Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are an absolute supergroup within the punk genre! This isn’t only due to the fact they have been around for many years and released numerous albums; the five core members all come from high profile bands such as LagWagon, No Use for a Name, NoFX, Swingin’ Utters and Foo Fighters. This also doesn’t include the insane calibre of touring members they’ve had over the years, or the fact that Me First are a cover band! Primarily consisting of Spike Slawson (vocals), Fat Mike (bass / backing vocals), Chris Shiflett (lead guitar / backing vocals), Joey Cape (rhythm guitar / backing vocals) and Dave Raum (drums), Me First have been showcasing their talent to the world since 1997 when they released their first album Have a Ball. Along the way they also released Take a Break in 2003, Ruin Jonny’s Bar Mitzvah in 2004 and Have Another Ball in 2008 just to name a few more instalments on this epic adventure.
Me First are making their way down to Australia in October for a run of several shows that are very well anticipated by fans; not only have four shows already sold out and a fifth is well on the way, but they had to very recently add an extra show in Brisbane to please the high demand! OVERDRIVE got the opportunity to speak to Slawson about the coming Australian tour; it made perfect sense to start the interview off by mentioning the excitement that Me First have about performing to such eager Australian fans.
“Everyone is extremely excited! We’re gonna have a lot of fun; a lot of sweaty, dirty fun! We can’t wait and we’re counting the seconds; it’s been four years, plus Chris Cheney is going to be there with us! It’s gonna be a blast and a fucking gas; I think there’s gonna be some intercontinental chemistry.”
Fat Mike isn’t making the trip down to Australia this time around; the reason being he has to take care of the Punk in Drublic Festival that he created that is happening on the east coast of the USA at the same time. This however has left the door open for Cheney to join Me First on this trip to Australia, after he joined them on their recent spring tour across the USA. Slawson gave an insight into how Cheney not only came about joining them on that spring tour, but also on how he decided to accompany Me First to Australia:
“We had a great time together on the west coast of the USA and in Canada; we just got along on a personal level, on a professional level and on a musical level. He’s just great to travel with and it was a no-brainer as they say. He’s an old friend of Mike’s and Mike sort of arranged the whole thing; he was an obvious idea because he lives on the west coast of the US now. He’s a great player and Mike couldn’t shut up about how much of a great guy he is!”
Knowing that Me First vary between matching Hawaiian shirts and wearing full-blown matching attire on stage, this interviewer was curious as to what fans could expect to see the band wearing this time around. Slawson mentioned that the band would be wearing, “Just great outfits; as always bought to you by the twisted fashtistic visionary Audra Morse who more than handles our wardrobe needs! Even things we didn’t know we needed and now we couldn’t live without; it’s her version of American Schlager culture. If you’re not familiar with the German Schlager culture, you can always Google it!”
There was a massive storm going on in San Francisco where Slawson was doing our interview, which led to him mishearing when I asked him about what city Me First were most excited to get to play in again; he thought he asked what songs they were most looking forward to playing. Slawson explained how, “We’re doing some new-old ones, ones that we haven’t done in a long time; possibly one or two that we’ve never played in Australia before! Also some new-new ones that are new to Australia that I’m hoping people will enjoy.” After being re-asked what cities they were looking forward to coming back to, Slawson let out a good chuckle before continuing with, “Wow; it’s tough to pick just one! I do love the Corner Hotel; as a venue, it’s very memorable! I remember the inside, the outside, as well as the strip that it’s on; I always think of it very fondly and it’s the most distinct memory in my mind as far as a show in a place goes.”
Me First have made their career as a cover band; this interviewer was curious to hear from the front man who they enjoyed covering most, or what genres they enjoyed covering most. This interviewer seemed to have a knack for producing hard hitting questions, as Slawson pointed out by saying, “Boy; that’s another tough one,” before continuing with, “I’d have to say the AM Soul stuff from the 70s; that’s generally my favourite! The light rock / contemporary music from the 70s are my inspiration.”
What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Me First; are there any more tours planned after they leave Australia, or are the band looking at recording a new album? Slawson provided some news that will make any Me First fan happy!
“What we were hoping to do is a live recording and do it at an actual event; something like Jonny’s Bar Mitzvah. It would be more of a multimedia kinda thing, where it has something for people to watch, enjoy and laugh with / at. We haven’t decided as to where it would be yet, but it will just be an event that people throw, like a certain party, or a wedding, a funeral or a bris… we’ll play anything. We’ve tossed around the idea of playing at an quinceanera: that’s when a Mexican girl turns 15 years old and her family throws a huge party. Everybody gets dressed up, they eat food, they have bands play and I think that might be a fun event to play and record. The good part would also be that at any of those functions, there will be a lot of people there who will actively not like us; it’s going to have an awkward quality to it and that’s what we’re hoping for! We’re also not adverse to learning some Spanish songs; we think it would be a lot of fun.”