When it comes to the fast-paced, subculture of the 'punk-rock scene,' drug usage is common, if not rampant. And why wouldn't it be? The movement is made up of young people who take it upon themselves to stand against the social norms of society...
Drug Abuse in the Punk-Rock Scene
For those who truly believe in the punk rock ideology of anti-establishment, the over-consumption of alcohol and usage of illicit drugs is often viewed as an act of rebellion - a just cause. In other words, abusing drugs is natural to those involved in the punk rock scene, as the very nature of engaging in substance abuse is essentially just flipping - yet another - proverbial middle finger to mainstream society's ethical standards.
The punk scene's wide-spread acceptance of excessive drinking and drug use can also be attributed to the genre's lyrical content. While there are a few punk rock bands who actually take a militant stance against the use of drugs, many of the genre's bands promote their consumption to an audience who take their words as doctrine.
But there are few punk rock frontmen (if any) who have propagated the message of, 'drugs are okay as long as they're used in moderation,' as vehemently, and successfully, as NOFX lead singer and bassist, Fat Mike.
NOFX, Decades of Addiction and Achieving Sobriety
Led by their charismatic frontman, NOFX is credited with bringing hardcore punk to America's mainstream audience. Having written songs as blatant as, 'Drugs are Good,' it's a surprise to no one that the group's patriarch "practiced as he preached," so to speak.
An advocate for social rebellion, Fat Mike was a proud and unapologetic drug addict for over 30 years. Time and time again, his message of drug usage was heard by millions of fans, a message he endorsed since before the band's inception in 1983.
So, it came as a surprise to many when NOFX added their latest effort, 'First Ditch Release.' In many of the album's lyrics, Fat Mike seemingly showed remorse for his life-long, devil-may-care attitude of illicit drug usage. The album itself, as he puts it, is an autobiographical journey that chronicles his near-death love affair with opiates and his desperate struggle to get sober.
In songs like, "California Drought," Fat Mike (real name Michael Burkett) bravely touches on his personal struggles with opiate addiction and how he narrowly escaped its attempt to kill him.
Within the content of NOFX's latest album, Fat Mike seems determined to spread a new, positive and urgent message to the millions of fans who hang on his every word.
"... And that message is clear: drug use will kill the impassionate spirit of his beloved punk rock scene by taking the life of its most passionate of followers; a fate the punk-pioneer almost came to terms with himself..."
As always, the rebellious frontman practices what he preaches and says he is six months sober as of December 2016. While his stance on drug abuse has changed, he and his band's proclivity for spreading anti-establishment views are far from over. Now fueled by sobriety, the frontman's anger is directed at... You guessed it: A government sanctioned, public establishment.
Whom might you ask? NOFX's latest target in the crosshairs is none other than Big Pharma, who Fat Mike believes to be the largest and most dangerous organization to profit from the addiction and suffering of its users.