Interview: Erin Burkett Details Fat Wreck Chords 25th Anniversary Series

Words & Imagery By Scott Murry

Not many independent labels are able to maintain a roster or even keep the doors open for very long. The music industry is a tough one, especially when your sound isn’t deemed for the masses. Fat Wreck Chords is a standout in this equation. Begun in 1990 by Erin and Mike Burkett, they’ve remained a strong component of the punk scene. Releasing new bands and maintaining some that have been with them from the start, the label has a passionate base and monumental albums. So as we stand in 2020, Fat Wreck Chords is embarking upon quarter-century milestone releases. To celebrate, they’re re-releasing some gems from 1995 with new perks. Leche Con Carne from No Use For A Name has been the first release in the Fat Wreck Chords Anniversary Series. The color vinyl sold out quickly. We caught up with Erin Burkett to learn more about their plans in this exciting series.

With 25 years marking some significant release anniversaries, what memories come up from 1995?
In 1995, Mike and I had only been married for three years, and FAT had only been in existence outside of our kitchen for a few years.  It was a really amazing and inspirational time…we were creating a punk rock family with our best friends, putting out music we all loved, and building a foundation that still exists today.  What I remember most about that time was a feeling of disbelief; that we could actually make a living doing something that I would gladly pay someone else for. We were young, stupid, and unapologetic. It was awesome.

Leche Con Carne is the first release in this series. How did that decision come about as the third album of 1995 from Fat?
It seemed like a no-brainer.  Leche may be the third album that FAT released in 1995, but No Use For A Name is and will always be one of FAT’s flagship bands.  With the passing of Tony in 2012, people are anxious for anything new with NUFAN.  Being able to reissue this record and add a classic NUFAN T-shirt that fans haven’t been able to purchase in years just seemed like the right thing to do. It’s paying tribute to one of the great musicians that made FAT what it is today.

Punk was hitting a stride in the mainstream, how did Fat grow during this time?
Timing is everything.  We would have continued FAT regardless of the mainstream climate.  However, thanks to Green Day and The Offspring, the sound that we have always loved became the popular sound for just a minute.  That success allowed our bands to quit their day jobs, for us to expand our business, and allowed FAT to grow into the label that we are today. 

How often will releases be made?
Our timeline is not an exact science.  Covid-19 had delayed things a bit, so it’s hard to give exact dates.  We have five planned for this year, and then we will move on from there.

What releases can fans look forward to? 
I’m not sure I’m supposed to be giving you the scoop on this before we announce; however, I think if you look at the FAT roster, you can figure out a handful of other releases that turn 25 this year.  I’m pretty excited about Good Riddance, For God and Country myself.

Can you share any details about the custom print jobs of flare to come?
We’ve added silver foil to the covers, and have branded a new, 25th anniversary FAT logo to the center labels.  We’ll be releasing these on some tricked out color vinyl as well.

Keep track of the releases and pickup Leche Con Carne here.

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