Fat Wreck Chords has become one of the biggest independently-owned labels in the world, so much so that people often talk about it in the same respects as any major record label. Pretty ambitious for a label that was started in NOFX lead singer/bassist, Mike Burkett’s (better known as Fat Mike) closet. Burkett started the label in 1990 and has been managing it with his ex-wife, Erin Burkett, for the better part of the last two decades.
Earlier this year, Burkett announced that 2024 would be the last tour for NOFX, and it seems that he’s looking elsewhere to keep himself busy. One of those enterprises was just unveiled as Burkett announced the launch of his new record label, Bottles to the Ground, a project he has been working on for the past year.
Bottles to the Ground might instantly bring to mind the NOFX song title of the same name, but Burkett explained where the name itself originated. When NOFX played Amsterdam, they had a rowdy night drinking at an abandoned squat-turned-bar where patrons were invited to smash their bottles of booze after drinking them. As Burkett describes it, “To me, it looked like how punk rock music should feel. Bottles to the Ground is the beauty of disaster.”
Burkett announced three artists that have already been signed to the new label.
The first act announced was Codefendants, who released their debut EP on November 16th. The supergroup consists of none other than Fat Mike himself, as well as Sam King, lead singer of fellow Fat Wreck band Get Dead, and rock-rap-folk solo artist, Ceschi (real name Julio Ramos). The first release for Bottles to the Ground is a 10” split with Get Dead featuring two Codefendants songs, “Suicide by Pigs” and “Abscessed.” Led by a gritty music video, “Suicide by Pigs” begins as a slow, melodic track only to pick up in a manic pace led by a frenzied violin.
The next act on the new label is Melvinator, the brainchild of NOFX co-founder and guitarist, Erik Melvin. Melvin has shown an interest in DJing with his “Mosh-Up” collection on Soundcloud, mashing up various genres, including punk, hip-hop, funk, pop, and everything in between. It’s definitely a different side than we are used to seeing and he’s delving further into that realm.
Melvinator will provide fans with remixes of classic NOFX songs, what Melvin refers to as “the synthesist of punk rock & EDM.” Executive produced by Burkett and produced by NOFX collaborator, Baz the Frenchman, Melvinator’s first single is a techo-dance take on NOFX’s “American Errorist.”
The last band signed to the label thus far is UK’s The Meffs. Essentially a two-piece, high-energy, fast-paced punk band featuring Lily Hopkins on vocals/guitar and Lewis Copsey on drums. There’s always something about a two-piece band that almost feels they have something to prove and thus play that much harder, faster, and louder (see also White Stripes, Black Keys, Local H).
For his part, Burkett had high praise for the Essex duo, comparing Hopkins to Kim Shattuck of the Muffs, a band he signed twenty years ago (“They are both such great powerful female singers”). The lead single, “Broken Britain, Broken Brains,” features Frank Turner, who produced the album.
To check out these artists and watch for future releases, visit Bottles to the Ground online.