NOFX - Backstage Passport [series] (Cover Artwork)


NOFX: Backstage Passport [series]Backstage Passport [series] (2008)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Fuse recently began airing NOFX: Backstage Passport, a reality show-esque endeavour that shows the long-running punk band hitting a variety of exotic locales and straying from the safety of the North American and European tour circuit. Few purely independent bands could even attempt an trip like t.
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Fuse recently began airing NOFX: Backstage Passport, a reality show-esque endeavour that shows the long-running punk band hitting a variety of exotic locales and straying from the safety of the North American and European tour circuit. Few purely independent bands could even attempt an trip like this, and even fewer could make it interesting. Fortunately, NOFX's worldwide trip is not just an great feature for fans of the band, but also quite compelling as a road trip comedy of errors.

Largely set up like a reality show, the program intersperses talking head features from NOFX and their crew with segments shot in many of the cities the band visited on their tour. It's quite remarkable to get this running commentary from the entire NOFX gang as they dryly discuss the vast amounts of insanity that greeted them at nearly every stop on the tour. From the opening in Fat Mike's remarkably domestic home life to the sheer madness that awaited them in Peru, Backstage Passport is a remarkable little tour video. More than just a set of quick cuts between footage, the producers seem to have carefully assembled a plot for each episode with each episode telling an efficient story while maintaining a steady dose of humour.

Part of the appeal of the program comes from how darn likeable the entire band is; because they have apparently never approached the band as a "business" or "career" despite clearly being both, the quartet (and crew) seem to be having a drunken, rowdy blast everywhere they end up. Amusingly, one of the few missteps the band takes is when Eric Melvin becomes a little too professional and obsesses about tuning, leading to a relatively stern rebuke from Fat Mike.

If anything becomes very clear from watching the program, it's that North Americans and Americans in particular are downright spoiled by the volume of bands coming through their cities. Watching kids in South America completely elated by a single NOFX performance shows you both how devoted the fanbase is, and how much they appreciate the attention. Despite how modestly the band approaches the tour, the enthusiasm they feel from the fans must be incredibly rewarding and they certainly return it in kind.

While the band maintains a pretty healthy optimism throughout, some of the highlights come from the slightly less idealistic crew who provide some of the funniest moments in the show, from the over-the-top drunkenness of the tour manager to one crew member's promise to strangle a particularly disappointing promoter, the amount of screen time given to the people who are responsible for so much of the unspoken elements of a tour like this is something as well. Along with the nitty gritty of touring, there are some truly moving moments captured on film, particularly the impromptu acoustic set in Peru, particularly when juxtaposed against the events which precede it.

That's not to say that the show is flawless; there are some unfortunate concessions made for episodic TV, which do tend to ruin the flow of the show. For example, before each and every commercial break, the producers show pieces of what will follow immediately after said break. I understand the need for teasers, but the fact that a sentence will be repeated verbatim 30 seconds after the teaser does tend to get a little annoying.

By the same token, the producers often overdub studio recordings over the live performances, which makes very little sense. The aforementioned acoustic performance begins with an acoustic take on "Franco Un-American" but is quickly overlaid with the album recording. Considering how important the performance is to the narrative of that particular episode, it tends to blunt some of the force.

It's been 14 years since Ten Years of Fuckin' Up, the last home video released by NOFX and Backstage Passport is a more than a worthy successor. Instead of the excessive minutia that most bands put on their video features, the show is a efficient and enjoyable escapade and one definitely worth catching for fans of NOFX or touring bands in general.

After the show wraps up its run, one can only hope for a proper release on DVD or iTunes. It's ironic that many of the kids shown in the program can't legally watch the program; let's hope that it's rectified and those poor kids in Peru can finally find out what happened to their NOFX show.


People who liked this also liked:
NOFX - The DeclineBad Religion - SufferDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteAlkaline Trio - Good MourningAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitOperation Ivy - Operation IvyNOFX - Punk In DrublicRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeDescendents - Milo Goes To College

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
telegraphrocks (March 22, 2009)

Just finished the regular episodes last night.... so fucking good!
I still gotta watch the whole second disc though.

I'd highly recommend this.... hell, even if you're NOT a Nofx fan! If you just like punk music (or rock, whatever), this will probably entertain you.


mother_superior (May 28, 2008)

This series made me want to go on tour with these guys. If i had an option to be a part of a tour with any band, hands down nofx.

paulrulzdood (May 13, 2008)

best reality show ever, totally hilarious and entertaining. I can't believe these dudes took such losses financially to do these shows, I mean they were just dropping thousands left and right to play for kids who likely never saw them live before and may not again. Fat Mike is hilarious and has always had the perfect persona and that "special something" that makes people watchable adn entertaining, it was only a matter of time before someone figured that out (thanks Fuse).


jeffrichey (May 12, 2008)

As a guy who has played some fucked up gigs in some rather shady countries, this show is completely accurate. Getting stiffed by the promoter in China? I'm not at all surprised. Not getting paid and/or having gigs shut down is completely normal, as is the counterfeit ticket problem (I believe Mexico was the worst I could remember based on personal experience). For me, what makes this show so good is the realness.

