- READ MORE: NOFX’s Fat Mike: “Eagles told us our cover of their song was the worst they’d ever heard”
In 2015, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker told NME the band had recorded five songs with Skiba for an upcoming record. “There’s a song called ‘Punk Rock Cliché’ which I love the most right now. It’s about friends of ours and their relationships,” Barker said at the time, though did not mention Fat Mike’s involvement.
The following year, Blink released their first album with Skiba, ‘California’, with ‘Punk Rock Cliché’ absent from its tracklist. Now, NOFX have shared their own version of the song as part of their forthcoming record, ‘Double Album’. Listen to that below:
In a new interview with Spin, Fat Mike elaborated on how the song came about, revealing he and Skiba had written it together when he was staying at the Alkaline Trio frontman’s house shortly after he had been asked to join Blink-182 following DeLonge’s departure.
“I said, ‘Hey, check this out.’ I played the song, and I said ‘I think this would be a great Blink-182 song.’ He worked on some of the lyrics with me – some of them were already written,” Mike explained.
“It was the first time we wrote together. He brought it to the band, they recorded it, and a few weeks later, Travis Barker did a bunch of interviews with NME and Exclaim! and whoever else, and in all the interviews, he said, “We have a new song called ‘Punk Rock Cliché,’ and it’s the best song on the album. I’m really excited about it.’
Mike went on to explain that when he saw those articles, he was “really stoked”. According to him, they recorded the song for the album and were advised by their label to make it the album’s first single.
“Matt called me and said, ‘Dude, you won’t believe this, but your song ‘Punk Rock Cliché’ is going to be our first single.’ It was a big deal because it was their first single in years,” Mike said. “Then he called me up six weeks later and said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but I told the band you wrote the song and they dropped it off the album completely.’ I was really bummed because I thought it was going to be my first radio hit.”
Mike added that while he didn’t understand at the time, after thinking about it, he could see how Blink-182 might not want people saying, “Oh, you had to get Fat Mike to write a song for you,” so soon after DeLonge had parted ways with the band. Mike said that while he and Barker were friends prior to the situation, the Blink-182 drummer “never spoke” to Mike afterwards.
“At first, it felt really, really bad for me. It really bummed me out because I got my hopes up, and I really liked the song,” he said. “So about a year or two later, NOFX recorded it – because it was still my song. It didn’t make it on [2021’s] ‘Single Album’, but it was recorded four or five years ago. Now, it’s coming out on our new album.”
Fat Mike added that earlier this year he reached out to Blink-182, asking if the band would be interested in doing a split seven-inch that featured both bands’ version of ‘Punk Rock Cliché’, but never heard back from anyone.
“Their version is way better than the NOFX version. I tried really hard, but Travis just killed it. He’s such a monster on drums. Skiba was singing it. Seriously, I really wanted to kick their ass on it, but I think their version is better.”
NOFX’s ‘Double Album’ is set to arrive on December 2, and was announced in September alongside new single ‘Darby Crashing Your Party’. The album could well be the band’s last, as they announced earlier this year that they intend to embark on a farewell tour in 2023.
Meanwhile, Skiba, who recently departed Blink-182 to make way for DeLonge’s return to the band, said he and the band wrote “almost a whole album” of new material prior to his exit. Blink-182’s classic lineup of Hoppus, Barker and DeLonge reunited in October, releasing new single ‘Edging’, teasing their “most progressive” album yet and announcing a world tour.
Following the news, DeLonge shared an open letter to Skiba, thanking him “for all that you have done to keep the band thriving in my absence.” Skiba returned the gesture, saying he’s “truly grateful for my time with Blink and I am truly happy you guys are a band and a family again.”