LA-based punk rock heroes NOFX and English singer-songwriter Frank Turner have announced a new split covers album, West Coast Vs. Wessex, which will be available Friday, July 31, via Fat Wreck Records. Ahead of the album’s release, the musicians have unveiled a new lead single, “Falling in Love,” which sees Turner capture his own take on the 1997 NOFX track and is available now to stream on all platforms.
Overall the album has NOFX reimagining five of Turner’s songs with their iconic California-punk sound while Turner does his singer-songwriter acoustic wizardry to five NOFX tracks. The result isn’t just a cover of each artist’s most popular songs. Rather, the album is a deep-dive into each other’s extensive catalogues, complete with selections that both NOFX and Turner felt they could truly turn into something entirely new with their specific talents.
“I listened to all of his records, and I picked the ones that I thought I could make more interesting,” notes NOFX vocalist and bassist, Fat Mike. “What I did is change a lot of chords. Frank, he beats me in the singing department. So I can’t sing better than he can, but I can maybe throw in a melody here or there or chord that he hadn’t thought of.”
In turn, Turner wanted to show NOFX’s devoted fanbase that he didn’t just pick the hits—he did his homework. “I didn’t want to just do straight covers of anything. I wanted to try and pick songs where I felt like me and my band could bring something different to the table,” explains Turner. “But it did strike me that it would be cool to demonstrate to the casual NOFX fan, who doesn’t know who I am, that I am actually a fan. I didn’t just go to Spotify and pick the five most-listened-to songs.”
Even with their ongoing schedules, Turner and NOFX made the project a priority as Turner and his band, The Sleeping Souls, recording songs between tour commitments (where Turner would lay down vocals from his bunk on the bus) whilst NOFX recorded at Fat Mike’s Six Floggs studio.
Now that the 10-track effort is finished, both artists are clearly pleased with the project.
“It’s difficult to describe quite how it feels to hear back a song that you wrote played by NOFX, one of your favorite bands, in a style that is unmistakably theirs,” Turner says. “It tends to make me just laugh in a really elated kind of way. It’s just like, ‘Holy shit, this is ‘Substitute’ done by NOFX! This is fucking insane!’”
As for Fat Mike, he was left impressed by both the selections and the sound.
“When Frank picked ‘Falling in Love,’ I was so fucking stoked,” Fat Mike says. “Then I heard it, and I go, ‘Holy shit, he just kicked our ass.’ I was pleased with all of them. I thought he did a really good job – and not such a good job that we couldn’t beat him on a few songs.”
Last month, the artists released two new tracks and corresponding videos for Frank Turner’s cover of the NOFX track, “Bob,” along with the NOFX cover of Turner’s “Thatcher Fucked the Kids.” Both tracks appear on the new album.
In May, NOFX appeared in the live stream of the Punk Rock Bowling festival.
West Coast Vs. Wessex track list
2. Worse Things Happen At Sea
3. Thatcher Fucked The Kids
4. Ballad Of Me And My Friends
5. Glory Hallelujah
6. Scavenger Type
8. Eat The Meek
9. Perfect Government
10. Falling In Love
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat