Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

In that mythical era known as the 90's, five brave young men emerged from the legendary halls of some of the mightiest bands on Fat Wreck Chords with a single mission: make all the rest of these dildo punk bands covering popular songs obsolete. They crowned themselves Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and the world rejoiced. Now, seven records, scores of singles and nearly a thousand years later, having tackled every genre under the sun, the bold young knaves known colloquially as the Gimmes have ridden their success hard, and decayed into desiccated, old divas. Yet, the diva, she is immortal. And thus, imbued with the old-world, Mystic Pizza-esque swagger of Cher, the modern pop-art sensibility of Lady Gaga and the enthusiasm-for-drug-consumption of Whitney Houston, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have returned from their beauty rest, busting out of their sequined gowns, and throwing vases at their assistants in order to present you with their latest opus, entitled Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!, slated to be released on May 13, 2014 on none other than Fat Wreck Chords. And you'd best believe, whether because of their tantrums or their virtuosity, once you hear these fat ladies sing, there's not gonna be a dry eye in the house.
For the uninitiated, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes consist of Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape on the guitar, Shiflett brother (and Foo Fighter) Chris Shiflett on the other guitar, Lagwagon drummer and Fat Wreck utility superhero Dave Raun on the skins, and are rounded out by Fat Wreck-head-honcho/NOFX main-dude Fat Mike, and incomparable crooner Spike Slawson. Together, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes—an outfit that has always operated more like a beer-hall Pussycat Dolls than a regular mortal band—contain so much hot air, so much pomp, so much attitude, that it's a wonder that these guys can still manage to pull their five individual tour buses into the same parking lot, put their differences aside and belt out the ballads without clawing each other's eyes out. But they do, for the love of the fans, the music, and of course, the applause.
In the past, The Gimmes have tackled such disparate genres as Motown, country, show tunes and even Japanese pop (sung in real live Japanese!) but none of that enabled them to truly soar as high above the eagles as they desired, feeling the wind of other, lesser bands beneath their wings. So this time, the Fat (Wreck) Five decided to take on the un-take-on-able and hit us with cuts from the likes of Celine (gasp!) Christina (Sigh!) and Paula Abdul (oh no you di'int!) among others. And as Spike's baritone somehow manages to make Whitney Houston's (Dolly Parton-penned) Theme Song To The Bodyguard EVEN MORE EPIC, you will be moved to tears. You will find joy. You will shake in your very skin as the music of these divas gently takes you by the hand and shows you how to love again. AND! You'll buy tickets to see 'em on tour.
Because that's right folks! Nothing says 'diva' like coming to your town to bask in the torrential, gushing blasts of your love, and the Gimmes will be hitting the entire world in support of Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!, except maybe Mike, who's such a diva that he's got substitutes on hand! So grab those flowers off of your grandma's grave and head out now, to check out Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on wax and in your town, before these five outrageous harpies either kill each other or wind up as a Vegas destination act, bloated, high on pills and… uh, nevermind that last part. Just go see em, eh? It's a helluva time.

Masked Intruder

The best pop-punk band you hope never gets out of prison.

The story of PEARS is not exactly an incredibly long one: The hardcore punk band came together just over a year ago, in early 2014, after its members had kicked around the New Orleans punk scene for long enough before finally wising up and realizing they were meant for each other. However, it is a story that is remarkably fast-paced: The band's first demo, …In Diapers, was released days after their first practice. The band's 10-song debut album, the absolutely electrifying Go To Prison, was written over the course of 14 hours and recorded a mere five weeks after the band formed. Really, there's no way PEARS should be as good as they are—something frontman Zach Quinn fully realizes. "The big secret is that me and a couple of the guys were in a band called the Lollies for a few years," Quinn says. "That band broke up, we took some time away from each other and then just tried to do it right this time. I guess we really kind of lucked out. We didn't make the same mistakes—the same mistakes being really too fuckin' drunk to do anything."
Of course, coming out of the NOLA scene, it's tough to be anything but debaucherous.

"The city is so decadent, it's a great place to be a piece of shit," Quinn says. "There's plenty of punk rock. Not a lot of it is very good, but everybody's having fun." It's that anything-goes attitude that informs Go To Prison, an album that straddles the line between in-your-face hardcore and sugar-sweet traditional pop-punk that's surprisingly lighthearted. It's evident in their logo (some might call it an homage to Fear; "I haven't heard from Lee Ving's lawyers yet," chuckles Quinn), all the musical easter eggs scattered throughout the record (including references to Descendents and Suicidal Tendencies), plus an absolutely ripping cover of the Ramones' "Judy Is A Punk" that is one whole second shorter than the original (a feat we didn't even think possible). But just because the album comes off as humorous at times doesn't mean PEARS don't take themselves seriously. "I definitely take what we do very seriously, but it doesn't mean it ain't funny," Quinn explains. "Humor is an aspect of everything. People without a sense of humor are either dead or lying. There's humor in everything if you know where to look." Take, for example, the band name. "The name 'PEARS' came from this really terrible mushroom trip I had," he admits. "I ate way too many mushrooms and things just got really bizarre. Pears and bananas became archetypes for everything that is good and pure and everything that is terrible and shitty—pears are the terrible and shitty things. After that bad trip, pears became slang between me and my friends for bullshit: 'That shit's pears.' I suggested the band name, and everybody thought that was dumb, but I talked 'em into it." The band were lucky enough to befriend Off With Their Heads frontman Ryan Young, who loved the band so much he put out Go To Prison on vinyl on his own label, Anxious And Angry, last year. Since then, PEARS have been on the road nonstop, supporting the likes of the Dwarves, the Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket and Strung Out, all leading to the re-release of Go To Prison on Fat Wreck Chords on July 24th. That's no excuse to stop working, though: While their first album might finally be hitting a record store near you this July, the band will be back in the studio recording its follow-up with none other than Fat Mike in the producer's chair. ("I never thought anything like that would ever happen," Quinn says of Mike's interest in his band. "I remember buying The Decline when I was 12—it's really weird that I have anydegree of separation from that.") While 2015 might be the busiest year of PEARS' short existence thus far, it's clear 2016 has potential to be even bigger.

"Honestly, what we have done up to now, I hadn't even dreamed of," Quinn admits. "I'm not gonna stop climbing. I wanna see how insane this can get. We've always said the last thing we'll do as a band is play North Korea. Then we'll be done. That's the ultimate goal—even if we sneak in and play to nobody. I don't care. I can't wait to see what I get to do."

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