Backstage Passport 2
(Fat Wreck Chords)
Ozzy Osborne bit the heads off of winged creatures and hailed Satan to the dismay of mothers all over the world. He is hailed as the Godfather of Heavy Metal. Then in 2002, MTV put him on the air to show his home life. We saw a caring, overly protective man—another dad in the world. It softened his persona, and in turn helped him gain new fans. When Fuse picked up NOFX’s concept to show them playing obscure locations around the world, they aimed for the same thing—show the fun loving, wreckless lads as family men with financial struggles. And sure, they likely are, but that’s not the most interesting story when this family of degenerates hit the road. Under the editing sword of Fuse, it was missing some bits. Season 2 is independently released by Fat Wreck Chords and comes to share another cheek, and not just Fat Mike’s in an Australian sex dungeon.
As a double disc set, Backstage Passport 2 offers a loosely assembled documentary and lost footage from the previous season. At times, Fat Mike’s substance use is rather amusing. A bender in Argentina shows him wandering the town to inform unsympathetic strangers of his stolen phone. It goes on and on until he finds a sex store to buy butt plugs. Eventually he returns to the hotel, but not to bed—instead he buys a round at the hotel bar and chats it up with a pack of grandmothers from Texas. Through the years Mike has comes across as a bit of a turd, but drunken scenes throughout share just how bad it gets. During a show in Monterey, Mexico he gets to a point of such belligerence that his manager Kent has to call him out, “You’re Axl Rose, you’re that douche from 30 Seconds to Mars, you’re all those fuckin’ guys [right now].” Coming from former addiction issues, Smelly also expresses concern for our anti-hero. It ain’t pretty.
The second disc is equally amusing as we see Melvin, Smelly, and Hefé as normal dudes on the vacation of a lifetime together. It’s reassuring to watch them act like juvenile brothers stoked to hang out and revel in toilet humor. A band that has been together for so long, you hope they have fun together like that. Do you think Nickelback or Creed has that much fun together? No, because they’re a sad, bad men.
While you will likely loathe Mike at times in this edition, we can at least appreciate that they didn’t sugarcoat it. They play tiny, overflowing clubs with no back door, flee the authorities, and get into weird shit all over the world. How many punk rock bands can say they did that? (Scott Murry)