The undisputed modern gods of punk cover bands Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have just announced their new tour, which includes a stop in Dallas at the end of October.
Supergroup Fat Wreck Chords, fronted by Swingin’ Utters vocalist Spike Slawson, will kick off their A Real American Tour at the end of September, and their penultimate stop will be at Amplified Live on Technology Boulevard on October 27. also include live performances by Seattle activist rock duo The Black Tones and Brooklyn punk band Surfbort.
Tickets will go on sale on the Amplified Live site at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 22.
The band also includes Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape, Lagwagon drummer Dave Raun and Fat Wreck Chords founder and NOFX vocalist Fat Mike on bass. They describe themselves as “more like a Pussycat Dolls brewery than a regular mortal band,” according to the artist’s biography page on the Fat Wreck Chords website.
The band’s entire musical catalog consists of punk remakes of pop songs and classics. Nothing is off limits or too lame to cover for the group. Their discography includes punk remakes of Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon”, John Denver’s “Country Roads” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs”.
The band formed in the late 90s as a one-off project to cover the highs of the 70s with a 1996 performance at San Francisco’s famed Chameleon Club. Cape said in an interview with Close-range scene in 2014 that they didn’t expect the band to still be touring and releasing albums for over a year.
“It was just supposed to be a band to play pubs for our friends, and then we decided to do some 7-inches,” Cape said in the interview. “Then we made a full album out of our 7-inch A-sides. After that, we started touring occasionally. It always makes me laugh when I consider it’s a cover band.”
Each album seems like a new challenge to make real punk pop songs unlike a certain line of “Punk Goes…” albums whatever. Each album explores a classic genre by taking its greatest hits and giving them the punk rock treatment. Me first and the Gimme Gimmes take a break pays homage to the R&B and funk standards of the 70s and 80s. Are a brake the album covers classic show tunes such as Annie’s “Tomorrow” and the main theme from Joe Masteroff’s musical Cabaret. Sing in Japanese covers Japanese rock hits such as “Kokoro No Tabi” by Tulip and “Linda Linda” by The Blue Hearts entirely in Japanese.
The group takes a CRAZY Magazine approach to punk cover music. They don’t outright parody the music they produce, but embrace silliness with all the might of a three-car stack – from the music to the album covers, whether they wear a full Broadway drag for their album of show songs or they dress like drunk, Martini-Guzzling Shriners for their album of 50s rock covers.
Thanks to Slawson and the band’s love of exploring unusual sounds and instruments to create great silly music, like Slawson’s ukulele cover album Uke Hunt (don’t say it out loud at work unless you want a visit from HR), Me First and the Gimmes Gimmes loves throwing wrenches at listeners by finding surprising ways to take on the classics. The band’s cover of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” turns the Oscar-winning diva ballad into an Irish ballad that draws inspiration from Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys.
Few fandoms can get more pretentious than music lovers. So imagine how refreshing it will be to catch a live performance of intentional punk cover music and wiggle your hips to tunes you never thought you could dance to in your lifetime. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re the best punk cover band in the world.