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artist information

Against Me!

Against Me! is an American rock band formed in Naples, Florida, later relocated to Gainesville, Florida. Their first full-length album, released on No Idea Records in 2002, is Reinventing Axl Rose. They have released music on Misanthrope Records, Crasshole Records, Plan It X Records, Sabot Productions, No Idea Records, and Fat Wreck Chords. In December of 2005, they signed to Sire Records, and released their major label debut, New Wave, on July 10, 2007.

Biography

Early history (1997-2000)

Tom Gabel started the band at 17-years-old, as a solo act with vocals and acoustic guitar. He would only occasionally perform with backup from drummers or bassists. This period in the band was marked by playing a guerrilla show in a college apartment complex laundromat, emphasizing the punk aspect of their work. He put out one demo tape by himself, officially entitled Against Me!, but more commonly known as Tom's First Demo. While copies of the cassette itself are extremely rare, Internet file-sharing programs help to circulate the songs amongst later fans.

Another demo cassette was released the following year on Misanthrope Records, with a slightly more complete band, titled Vivida Vis!. Only five hundred copies of this album were made, but file-sharing once again popularized it. Perhaps the most well known song on the record, "Shit Stroll," is still routinely requested by the audience at Against Me! shows. Against Me! rarely, if ever, obliges these requests. Gabel summarized his feelings on this subject in a 2007 interview with Racket Magazine:

NO ONE fucking liked us. (laughs) No one! Our first year of shows was just like us showing up, me and Kevin and unloading my acoustic guitar, and Kevin unloading his drums; which was like this weird home made kit, and people were like "What the fuck is this?" and making fun of us. No one liked us at first, and now there’s all these people saying "I've loved you since (Vivida Vis)." “No, you didn't. No one liked us when (Vivida Vis) was around. I was there at the shows! There were TEN people there, what are you talking about? I know you weren't there.”

...

awesome to play something that would make somebody happy to hear. But sometimes there are songs that we don't necessarily play anymore, and when people ask for 'em it's like "God, we don't want to play them anymore." An example would be the song (Burn) (chuckles) we uh, we don't play it anymore and it's like "Hm... sorry." (laughs)

Next, an obscure, self-titled, five-song vinyl-only 12" EP surfaced on the ill-fated Crasshole Records in 2000. Due to a mastering error, only 150 copies were ever officially released.

2001-2002

In 2001, Against Me! - now chiefly Gabel on guitar and Kevin Mahon on drums - celebrated their first widely successful release in Crime as Forgiven By. The four song 7" and six song CD-EP was joint-released on Plan-It-X Records and Sabot Productions. The 7" came first; the CD that followed included two bonus tracks: Impact, which remains a staple of live shows, and Burn, which has been more or less disowned by the band. Both versions of the record are considered to be some of Against Me!'s best work.

After Crime, a four-song acoustic 7" was released. While technically untitled, the album is most commonly referred to as The Acoustic EP, or less commonly as the Jordan's First Choice EP. In a similar manner as Crime, this record was re-released as a CD-EP with two extra songs. It contains no electric guitar or drums; only Gabel's acoustic guitar and bass by Dustin Fridkin. It is one of the band's definitive releases.

Shortly after the release of The Acoustic EP, Against Me!'s lineup shifted when Mahon officially left the band. Warren Oakes took Mahon's place, and James Bowman joined the band as a second guitarist.

Reinventing Axl Rose is the band's first full-length album. The album features five brand new tracks; the other six were re-recorded from their original appearances on Crime and The Acoustic EP. This album was considered a shift because of the addition of electric guitars, and a full band. There is a much more recognizable mainstream rock sound, but still a large punk influence. The title track and "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!" earned significant notoriety in punk rock circles and began to spread Against Me! to a larger fan base, a fan base that would prove difficult to please with their few next releases.

