Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jon Roa on Ryan Hoffman and Fat Mike

Ryan Hoffman and Alex Pain with Chain at Gilman St.

Jon Roa brings us an old story here that we thought was worth sharing. Stories like this are we we all love hardcore.
-Gordo DCXX

1985: Justice League was on tour in Reno, Nevada. The now-incredibly huge NOFX were, at that time, a struggling band that was more of an also-ran about whom not many people thought (this is not a slight but rather a chuckle considering their future). We were both set to play with 7 Seconds in what would be their first hometown show there in seven months. It was a big show. NOFX were opening the show and we all met up in the parking lot in the late AM. To put in bluntly-NOFX were really hungry. They toured and got paid next-to-zilch as they were not a draw.

Being friends for some time, Fat Mike knew that I only needed three more Dickies singles to complete that area of my record collection. Mike approached me about buying some those elusive last three singles for the mere cost of twenty dollars...a bargain even back then. I gave him twenty-five dollars and he took down my address, thanked me and promised to send the records to me "as soon as he got back home in California." I already had his phone number. Not only did I never hear from him again but also he rebuffed my many efforts to contact him. Eventually, I forgot about it because I figured that Justice League made a lot of money compared to them and I was helping out a good person.

Fast forward to late summer 1986. I had already amicably left Justice League (for many reasons but mainly because the direction of the 12" was not at all what I thought it was going to be). Ryan/Justice League were on tour in, I think Seattle (?) and they met up with, guess who...NOFX. At the NOFX merch table, Fat Mike is selling items from his kick ass personal record collection and, now at 30 dollars each, are those damn Dickies seven inches! Well, a bunch of people would later to tell me that Ryan went up to the table, looked at all the goods and calmly picked up the three Dickies records and matter-of-factly told Fat Mike, "These are for ROA, I'll make sure he gets them." Evidently, Fat Mike was speechless and so off guard that he did not try to play it off by saying something like, "Oh yeah, thanks." Mike just looked at Ryan, mouth agape, realizing that he had dutifully paid the piper!

It was none of Ryan's business, really. He made it his business because we had known each other since the fifth grade. Upon his return I got the records but more importantly, I got perspective on how truly kick ass Ryan is. I love that guy.

Post script: Fat Mike is totally cool to me. I am on the "eternal guest list" for NOFX and when I was doing radio interviews/promotion for a book that I wrote in 1995, Fat Mike called the radio station and gave me a congrats phone call. He is a good guy in my book as those records are now in a good place: my house!

Early YOT / Justice League era with Hoffman and Cappo looking on as someone jokingly prepares to scissor in half a cig


Dave said...

I'm pretty sure that random someone holding the scissors is Billy Rubin.


Wow, yeah, now that I look at him, although you can only see a little bit of his face, that does appear to be Billy Rubin.

Ben Edge said...

ROA wrote a book?

kevin said...

Yeah Roa wrote a book...

Actually, with me. (Kevin James Salveson).

We published it as a "double sided" split book type thing, under my publishing rubrick Extablissment Press.

The title was "Salvation Road", which was pretty clever because it basically contained both our names.

His side was poetry, my side was a novel about the homeless and musicians in santa monica.

We published it ourselves, and had a release party at Congo Square in Santa Monica and at the Haven in Pomona.

I remember I typeset it and printed it. When Roa looked at the proofs he wanted to reneg due to jitters, but we pushed through with it.

The radio program he mentions was mine, on KXLU-FM, where I did a political music show at that time.

A week later I was on a plane to China and I asked Jon to send copies out to fanzines, etc.

(How's that going, Jon? Any responses?)

Two years later after forming a band in China I got back and found out (I think) he never sent them anywhere. Hard time getting him to take my calls after that.

Its now of course a real rarity, and can sell on ebay for more than $50.

Email me at if you want to order a copy from Extablissment Press.

Meanwhile at the time I was playing in the band The Undertoad out of Pomona. Our singer was a handicapped rights activist, Ed Tessier, who later basically created the Pomona Arts Colony and The Glasshouse in Pomona. Tessier is now currently in charge of rolling out the new Fox Theater in Pomona as a goldenvoice sponsored venue. Check it out, they're going to have some good shows.

kevin said...

Actually, I have to report an update...

Jon was cool, he recently called me up, and it turns out he did send it out a few places...

Then he had a gig at the Claremont pit stop The Press, and we got together on the sidewalk and had a jam before-hand. I gotta say that Jon has always been nothing but the best, sticks to his principles, and deserves nothing but respect. He slipped me X's More Fun in the New World on cassette tape in high school when I was still listening to Boston!