Source: I’ve been waiting to wear this shirt for a long time now. It is a special shirt for me i think, not because of the shirt, its rad, and it was a pre order only with the album, which is great on its own but that isn’t why it is special.
Its a long story really, that starts with a session i did with NOFX at myspace. where Mike decided he wanted to do an acoustic song. this was way before cokie was invented mind you. he says i wanna do this song about the year my mom and dad died. Dark right? acoustic NOFX? thats what i was thinking. It was honest, emotional, and real. not emo as in “i love my girl so mush, she is so special” -puke. What i realize now was the beginning of what Mike would turn into the Cokie the Clown, for lack of a better term Experience.
So I think the next time i see Mike was at SXSW. I met up with Mike and Vanessa (his Publicist, long time Fat Employee, and friend of mine) to go get some dinner. Now i should preface this whole story with , i have known Mike here and there for about 10 years, we have mutual friends and i have worked with his label and or band for some time. Quality time is something that Mike and i have not really ever had. by Quality i mean just the two of us talking not at a show, no distractions, real conversations.
We walked to go get some food and along the walk we talked about a recent divorce Mike was going through, his daughter, and his new girlfriend who was his dominatrix, and their live in “sex slave friend i don’t know what it was exactly” named Boi, who was in fact a girl. the Band, this project he was going to do that night at SXSW, and of course drugs.
It was one of the most honest heartfelt conversations i had had in a while, and surely one i did not expect to have at SXSW a place notorious for “hey whats your name, what do you do, bye.” that is an example of a deep conversation. What was weird about this is that Mike and i had never had a conversation like this before, and he was totally open and honest about everything. he said yeah i do drugs, i don’t fuck my life up, i am functioning , whats wrong with that? i thought to myself, yeah you do make a good point. housewives are hood on valium all the time and they don’t ruin their lives. its all a matter of how you handle it. Cigarettes are just as dumb and hurtful and no one stops them, right? So that was the kind of conversations we had. I felt closer to Mike that i ever had, it felt like he opened up. I wasn’t judging him, i was just listening, and it seemed as thought he wanted someone to talk to. weather or not he remembers it, or remembers it that way is a different story, but it was memorable to me. Later Vanessa kept stressing to me YOU HAVE TO COME TONIGHT, mike really wants you to come and you don’t want to miss this show! I kept asking what is it? whats the big deal, i’ve seen NOFX a lot, whats different this time, its solo? that’s cool and all but it isn’t life changing, I’m hungry and want to eat, i can skip this. Vanessa made me go eat with her so i could go to this show so i gave in.
So there we are, the night had arrived, a crowded tent in the middle of Austin in the middle of an even more crowded SXSW. So many people packed in, not a clue what they had signed up for. all expecting a night of NOFX music and funny stage banter that the band would normally provide..HA!! so Mike comes out on stage all dressed up in a homeless looking outfit that looks like a sad Hobo clown form the 50’s. one of them scary clown paintings that are hung on your grandmas bathroom wall. Here it was, in the flesh. looking more sad then ever.
Drinking booze on stage and then tells the crowd he is going to play a song about watching a girl getting rapped at a club and not doing anything about it. the crowd cheers!!!! whoo how funny I’m sure everyone thinks he is joking. until he starts to play the song that is just as dark, weird and sketchy. you can see people in the crowd looking around waiting for the punk rock to start. wondering if Mike is just taking a joke really far. would he stop at some point and break out into Moron Bros? Nope. next song is about how his friend committed suicide. the crowd slowly realizes that this is for real. but they don’t really full realize that the stories he is telling are true and not some made up fiction for a song to sound entertaining. I am right along there with the crowd, i still have no idea. Oh wait i forgot about the best part where as soon as Mike got on stage he poured about 40 Patron shots and gave them all out to the crowd, kids n all. they were all stoked. chugged it down then the show began.
Man this post is long. sorry but its what i am feeling today.
So at the end of the show Mike plays a video that shows him walking up to the stage before the show and peeing into the patron bottle. people are watching this going nuts. most of them laughing (the ons that didn’t take shots), the ones who did are half pissed, the other half just think it is the punkest thing ever. then Mike leaves the stage.
I can’t tell you how baffled i am at this point. I have never seen anything like this in my life. Mike just waled up on stage and opened himself up to a crowd a people that didn’t know what to do with it, and for what? It seems like Mike just needed to get this stuff off his chest, as if he was hurting in side. The Cokie The Clown persona was his vessel to get it out. punk or not, marketing idea or not, this was field with real emotion and experiences that Mike for some reason needed to get out. Perhaps all this was fueled by the recent changes in his life, maybe not, but i have never witnessed such raw honestly live in my life. it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Somehow after our afternoon together and seeing all this stuff come out live, i suddenly felt closer to Mike than i ever thought was possible. Weird i know It was a weird day to process. I like lots of you reading this blog (I think) grew up listing to NOFX and being a fan, and now i had thoughts in my head like is this the end of NOFX, did Mike just go crazy, man i love him, was there a punchline to this all??? so much to process. I was literally exhausted after seeing this show and was like a zombie the rest of the night. Did everyone in the crowd feel the same way? did they appreciate the scope of what they just witnessed? no one could have unless you knew Mike a little more that what you hear on record, so why did he do it? Somehow i doubt that question will ever be answered.
It turns out later that Mike was fucking with everyone, about the Piss that is, not the stories. there was a well placed bottle swap that fooled everyone in the house, Austin, the cops, and SXSW. That was hilarious, when i heard i thought ahhh..that was a good one, but didn’t answer the bigger question i had in my head about Cokie himself and what he was doing in this world.
So thats what this shirt makes me think of, it is a weird emotional roller coaster that i experienced that night, and i will never forget it, and can’t help but think about the people that were outside of the plastic wall of this tent and had no idea what they were missing.
Here is the Cokie the Clown Music Video that is genius on its own, and if you want to see the SXSW video footage you can see it all here: I also just wanna say in case Mike ever sees this and gets all the way to the bottom of this poorly written marathon post, thanks. thanks for being who you are, and for letting me experience you and that night. It was phenomenal.