There is a huge difference between a gimmick and a good idea. For Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies (Me First), a punk rock super-band of sorts, their idea of covering classic songs with a punk rock twist is far from a gimmick.
Featuring members from acts such as Swingin’ Utters, NOFX, Foo Fighters, and Lagwagon, Me First originally was just a side project with the members only wanting record cover songs to offer them up on compilations. Soon after they were releasing singles followed by full length albums through Fat Wreck Chords that covered all sorts of genres from rock to country and to even showtunes. 16-years later the band is still pushing out cover songs that sometimes (who am I kidding – everytime) sound better than the original.
This time around, Me First has graced everyone with five Australian band covers on the Me First Go Down Under EP. It’s a quick listen, but at the same time absolutely brilliant. The band also made sure to drop the EP when they were touring in Australia.
So what is it about hearing a punk version of “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS that is so damn enjoyable? Maybe because it is sped up, or perhaps because lead vocalist Spike just has a great singing voice. I should admit that I may have liked that song growing up, but prefer the Me First version hands down – it sounds so much better.
Hearing Air Supply’s “All Out Of Love” made me wonder about the challenge this band endured while covering such a cheesy track. As much as I despise this song I could not help but crack a smile while it played through and hold myself back from singing along.
“Friday On My Mind” by the Easybeats was entertaining but not as much as hearing the boys cover Olivia Newton-John’s “Have You Never Been Mellow”. I used to hate that song but now have a new found love for it. Thanks guys. Ending the EP was a Rick Springfield cover of “I’ve Done Everything For You”.
It is very possible that Me First recorded this album in a weekend for kicks and giggles on their end as well as for their fans. I am sure it was still a difficult task to learn the songs with a straight face as well as find some free time to get together. After all, these guys have full time gigs in the music world.
Being that Me First is just a side project, the band members are all some pretty busy people with their actual bands. It’s nice to see them keep up this fun little cover band, one that I have been a fan of since high school. I hope for their sake and mine it continues for years to come.
I still have yet to see this band live as somehow I missed them when they played the Warped Tour years ago in Cleveland. I blame beer for that one because I know I was at that show. Still, I am sure they will be back soon and maybe if I win the lottery anytime soon I can head to Vegas and see them play at the Punk Rock Bowling show on 05/29/2011. That would be awesome.
I may have mentioned before that Me First is not a gimmick but also they are not to be taken seriously. They are a group of great guys out there just having some fun reinventing classics into something much more tolerable to most folks’ ears. Check out their latested EP, I guarantee you will enjoy it. At just $8 for a 7″ or CD it is well worth the price for something fun to listen to.