For anyone in any doubt as to what kind of book The Hepatitis Bathtub… might be – and, indeed, what kind of band NOFX are – the opening sentence wastes no time in pitching its tent. “The first time I drank piss was on a fire escape overlooking downtown Los Angeles,” reveals bandleader Fat Mike. And on we go.
The fact that this most unruly of punk collectives have somehow managed to sell eight million albums is remarkable enough. The fact they have done so while inhabiting a world that’s close to complete chaos is almost miraculous.
Compiled in the style of Mötley Crüe’s now legendary book The Dirt, this readable and engaging account of a band who live life almost as fast as the music they play is predictably rip-roaring. But more than this, The Hepatitis Bathtub’s… key achievement is that it serves to act as a therapy session between the group’s members, with the reader as therapist.
“Some nights,” writes Smelly, the band’s one-time heroin-addicted drummer, “[Fat] Mike is a diamond and some nights he’s a lump of coal.” For being a book that spares nothing, this one is hard to beat.