Phantom_Maggot (May 11, 2008)

I watched 5 of the episodes today...this show is great. I feel bad for most of the promoters (like the guy in Jakarta and the woman in Peru). It seems to me that it is not necessarily their fault, but rather, government officials or police taking advantage of these powerless promoters by raising prices and demanding kick back when NOFX actually arrives.

FuckYouOiOiOi (May 11, 2008)

Yeah, all the songs are from the Fat Wreck stuff cause they would have to pay a licensing fee to epitaph if they used those recordings. Thats why they used the Fuck the Kids version of I'm Telling Tim.

crackpotdemagogue (May 11, 2008)

for everyone who doesn't have fuse and who can't be fucked with the hassle of the bittorrent websites... you can stream all the episodes via this link:


nevernamed (May 11, 2008)

The episodes are on Youtube, since Fuse does such a shitty job of advertising anything genuinely cool.

Edia_Ave (May 11, 2008)

all the episodes are also on youtube, but in crappier quality.

Jesus_H_Christ (May 10, 2008)

Satan bless yopo!

smash_it_up (May 10, 2008)

anyone else noticed how like 99 % of the songs they play in the show are taken off 22/44 songs...? I sometimes catch myself getting annoyed by the fact that they play the intros from timmy the turtle and pods & gods once every two minutes

FuckYouOiOiOi (May 10, 2008)

"This is chlorophyll....Photosynthesis"


cuffer (May 10, 2008)

I really love this show. So do my friends who have no idea who NOFX is. My one friend said "NOFX already had a show on CBS." I reminded him that he is thinking of INXS, and then I hit him. My favorite part is when they ride the Green Dragon: " I was made out of rubber and ten million feet tall!"

jonnyrawker (May 10, 2008)

So i saw these guys last night in Vancouver. They played the Decline. The whole fucking song. Seriously i can die a happy man. Also, i am ridiculously hung over.

marthaplimpton (May 10, 2008)

Someone below said something about Smelly's wife. For something completely similar, Smelly seems like he'd be a great guy to know: He's genuine and I don't understand how he or Hefe put up with half-x.

The show is great. Anyone else see how Fuse could've manufactured this into 2 or 3 seasons by making each stop on tour, or every two or three stops, an entire episode? Not sure if that's such a great idea, though. I'd hate NOFX to become as annoying as the Kardashians (did you know Kim was only 5'2? OMG).

Jesus_H_Christ (May 10, 2008)

It goes to show that Fuse throws a good curveball once in awhile.

A funny, funny show.

MrStylson (May 10, 2008)

Well, obviously fuckyouoioioi is going to like it...

This is a really good show, though. Even for people who aren't fans of NOFX. I've been going to my parents house to watch it since I don't have fuse, and it even entertains them.

It's funny for NOFX fans, and entertaining purely on documentary merits for anyone else.

FuckYouOiOiOi (May 10, 2008)

best show on tv.

jacknife737 (May 10, 2008)

I love this shit, however it would be a lot better as one long movie, rather then chopped up into episodes, since like Aubin mentioned the "coming up next" parts get old fast. This NEEDS to be out on DVD.


the 5th episode is the funniest so far. with melvin doing diy promotion in bali ...

cheesetits (May 10, 2008)

Are there really no more albums to review? A TV show? Is PN going the way of MTV? I understand the relationship between NOFX and this site, but....am I also the only one not too hip to show reviews? I sound like a whiny bitch and I know I'm not the first, but I just felt like the moment was ripe for me to vent.

Um, regardless, this show isn't bad ;)

sceneupdates (May 10, 2008)

Fuck I wanna see the South African episode. Wanna see if I'm in it.

facetofacereunion08 (May 9, 2008)

great show. i download it from www.isohunt.com cuz i dont have fuse

clamum (May 9, 2008)

Nice review.

I don't get FUSE so I as well hope this comes out on DVD soon.

crackpotdemagogue (May 9, 2008)

excellent review aubin. i really want to see this, but i'm in the uk and my laptop is too old and shit to handle downloading a bittorrent of the fucker. hope it becomes a dvd in the end.

niveK82 (May 9, 2008)

Since WKUK went to IFC I didnt think I'd ever watch Fuse again.

This is a damn entertaining show.

cuapunkradio (May 9, 2008)

great review, this show is fucking hilarious. Yolanda and the recent Jakarta promoters take the cake

HOISTDATRAG (May 9, 2008)

Score is for Smelly's wife.. so beautiful... anyway, this is a very entertaining show, but the commercials just remind me of why I stopped watching television.

brentmills (May 9, 2008)

i've enjoyed watching this show so far. how many episodes are there going to be in total?

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