Fat Wreck – Home Street Home

Home Street Home is the soundtrack to a musical written by Fat Mike… Yep, Fat Mike of NOFX and Fat Wreck Chords – the drug abusing alcoholic (his own words) who writes short, fast punk rock songs has written a musical. When I first heard this I almost laughed; Fat Mike? really? that man has no business writing a musical, and even if he could write the music, I couldn’t imagine there being any kind of story line, and thats without even getting into the actual show component of the musical. But then I started finding out more information around Home Street Home, Fat Mike had been working on it for years (10+ i believe) and he had even enlisted the help of Jeff Marx, a Tony Award winner for his work on Avenue Q, so I started realising this might actually be a serious endevour and paid some more attention. After the soundtrack to Home Street Home dropped I found a copy at my local record store and decided I’d give it a crack; great decision.

Without actually seeing the musical, I’ve been able to gain a good understanding of the story line from the songs on this sound track, and that I think is a good indication of the quality of song writing. The musical tells the story of a group of street punks, their various problems and budding relationships, with the main character, Sue-i-cide voiced by Stacey Dee of Bad Cop/Bad Cop. The soundtrack opens with the song “Monsters” and as a listener it is immediately apparent that this musical was a serious endevour by Fat Mike. Soft guitars and drums accompany Sue-i-cide singing about how her fear of monsters when she goes to sleep as a child, “These nightmares aren’t nightmares and I can’t reveal, the monster I see every night is very real” is the last line of her monlogue before “Daddy” voiced by Matt Skiba interrupts with his evil, demonic voice and the listener realises Sue is singing about sexual abuse from her father. I have to give the utmust props to whoever chose Matt Skiba for this role, there is no one else in the punk scene that could give this character the level of creepy required, it’s amazingly terrifying.

Fecal Alcohol Syndrome is a song played by the members of Old Man Markley, and is one of the lighter, upbeat and humerous songs on the album. The song tells the story of Special Ed, a punk with reduced cognitive ability because of his mothers alcoholism and drug abuse during her pregnancy with him. It’s a somewhat serious issue to be tackling, however compared to some of the other issues the musical touches on, its fitting that it is approached lighthartedly and with some humour.

Three Against Me is the saddest song on the album, without a doubt, and it is also
by far my favourite song. Played slowly on a piano the song tells the story of [I’m
not sure of the characters name] and his struggle to fit in with his family after comingoutasgay.Itexploresthephysicalabusehewouldrecievefromhise brothers “100 fist salute Saturday Morning, a steel toe to the shin Saturday nighHt,ome Street Ho al mustard up the nose while I was sleeping, wake up with tobasco in my eye” and

how no one would intervene in these situations “no one calls it hate when it’s your brothers, it’s called tough love and accepted by the neighbors”. Considering all of the issues explored in this album, for some reason this song really resonates and is heartbreaking; perhaps because I couldn’t imagine being treated that way by family, I’m not sure, but the song is just devastating. The final line of the song just rounds out what is a devastatingly perfect song for the subject matter, and is absolutely heart wrenching “when I found a train ticket on the bed, next to a note that read – if I had any respect I wouldn’t think about visiting, writing or calling… all letters would be torn, who would correspond with someone who never born.”

High Achievers follows on from Three Against Me and is a good way to bring the audience back from close to tears. This is definitely the most light hearted song on the album, and is written in a very clever way. As the song title suggests, its about drug use by some of the highest achieving historic figures in the world. The thing is; I have no idea if it’s true or not, I wouldn’t be at all be surprised if “Steve Jobs and Bill Gates took acid and changed technology” however I find it a little more difficult to believe that Benjamin Franklin was smoking opium when he proved lightening was electricity. Although I guess in those days everyone was smoking opium so it’s just as likely true. Regardless, as an engineer I find this song quite humourous and thought provoking.

I’m Suicide is the song where the focus really returns to Sue-i-cide and tells her story, it’s easy to see why this was the only song they released before the soundtrack and musical were released, it’s the song most like a typical NOFX song and would be most listeners favourite. It’s one of the few songs on the soundtrack that I think could have been big in the punk scene without a story to back it up, Bad Cop/Bad Cop could have put it on an EP and got famous. “I was a virgin, without virginity” is such a powerful lyric in the context of the storyline, referring to the sexual abuse she recievied from her father. The anger that Stacey Dee sings with in this song is amazing, it really allows the listener to visualise how it would be playing out and I believe is a perfect depiction of Sue-i-cide.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that Fat Mike was capable of pulling this off, even though it’s easy to take the man as a joke (like Cokie the Clown) he seems to be able to achieve great things when he puts his mind to it. Think about the Rock Against Bush compilations accompanied by Punk Voter, the legacy of Fat Wreck Chords and the Protect: A Benefit For The National Association To Protect Children compilation. When Fat Mike wants to achieve something special, he does, and this soundtrack and musical are right up there with his most impressive achievements.


Matt Power
25 May 2015

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Feeling Tired
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Fat Wreck Home Street Home

Artist Various
Album Home Street Home
Released 10 Feb 2015
Label Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks 18
Run Time 45 minutes
Genre Punk

Fat Wreck Home Street Home