After Axl Rose, in 2002, a three-song EP entitled The Disco Before The Breakdown was released. The title track is a marked departure from the earlier sound, incorporating friends and musicians from their label, No Idea Records, as a horn section for the first time. "Tonight We're Gonna Give it 35%" shows the band's greatest transition towards a more rock sound that would carry the rest of their discography. "Beginning in an Ending" is the only track hearkening back to the band's earliest days, and even it was a change of pace.

2003-2005

After Disco, Against Me!'s lineup changed once again. Fridkin left the band, and was replaced on bass guitar by Andrew Seward. This lineup of Gabel, Oakes, Bowman, and Seward has remained constant since. Interestingly, the common set-up of the band at live shows features Gabel (the chief vocalist) stage right, while Seward takes center stage.

Their second full length album, As The Eternal Cowboy, was released on Fat Wreck Chords. Though many fans welcomed the opportunity of increased exposure for the band, some older fans and those with anarchist sensibilities themselves were less pleased. Some even considered the band sell-outs, as the band had gone against ideals formerly expressed in their music, such as a DIY ethic and anti-capitalist stance. This became an issue of great dispute among fans. The album itself showed another move away from their roots towards a more rock sound. Gabel himself describes the album as sounding "more punk." This album also earned them their first single, Sink, Florida, Sink. The divisive effect this record had on their fan base became the topic of their next release, a DVD entitled We're Never Going Home.

We're Never Going Home is a tour documentary, produced by Jake Burghart of Transition Video Magazine. The DVD follows the band on a US tour where they were literally offered "a million dollars to make a record" by Universal Records. The anticipation for their next album sent executives off to wine and dine the band with offers of fortune and fame. The video offers insight into how the band handled these offers and also gives a peek at what it's like to live life on the road with the band. It also features candid interviews with Fat Wreck Chords executives including Fat Mike, band members, Christopher Johnston of Plan-It-X, and fans. The DVD derives it's name from the final line of "Slurring the Rhythms," a song on Eternal Cowboy.

In between these two releases, an unofficial release, a demo, was stolen from someone affiliated with the band at a joint Against Me!/Lucero show. This important, albeit not widely known, incident symbolized the growing disconnect between the band and its fan base. The tracks were leaked to the Internet and some of the fan-given names included: "Miami," "How Low," "Joy," "Holy Shit," and "Problems." When these songs appeared on Against Me!'s next album, they had the same names that were given to them on the demo by the band's listeners. This was a knowing snub to the thieves and an acknowledgment of the act on the part of Against Me!, a band generally known for their more lengthy and cryptic song titles.

This album Searching For A Former Clarity was released on September 6, 2005. It broke them into the mainstream, debuting at #114 on the Billboard charts. The band released a music video for the album's first single, "Don't Lose Touch," originally specifically for MySpace. The video can now be seen on the television music station Fuse. The band's also performed the song on an episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien which aired on September 30, 2005. "Don't Lose Touch" went on to air on the MTV 10 Spot on November 11, 2005.

In November of 2005, the band released a 12" single for Don't Lose Touch, which featured a remix of the song by Mouse On Mars on side A and the album version of the song on side B. They released another 12" single for From Her Lips To God's Ears on April 4, 2006, with a remix by Adrock of The Beastie Boys on side A, and the album version on side B. Both singles were released on Fat Wreck Chords.

On December 21, 2005, it was announced that the band had signed a deal with Sire Records. This decision alienated some of Against Me!'s longtime fans, who felt that the band finally signing to a major label betrayed their anarchistic ethics and longtime beliefs, but other fans remain supportive of the band's decision. Against Me! has stated, however, that a large factor in the decision to switch to Sire was the opportunity to work with Butch Vig, producer for Nirvana's Nevermind.

2006-Present

Against Me! released their first live album (and last album before their 2007 Sire release) - titled Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!! - on August 22, 2006. The album was recorded at the Mean Fiddler in London, England. It features one previously unreleased song named "Americans Abroad." It was released solely to fill a contractual obligation to Fat Wreck Chords.

