Cokie the Clown - You're Welcome (Cover Artwork)

Cokie the Clown

You're Welcome (2019)

Fat Wreck chords

This Cokie the Clown record is really personal. So personal, only a handful of people might understand what some of these songs are about.

The hardcore NOFX fan will recognize many of the songs on the 10-track album are about Soma Snakeoil, Fat Mike’s second ex-wife, a professional dominatrix whose influence on the recent NOFX canon has drawn ire from some long-time fans.

But fuck them, this isn’t a NOFX record. This is a Cokie the Clown record and unapologetically airing deeply personal grievances is the point. You’re Welcome.

The record starts with haunting and off-key acapella vocals about Mike saving Soma from drowning in a bathtub, possibly intentionally. The artwork on the insert includes a painting and poem by Soma, from her point of view of the incident.

‘Bathtub’, is one of three suicide songs on this record and all three songs have a different feel to it, conveyed by the musical arrangements. ‘Bathtub’ is horror and relief. In ‘Swing and a Miss’, Mike initially deals with a roommates suicide with teenage apathy but as an adult feels guilty about it. ‘That Time I Killed My Mom’ is beautiful and dutiful.

‘Pre-Arraigned Marriage’ might be my favorite song on the album and deals with failed marriages and transitions from reggae to a piano ballad and ends with a wonderful arrangement which sounds like it could have been off ‘Sgt Pepper’s’.

Three songs leave me wondering who it’s about. ‘The Queen is Dead’ is a tribute to a dead punk rocker named Niyah (sp?). She seemed pretty rad. ‘Fair Leather Friends’ and ‘Fuck You All’ are two of my favorites and Cokie is calling specific people out. Unfortunately for most listeners, Mike intentionally made the lyrics just vague enough so only the people he is calling out will “know who [they] are but never call [his] bluff.” The rest of us can only speculate.

TMZ fans may be aware that Mike and Melvin recently made some innocuous (for them) comment during stage banter which got NOFX banned from performing on their own festival and in the USA.

I have a feeling ‘Fuck You All’ has something to do with the aftermath of that as the song is about friends who won’t “look you in the eye when you’re under attack” and stabbing you in the back for business. It’s a triumphant ‘Fuck You’ punk song which exposes music-biz friends for cheating on their wives.

‘Punk Rock Saved My Life’ wraps up the uncomfortable and disturbing album on a positive note and ends with the coda of NOFX’s masterpiece, The Decline.

Even though the vocal melodies and pun-filled lyrics are very much in the NOFX style, musically this is more diverse than any NOFX record. The difficult and personal lyrics might turn off many NOFX fans but I see it as a positive. Mike clearly needed to vent a lot of feelings and I’d rather he do that through Cokie the Clown and get back to writing humorous, political punk rock songs for NOFX.

I love it. Sure it would be cool if Travis Barker played a drum solo or Mike wasn’t so intoxicated when recording the vocals but Cokie the Clown has been pissing in the shot glasses of expectations since his infamous performance at SXSW in 2010 (look it up). This isn’t a record I’ll put on at a party or small gathering. This is a record I’ll put on when I’m drinking alone and brooding. Thank you.