NOFX at Danceland (and then again at Bonkers) UPDATED!

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So I found the original 1988 NOFX flyer!

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NOFX playing somewhere in Europe, 1988.

I have no idea of the exact date, but I think sometime in August of 1988, On Aug 3, 1988, NOFX played Danceland. Again, I have no idea how this show happened or how it was organized but I am pretty sure that Dave Roman booked this show when a member of NOFX contacted him (I could be completely wrong about this).

It seems crazy now, but I don’t think any of us in DA even heard of NOFX at that time (I think Rob was the only one who knew of them). To us, it was just another chance to play live (of course Dave Roman put us on the bill). It is hard to believe that a huge band like NOFX who plays in front of thousands of people now, was totally new and unknown to us and many of our friends back in 88 (and playing to much smaller crowds. Just look at the video from 1988 that I posted at the end of this post). If you do a search on YouTube for “NOFX Live” and you will see a ton of live footage of NOFX playing in front of HUGE crowds in every place imaginable. Crazy!

I am pretty sure a couple of us got a chance to hear NOFX before they played this show but I don’t think I was one of them. I believe I heard them for the first time when they played live at Danceland.

I can’t remember who was on the bill for this show but I think it was Direct Action, Battered Citizens, Half Life, and NOFX. For awhile, I think we were bumped off the bill when Mike LaVella from Half Life asked Rob outside a show at the Banana (don’t remember the show) if we would not mind giving up our spot to let Half Life play since this would be one of his very last shows with Half Life before moving to San Francisco. Rob asked me outside the Banana if I was cool with that and I very reluctantly said yes, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Half Life fan but a gig is a gig and we wanted to play that show. In the end it didn’t matter because Dave Roman and Harry put us both on the bill and it made playing that show even cooler in my opinion.

I really wish I had the flyer for this show but I have not tracked one down yet. Does anyone have one they can scan and send me?

Anyway, if I remember correctly, there were a good number of people at this show from Pittsburgh since this was one of Mike LaVella’s last shows. I remember seeing the NOFX guys and their entourage and thinking to myself, wow, these guys are totally different from the punks I was use to seeing in West PA. They were, of course, west coast punks (in style and attitude). More like skate/surf punks with wild shorts and sneakers (not ripped up jeans and boots) and wild messy hair (long at times with dreads). After seeing them just hanging around Danceland before they even played a note, I thought their set might be interesting. I think I did get a chance to hear their sound check and I thought they were great. I am pretty sure they did “Shut-up Already” from their great Liberal Animation LP that they were on tour promoting. This was before they released it on Epitaph (it was self released and they were selling copies at the gig). I thought they sounded like a lot of the bands that were on Mystic Records compilation albums (I thought they sounded a lot like RKL) and we were really into a lot of those Mystic Bands. I can’t remember how this happened but I remember talking to one of the NOFX guys (I think it was Fat Mike) and he mentioned that the one guitarist in the band was in Stalag-13, a band that we loved from the Mystic Oxnard compilation. If I am not mistaken, I think Mike also said their guitar player was briefly in Dr. Know as well (I could be imagining this though). Then Mike said that he was in a band called False Confessions, another Mystic compilation band that we thought were great. After I heard that, I knew NOFX was going to rock the place. And of course, they did.

The guys in NOFX were so hilarious. They were more jokey and less angst punks (contrasting the west cost and east cost punk again). They seemed to be having a blast. Totally goofy on stage. They cracked up the crowd with their bantering.

NOFX ended up playing Danceland the following summer (when Danceland changed its name to Bonkers) when they were promoting their S&M Airlines LP. Here is the flyer from that show.

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I think they remembered us from the summer before and were very cool to us. The entire band and a bunch of Battered Citizen people from Pittsburgh ended up crashing at Tom Jagger’s house that night after the show (I think Tom’s parents were on vacation or something). It was a blast, minus the fact that at one point in the evening, my ex girl friend was there popping zits on the bare back of the drummer in NOFX. Didn’t really know what to make of that, but I knew it was probably not a good thing. Not cool. Regardless, the NOFX guys were hilarious and seemed to dig hanging out with us locals. I left very late that night but I think Tom or Doug Evancho told me a funny story the next day about what happened that morning. Apparently there was a guy there from Pittsburgh who got really drunk and annoying at Tom’s place. Eventually, I think he ether passed out or just feel asleep somewhere in Tom’s house. The drummer of NOFX then took a black magic marker and wrote a bunch of crazy stuff all over his face while he was passed out or asleep. Later that morning the guy wakes up and is just hanging out talking with everyone not realizing he has all this writing on his face. Apparently he never even went to the bathroom that morning and noticed it and every one at Tom’s house just went along and never told him that he had this on his face. He was getting in the car that morning to leave, after telling the NOFX guys goodbye, and he still has all this black magic marker on his face. The drummer of NOFX was like “see ya later man. Take it easy.” We never heard when this guy actually discovered the marker on his face but I would think he probably felt pretty stupid after he did.

I guess the NOFX guys also had a good time crashing at Tom’s after that second show in Latrobe PA in 1989 because the following year NOFX played the Upstage in Pittsburgh (we did not play with them this time) and I will never forget when Fat Mike pointed from the stage at Tom Jagger, who was standing in the crowd, and said “Hey, I know you!”

Here is a video of NOFX playing in 1988.

5 Responses to “NOFX at Danceland (and then again at Bonkers) UPDATED!”

  1. Burn Unit says:

    Actually, we had all heard them before, (you, too) but all we knew of them was the song “Ant Attack” that was on the “We Got Party” Mystic compilation (which mistakenly lists them as “No Fix”, but we knew it was them).
    Another funny thing about that show when they stayed at Tom’s was that they left a porn tape there that we all copied that had a hilarious scene with Peter North in it that Fat Mike overdubbed a sports-style play-by-play voiceover on. It was a video of their US tour they did with Subculture which featured a scene in which all of NoFx and their roadies get in a huge brawl with all of Subculture and their roadies.

  2. Rad video. It’s cool seeing where NOFX was back then to where they are now. I think it would have been cool to see them in the 80’s when they were playing small clubs and venues. I can only imagine the intensity that would have been added to such a small show.

  3. VWnut8392 says:

    this is so awsome. dave is my cousin, i have to show him all this!!!! i remeber being a kid and meeting them after the first show. one buddy i used to skate with came up to me in like 97 and was like check out this band NOFX and i was like yeah so, i met them with my cousin dave a couple years ago. and him and everyone else called B/S but now this prove’s it many years later. im so glad i found this, reminds me of hanging out at dave’s and listening to music for hours on end. got my first NOFX tape from dave, its was “i heard they suck live”. i’m still a fan of them to this day.

  4. […] of different NOFX flyers from both their Danceland/Bonkers gigs that I wrote about in a past post. I guess these flyers were made by different people for the same […]

  5. gjhead says:

    I remember this show very well. My friend and I drove up from Johnstown because we heard it was Mike’s last show with Half Life. I got home way later than expected and got in a shit ton of trouble from my parents. However, I did manage to purchase one of those Liberal Animation lp’s from Fat Mike in the bathroom of Danceland that night. Highly valued collector’s item this days!

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