FAT MIKE - Gets Strung Out

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It's probably an understatement to say FAT MIKE is a bit of a contentious figure. Whether through NOFX—the punk band he formed in 1983—or outside of it, he likes to provoke and prod people. Because of that, people often dismiss NOFX as little more than an amusing pop-punk band. They're wrong. That's one of the reasons Fat Mike decided to sit down with his good friend and frequent musical collaborator Baz The Frenchman and make Gets Strung Out, a record of (mostly) NOFX songs recast and reimagined as classical compositions. It's a way of setting the record straight for those who think NOFX are just another punk band. Suffice it to say, Gets Strung Out is quite an addition to his resume, one that most people would likely not expect, and designed to dispel dumb punk musician stereotype. It does so comprehensively—and this record only solidifies that fact. "The thing is," says Fat Mike, "I really want people to understand my songwriting.” "I'm A Rat," is a perfect example. "The punk version of that song," Mike says, "is 54 chords in a row without any repeat. And when you listen to the classical version, you can hear that. Finally, people can hear every part of my songs without my vocals and drums annoying them. And what you hear on these songs is what the songs are. It's the melody, it's the harmony, it's the guitar chords and octave chords, and it's the bass. Those are the parts." It's true. Needless to say, though, the songs also sound completely different from their original incarnations. They were all transposed and translated by Baz The Frenchman using midi, then recorded by professional classical musicians playing violas, violins, cello, bass, and piano. The result is that these songs transformed into something you could and would never imagine they could become—truly beautiful pieces of classical music.