Record Label Spotlight: Fat Wreck Chords

Over the last 20 years, HIP Video Promo has enjoyed working with some of the most outstanding and iconic record companies in the music industry. Every Tuesday, we’ll go down memory lane and talk about some of our favorite record labels we’ve worked with in the past. On this Record Label Tuesday, we’re continuing with the fantastic Fat Wreck Chords (pronounced “Fat Records”).

Who knows what an artist wants in a record label better than an artist themselves? Fat Mike (Mike Burkett), bassist and vocalist of NOFX, and Erin Burkett started the label in 1991. Speaking to Consequence of Sound [] in 2015, Fat Mike said, “I started putting out NOFX seven inches in the ’80s, because it was the only choice. There weren’t any labels. There was Mystic Records, but they never paid us. So I just said, ‘Fuck it, I’ll do it myself.’” So, from their one-bedroom apartment in the Mission in San Francisco, the pair would receive orders over fax machine and pack and ship every order themselves.

The first band on Fat Wreck Chords other than NOFX was Lagwagon; Propagandhi and No Use for a Name came soon after. Fat Mike and Erin have always run the label on their own terms, having direct involvement with artists they believe in who make music they genuinely love. To date, the label has released over 150 studio albums.

We were honored to work with Fat Wreck Chords for the first time in July 2005 for The Soviettes’ video July 2005 for The Soviettes’ video “Multiply and Divide”. From Fargo, ND to Minneapolis, this quartet defied easy description. We’d previously promoted their “Land of Clear Blue Radio” and “#1 is Number Two” videos. “Multiply and Divide” came from The Soviettes LP III, the group’s first release on Fat Wreck Chords, and it was their most explosive yet.

When you’re talking about punk rock, it’d be hard to forget a legendary group like Against Me!. Against Me! was formed in 1997 by singer and guitarist Laura Jane Grace. The group signed with Fat Wreck Chords and made their label debut with Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy in 2003. They released their third album, Searching for a Former Clarity, in 2005. We had the honor of promoting three videos from that release: “Don’t Lose Touch” in September 2005, “From Her Lips To God’s Ears (The Energizer)” in April 2006, and “Problems” in August 2006.

Chris McCaughan (guitar) and Brendan Kelly (bass) of The Broadways later went on to form The Lawrence Arms, one of the most ingenious punk bands in America. They released Oh! Calcutta!, their fifth album, in March 2006; fresh off the release, we promoted their “The Devil’s Takin’ Names” video.

That same month, we first worked with Love Equals Death, one of the most interesting bands to emerge from the Bay Area punk scene. Nightmerica was their debut release, and in March 2006, we began promoting their “Pray For Me” video. In April 2007, we promoted the “Truth Has Failed” video, another Nightmerica track.

Again in March 2006 (a busy month in the HIP / Fat Wreck partnership indeed!), we worked with Philadelphia punk three-piece The Loved Ones. We had the pleasure of promoting their “Jane” video, which paid homage to their upbringing in the Philly DIY community.

Formed in 1983, NOFX is a long-treasured – and consistently funny and entertaining – part of the skatepunk scene in California and nationwide. They released their tenth album, Wolves In Wolves’ Clothing, in 2006, and we were delighted to promote the “Seeing Double At The Triple Rock” video that May, a performance clip that sees the band right in their element.

Coming from Richmond, VA, Strike Anywhere made their Fat Wreck Chords debut with Dead FM in September 2006. We enjoyed promoting their video for “Instinct”, a track that saw this quartet at their best: sounding tight, fierce, direct, and sandpaper-rough.

When talking about Fat Wreck Chords – and when talking about Cali punk in general – it’d be impossible to forget the one and only No Use For A Name. “Biggest Lie” came as the first track on their 2008 release The Feel Good Record Of The Year, and in June 2008, we had the pleasure of promoting its video. 

Fat Wreck Chords remains a beloved label in the punk rock scene. NOFX stay on the label with their recent Single Album LP and No Use For A Name recently released Rarities Vol. 2: The Originals; other recent releases include Rebuke’s 45… not a LP, Bad Cop / Bad Cop’s The Ride, and The Suicide Machines Revolution Spring, among many others. They remain a creative label, with innovative merchandise ranging from pink heart shirts for Valentine’s Day to the perfect shirt for your beloved pooch. And while touring remains on hold, Fat Wreck and their artists use platforms like Twitch to host Q&As and help connect fan to band.

Written by HIP Director of Marketing and Communications Molly Hudelson.