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Sex Advice From NOFX
The venerable Fat Mike on punk homophobia, his first sexual experience, and the value of good listening.
by Peter Malamud Smith
Revered San Francisco punk legends NOFX release their twelfth studio album, Self-Entitled, today. For certain Nerve editors who were obsessed with them in high school, this marks an exciting opportunity.
You've been what you call a "gay positive" band for a long time.
Well, no one in the band's gay, so we weren't that gay positive until we started flying a gay flag maybe ten years ago. But we did have pro-gay songs before that — a song called "The Black and White," the Liza and Louise stuff. That's always been our politics. As years go by we get more and more bears at our shows, and gay couples feel comfortable going to NOFX shows and being openly gay. But in the '80s and '90s at punk shows in L.A., there were a lot of places where it wasn't acceptable. I mean, Darby Crash was gay, and it was one of the reasons he killed himself. He was scared. It's crazy how homophobic the punk scene is, and we just always thought that was so fucking stupid. We do what we want. It's funny because people always consider us a joke band, just because we're funny on stage, but we've always been so political. That's why I always say Michael Moore is more important than Noam Chomsky: Michael Moore gets his point across to a lot more people, because it's entertaining.
You had a song called "Creeping Out Sara," about asking Tegan and Sara whether they ever had threesomes with other girls. They weren't too happy about it. Did you ever smooth things over with them?
Uh... I talked to Tegan a little bit. We kind of smoothed things over. They wanted me to make a public apology, and I'm like, "Hell no!" [laughs] The whole song is about what I did. It doesn't say anything about them — it's just questions that I asked them. They wanted me to say that I don't think they're incestuous and I'm sorry for writing these lyrics that could be construed as homophobic. And I'm just like, "We're the most pro-gay and pro-sexual-diversity band there is, and why would I apologize?" I didn't even make fun of them! But even if I did make fun of them, I wouldn't apologize!
You've been writing about S&M forever. I think consenting adults should get off however they want, but I've never gotten the appeal. Can you explain it to me?
You can't really explain why you're turned on by something, but it's something I've been interested in since I was twelve. Playboy magazine didn't do it for me. Seeing tits, I was like, "Okay, that's cool... I guess." But I didn't want to jerk off until I read some kinky shit. I guess it's kind of like being gay — people know that when they're pretty young — but I don't think you can make the argument that enjoying kinky sex is genetic. Or maybe you can. My girlfriend has family members who're into it too. But I don't think they're ever going to find a BDSM gene. [laughs] But BDSM is such a fun world, because there are so many different things to do. Most people have hot sex for six months, and then it gets old. I think most people would do some kinky stuff, but they're too scared to ask for it. I mean, 50 Shades of Grey is the number-one book in the country.
What do you remember about the first time you had sex?
The girl... well, for me, it wasn't bad. The girl didn't know I was a virgin, so that was a good sign. But I was kind of anxious, and I started fucking her when she had a tampon in. She was like, "I've got to take this out," and I was like, "No let's just do it!" [laughs] It got stuck, and she had to go to the hospital. So that was bad.
I saw you guys in Providence once, and you described playing shows in the early days for, like, two people, and crashing on filthy floors and stuff like that. What were your groupies like back then?
Well, we really didn't have groupies. In the '80s, yeah, we were sleeping on people's floors and shit, but nobody liked our band. I certainly wasn't getting laid. Our drummer used to get laid.
What was he doing differently?
You got divorced in 2010. What's one thing you wish you had done differently in the relationship?
Marriage, just... if you start to hate each other after a while, you've got to end it.
Would you ever consider getting married again?
For sure. I think it's a weird institution, but it's nice.
You considered becoming a sex therapist at one point. Care to answer some sex-advice questions?
Sure. That's what I went to college for.
Okay: "My girlfriend and I have a generally good relationship, but I have a bit of a wandering eye. I want to focus on her and try to be monogamous. Any tips for a happy sex life with just one woman?"
Well, it's easy for me, because I communicated with my wife, and I communicate with my girlfriend, and if there's anything I'm interested in sexually, I talk about it. There were a couple of things my wife didn't want to do, but I talked her into it, and eventually, she liked it. That's the funny thing about sex: it's not about you, it's about the other person. If somebody asks you to do something that you're not that into, you do it anyway because you want to please them.
What's something that you're not into that you've volunteered to do?
My girlfriend loves when I spit in her mouth, and I think spit's disgusting. But I ended up doing it, and I kind of like it now because it turns her on.
NEXT: "That's why I kind of came out as a total pervert..."