I vaguely (not at all) remember writing to Fat Wreck Chords back in high school, asking for some semblance of life outside the tiny, rural Wisconsin town I called home. What I received was this scrapbook photocopy of touring bands, lackluster anecdotes, and vulgar responses to questions I was unaware were asked. As a 16-year-old seeker, I couldn’t have been more pleased. Presented here is one side of the folded, post card-like continental representation of the Fat label I’d received. From San Francisco to rural Wisconsin… this was printed hope that life existed outside of Varsity pep rallies and isolated weekend shifts at the local Subway. To say I’ve been loyal to the label would be an understatement. This would have been sent some 22 years ago, and I just stumbled across it last night. To be completely honest, I’d completely forgotten this little piece of personal history even existed.
Fat Wreck Chords’ Fat Music Vol. IV: Life in the Fat Lane was released back in April of 1999 and contains some classic, pop-punk tracks from seminal Fat Wreck mainstays. Lagwagon’s May 16 to start it off, Road Rash by Mad Caddies, and San Dimas High School Football Rules by Indiana’s The Ataris. Presented here is a detailed insert featuring all the information one would need to get to know any and everyone one of the artists on this fun and playful compilation. Sometimes, information just simply laid out in black and white is the most effective and viable option.
I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly sure why I put this Millions of Dead Cops featuring Pig Champion 7″ onto my Discogs wantlist, but for a cool $3.00, I made it mine. This two track quickie features a b-side with Dark Clouds, and a wonderful a-side with I Don’t Want to Hurt You Dude, I Just Want My Shit Back. Released on Honest Don’s Records, a short-lived subsidiary of Fat Wreck Chords, this is a take-it-or-leave it mini party, but all things considered, I’m happy it lives in our collection.
This classic, $4 comp was an absolute staple during my “pizza delivery days” back in the early 2000s. Released by Fat Wreck Chords, Physical Fatness – Fat Music Vol. III was released in November of 1997, and became an annoying, can’t-put-down album of (somewhat) pop-punk greatest hits. Good Riddance, Snuff, Goober Patrol, Hi-Standard, and of course, Propagandhi, Me First, NOFX, and Lagwagon are all present, and aside from 1996’s Survival of the Fattest (Fat Music Vol. II), this is (arguably) the best comp Fat ever put out.
I botched the color vinyl version (green) of the most recent Mad Caddies album, Punk Rocksteady, but after spinning this yesterday, I’ve concluded that it just doesn’t matter. This album is PERFECT in any shade of polyvinyl chloride. One simply cannot go wrong with Solvang’s brand of reggae set to classic punk tunes. Buy. This. Record.
Though I’ve been in (clenched) possession of this amazing Lagwagon box set for 6 years (Putting Music in its Place… the 10 LP box set… you remember…), I hadn’t, until today, noticed this stellar insert for the double Hoss LP. The photo is of high enough quality for you to zoom in and have a laugh to the bottom left corner’s brief history of the album. The center band photo was used in 1994’s Fat Wreck Chords comp, Survival of the Fattest (I remember it from my high school days), but to my knowledge, the photos on either side are exclusive to this release. Anyway, I found this particular story to be quite humorous.
Let’s take a quick moment and talk about Robert Plant and his 1983 album, The Principle of Moments… in fact, let’s not. Let’s save that for another day when I can re-spin in the attempts to uncover this fine and meaningful Principle. INSTEAD, let’s drastically shift gears to the forthcoming Mad Caddies reggae covers album due out on June 15th. A few sneaky digital tracks have surfaced, including a stellar version of NOFX’s She’s Gone from their 1992 classic, White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean. Please do yourself a favor and follow the link over to Spotify and check it out. You’re going to want a copy of this 12-track album of classic punk songs with a Mad Caddies-infused reggae twist. I can’t wait for this album to arrive.
If you can get past the nearly unavoidable reflection of the photographer, you’ll notice that you’re looking at two versions of Duck and Cover by Solvang’s reggae-ska-punks, Mad Caddies. The first release, you’ll want to look to the record on your left, is the standard black vinyl release, the first pressing, from way back in 1998. Until 2011, this was the only version available for pure, listening pleasure. That’s where the record on the right comes in. Limited to a slim 199 pressings, this splatter green vinyl is the second of only two pressings of this essential album, and today, fetches from a cool $70, to a whopping $189.99 on Discogs. My advice, check Fat Wreck Chords early, and often.
The blazing insert to the 2008 comp album, Have Another Ball! (The Unearthed A-Sides Album) released by Bay Area goofballs Me First and the Gimme Gimmes depicts a lovely, mid-century paradisiacal oasis atop a jovial list of jukebox, Top 40 cover songs. A “greatest hits” album all but in name, Have Another Ball! contains pop-punk versions of such memorable tunes by Paul Simon, Daryl Hall, John Denver, Carole King, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, and Elton John. Certainly an album to own for those loopy late nights. “A paradisiacal oasis, right at your fingertips.” Enjoy!
NOFX’s 2006 flop, Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing, came packaged as both black and yellow splatter vinyl. The latter with a pressing total of 1032. Back in ought six, I was able to procure 6x copies of this splatter nightmare. I’ve sold all but 3x copies, and only spin the black vinyl version when I’m feeling particularly randy. Anyway, Wolves isn’t as bad as people tell you, and you should give it a spin.
My copy of Putting Music in its Place box set doubles as a “catch-all” for all my Lagwagon schwag. Well, to be honest, the only element NOT from the 519 releases of the colored, 10x vinyl box set that IS “personally” original is the printed ticket from the only Lagwagon show I’ve ever witnessed (January 17, 2015 at The Fonda here in LA). Anyway, for a band with so much personal history, and the perfect release to reflect that, it’s always fun to trip down Memory Ln.
Looking forward to some Santa Barbara mischief this evening at the Roxy. I haven’t seen the Mad Caddies since around 1999 (my God, has it been that long?!), so tonight should prove to be a profound and nostalgic experience. But who knows? They’re getting old too and may just phone it in. Likely not, but a fun notion to ponder. If you look down and find yourself standing in the Los Angeles area this evening, head on over to The Roxy. Tix are still avail. Cheers.
Aside from Double Plaidinum, these five albums were Lagwagon’s discography for this young listener (some 17 embarrassing years ago), which makes this exclusive box set (limited to 519 copies), all the more exceptional. Have a look, then a listen, then hunt one down online. Released by Fat Wreck Chords back in 2011, she comes with a bonus reissue of the band’s first 7″… worth the price of admission by itself. Happy hunting, kids, and happy Friday!
Fat Wreck Chords’ subsidiary, Honest Don’s Records, was a heavy-spun favorite back in my early college days. Diesel Boy’s Strap on Seven Inch (a 7″, naturally) was my first introduction to the snotty Santa Rosa band, and I’ve been (nostalgically) hooked ever since. Venus Envy is the band’s second studio album, and just arrived on my doorstep. If you know a Don, keep him honest. If you don’t, have your way over here.
Originally released as only one of 213 pressed on green vinyl back in 2007, The Flatliners’ first major label album, A Great Awake, received only one spin upon it’s initial reception, then was forgotten on the shelf. I remember it being new, but enjoyable, angry pop-punk. That goes without saying, as does this: this record is now in the “have to listen to” pile.