Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Love Their Country

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Love Their Country
Photo: Jake Blakesburg
Certainly even the most casual pop punk fans are familiar with the Gimme Gimmes by this point. Composed of members of Swingin’ Utters, Foo Fighters, NOFX and Lagwagon, the veritable supergroup have been churning out punkified versions of your favourite songs since their inception in 1995. Having already tackled such genre goldmines as show tunes and R&B, their fifth studio record finds them assaulting such country classics as "Sunday Morning Coming Down” and "I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” More interesting is the band’s selection of relatively modern material by such artists as the Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks, whose "Goodbye Earl” and "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)”, respectively, are each given the double-time punk treatment. The band’s pedigree has always meant solid collections of covers with each of their releases, and Love Their Country is no exception. The band’s propensity for lifting other recognisable riffs is in full effect once again; listen for a few distinct moments by the Clash, the Damned and the Misfits where you wouldn’t expect them. With the strength of Spike Slawson’s vocals, the band have once again risen above the typical bullshit of punk covers to create a collection of other people’s songs that actually feels like record.

Why country this time around? Slawson: We hadn’t done it yet. And in the back of your mind, you know it’s just four-on-the-floor with very simple rhythm templates. I think that’s exactly why a lot of that R&B record (2003’s Take A Break) did not work. Half of R&B is the "R.” In this case, it’s more melodies driving the songs, and even if it is a rhythm, it’s usually very similar to punk.

Is there an era of music you look forward to getting to cover with Me First? I think we might do rock ballads some time soon. Not good ones, but bad ones. If they were ’80s ones, they could be really bad or they could be really special. The stuff that I like, I like, and I don’t want to ruin it.

Are you happy that this has lasted longer than you originally assumed in 1995? Sometimes. That sounds weird, but when you’re on tour for a month and a half, it gets really fucking tedious playing covers. It’s like when you’re at a bar, and it’s fun sometimes in the present tense, but when you’ve been drinking at that bar every single day, the compound effect on your body, your psyche, your stamina… You don’t want to go on. It’s depressing. (Fat Wreck)