Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah
Published Nov 01, 2004When youre a punk-rock super-group/novelty act that has already done themed albums of 60s and 70s, show tunes and R&B covers, whats left for a fifth record? How about a live album? But like anything this band that features members of NOFX, Lagwagon, Foo Fighters and Swingin Utters does, this isnt your regular live album. Recorded live off the floor at a celebration of a young Jewish boys passage into manhood, this record captures the band in their element: confusing pubescent teens, delighting 30-something delayed Gen-Xers and offending bubbies and zadies with this diverse collection of material that gives the punk rock business to everyone from Styx ("Come Sail Away), Led Zeppelin ("Stairway to Heaven) and the Beatles ("Strawberry Fields Forever) to REO Speedwagon ("Take It On the Run), Blondie ("Heart of Glass) and even Helen Reddy ("Delta Dawn) and the Carpenters ("Superstar). Thrown in for traditions sake are "Hava Nagila and "Auld Lang Syne. Although edited from its original two-set length, the disc leaves in some of the many mistakes and false starts, which adds to the feeling of actually being there as the powder blue-tuxedoed punks fake their way through the evening. And if you dont believe it, just check out the video footage of bewildered partygoers. Hilarious.
Was this a real Bar Mitzvah? Singer Spike Slawson: Yes and it was kind of awkward. We decided to do a whole record worth of new material for the show and we only practiced for four days. It ended up we werent very well practiced. I remember feeling really nervous, more so than any show Ive ever played. But at the end of it I couldnt help thinking what a great idea it was. You cant duplicate that awkwardness or spontaneity on a regular record.
Who is Jonny Wixen and did you really ruin his big day? Hes Fat Mikes publishing attorneys kid or something. I think he had a pretty good time. That might be pending the release of the record because there might have been jokes at his expense he didnt hear but I think all in all he had a pretty good time. It was great; it had an ice cream bar and a really nice dinner. He even played drums on the last song.
How long can you keep this joke going? As far as Im concerned indefinitely. The other guys seem to think the same thing, as long as you change the paradigm. Thats why the bar mitzvah was such a great idea. The joke is always in the back of your mind but you never forget where the live thing is and as long as you change it up then its fresh and funny. Theres a finite amount of time you can just cover songs and it would stay interesting. You have to keep it interesting and thats what playing live does. (Fat Wreck)