The Real Meaning Behind NOFX's Name

They may never have experienced the massive commercial success of Green Day, The Offspring, or Blink-182, but NOFX remains an instantly recognizable name for punk rock fans. Since 1983, the band has earned recognition for their loud, irreverent, and back-to-basics brand of skate punk, and despite the fact the members are now well into their 50s, they haven't exactly mellowed with age.

While NOFX has indeed been around for longer than a good number of their fans have been alive, many remain unsure of where the band got their name. Is it because they typically eschew phasers, flangers, and other guitar effects that go beyond your basic distortion or overdrive pedals? Is it because that, unlike some other bands in the scene, they shun the idea of having a gimmick? Or is it a case of the band name not meaning anything in specific? Here's the real story behind the name NOFX.

Their name was inspired by a defunct Boston hardcore band

If you guessed that NOFX's name has no particular meaning, then you are partially correct. That's what vocalist/bassist Fat Mike succinctly noted in the Q&A section of his band's official website, where he quipped that the name "doesn't stand for s***." However, he also explained that the group drew inspiration from a Boston-based straight-edge hardcore band called Negative FX that broke up shortly before they formed.

As related on the website of Boston hardcore veterans Slapshot, Negative FX formed in 1981 and recorded 18 super-short songs (clocking in at less than 20 minutes combined) before they called it quits a few years later. All in all, they played only five shows together, disbanding when vocalist Jack Kelly suffered a knee injury and "things never really got back together." Unlike his ex-bandmates, Kelly remained active in the scene in the years that followed and eventually formed Last Rights, as well as the aforementioned Slapshot.

Fat Mike was never a fan of the name

NOFX has far outlasted Negative FX without changing their now-iconic name, but that doesn't necessarily mean Fat Mike likes it. In a 2016 interview with Matt Kelemen of Las Vegas Magazine, the singer admitted that he has "always hated that name" because of how similar it sounds to that of Negative FX.

When they were still in the process of picking a name for their new band, drummer Erik Sandin and guitarist Eric Melvin both liked NOFX and insisted that it was "different" enough from the Boston act's name. Fat Mike apparently preferred The Banned, though he recalled that he was outvoted by his bandmates and "didn't have any better ideas" anyway.

On the other hand, Fat Mike appears to have at least accepted his band's name. He told Kelemen that he ultimately realized NOFX didn't sound like "something I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life."