Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is a band that really extends itself into places most bands aren’t willing to go, both literally and musically. Drawing its members from various punk bands like NOFX to Swingin’ Utters, the supergroup also specializes in covers from a variety of wildly different artists ranging from Elton John to Boyz 2 Men. In preparation for their third tour in Japan, the Gimmes Gimmes released the album Sing In Japanese where the band covers a multitude of classics in the realm of Japanese punk bands. Vocalist Spike Slawson sat down with OurStage to explain what makes a good cover, the difficulties a band faces when touring abroad and his thoughts on the Japanese punk scene as a whole.
OS: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have always been characterized as a punk supergroup. When you first started, was it difficult to manage all the different elements that each member brought from their respective groups?
SS: Initially, it gelled right away, because I think a lot of people weren’t necessarily convinced they were right yet.
SS: Fidelity to the original, but with a new group of people in the room where it sounds like a different take to it. Carbon footprint, I don’t know.
OS: Has the band ever attempted to play original songs or has it been only covers?
SS: Only covers, only ever covers.
OS: Was there a specific reason for that?
SS: Well, I don’t know. It’s sort of like a process of elimination. There’s too many options in music, at least in my mind, where we would have no idea where to go. Making it only covers or making it only a certain style of music, it narrows the range a little bit. It just makes it simpler. Often the best song on a lot of these pop punk bands’ records was the cover, you know. Or like the only good song. So why not do a band of that? And several of us wanted to play out in a band that was less serious and the quickest way to get a live set together to play out was covers. (more…)