals for Turner’s version of “Bob” are now streaming here.
[Editor’s Note: Fat Mike has shared his COVID-19 test results confirming that he has tested negative as of Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. EST]