Against Me! announced on their MySpace on December 29, 2006 their debut album on Sire, New Wave. The album is ten songs, stretching just over 30 minutes, and it was released on July 10, 2007. It debuted at #57 on the Billboard 200 the week of its release.

On August 13th 2007, Tom Gabel was arrested for battery after a show in Tallahassee, Florida for an earlier incident where Gabel allegedly entered into a confrontation with a cafe patron.

Against Me! still tours regularly, through America and internationally.

Members

Current

  • Tom Gabel - Guitar, Lead Vocals (1997–present)
  • James Bowman - Guitar, Vocals (2002–present)
  • Andrew Seward - Bass, Vocals (2002–present)
  • Warren Oakes - Drums (2002–present)

Former

  • Dustin Fridkin - Bass, Vocals (2001–2002)
  • Kevin Mahon - Drums (1998–2001)

Featured guests

  • Jason Rutcofsky (High School Football Heroes) - Tenor Saxophone (Warped Tour 2006)
  • Dave Solomon (High School Football Heroes) - Trombone (Warped Tour 2006)
  • George Argyrou (High School Football Heroes) - Trumpet (Warped Tour 2006)
  • Tegan Quin (Tegan and Sara) - Vocals ("Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart" on New Wave)
  • Genevieve Tremblay (Fifth Hour Hero) - Vocals ("How Low" on Searching For A Former Clarity)

Discography

Studio albums

  • Reinventing Axl Rose - 2002, No Idea Records
  • As the Eternal Cowboy - 2003, Fat Wreck Chords (#36 Independent Albums)
  • Searching for a Former Clarity - 2005, Fat Wreck Chords (#114 US, #1 Heatseeker, #9 Independent Albums)
  • New Wave - 2007, Sire Records (#57 US)

Live albums

  • Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!! - 2006, Fat Wreck Chords

EPs

  • Against Me! EP - 2000, Crasshole Records
  • Crime as Forgiven By - 2001, Plan-It-X Records (CD)/Sabot Productions (7")
  • The Acoustic EP - 2001, Sabot Productions
  • The Disco Before the Breakdown - 2002, No Idea Records

Singles

  • Cavalier Eternal 7" - 2004, No Idea Records
  • Sink, Florida, Sink 7" - 2005, No Idea Records
  • Don't Lose Touch 12" - 2005, Fat Wreck Chords
  • From Her Lips To God's Ears 12" - 2006, Fat Wreck Chords
  • White People For Peace 7" - 2007, Sire Records
  • Thrash Unreal 7" - 2007, Sire Records (#28 US Modern Rock)

Demos

  • Against Me! - 1997, self-released
  • Vivida Vis! - 1998, Misanthrope Records

Compilation appearances

  • We're Here to Ruin Your Fun Cassette/Newspaper - 1998, Crasshole Records (songs: "National Myth" and "Burning Bridges")
  • Experiments In Audio Rocketry CD - 2003, 1234 Go! Records (song: "Untitled")
  • Nice Guys Finish Last CD - 2003, Nice Guy Records (song: "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!")
  • Go-Kart MP300 Raceway CD - 2003, Go Kart Records (songs: "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" and "Reinventing Axl Rose")
  • Anti-Floyd - The Terrier State CD - 2004, Fat Wreck Chords (song: "Cliche Guevara")
  • Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1 CD - 2004, Fat Wreck Chords (song: "Sink, Florida, Sink (Electric)")
  • Rock Against Floyd CD - 2005, Fat Wreck Chords (song: "Problems")
  • PROTECT: A Benefit for the National Association to Protect Children CD - 2005, Fat Wreck Chords (song: "Wagon Wheel")
  • MySpace Records Volume 1 CD - 2005, MySpace Records (song: "Don't Lose Touch")
  • DVDs
    • We're Never Going Home - 2004, Fat Wreck Chords
    • Live At The Key Club- 2007, Sire Records