Before we have the chance to miss them, The Pinheads will return from the studio …
It’s hard to know what to make of Spike Slawson. The vocalist for punk rock supergroup Me First And The Gimme Gimmes has what could be described as a dry sense of humour, and whether the rapturous laughter he induces in those he speaks with is intentional, is totally debatable.
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Either way, Slawson is quite the character. Witty retorts to standard questions, all in jest, of course, and chuckling to himself when the same style of humour is thrown back at him. It’s not until the punk rock stalwart begins talking about the band’s upcoming run of headline shows and appearance at Download Australia that Slawson teeters on the edge of serious—the comedy still bobbing at the surface, mind you.
A super group of punk legends, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes is filled out by the presence of Lagwagon’s Joey Cape, Lagwagon drummer Dave Raun (still on sticks), Scott Shiflett of Face To Face, and Bad Religion’s Jay Bentley completing the role. It seems like they’re gluttons for punishment as Me First And The Gimme Gimmes are bringing their 24-year arsenal of works out on tour not only to the Australian edition of Download but the festival’s UK counterpart, too. “Masochism is as good a motivation as any,” laughs Slawson.
Over the course of their career, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes have touched on a little of everything—a little country, a little pop, a lot of punk—in whittling down their choices to appease their individual audiences, the band don’t have to make many concessions. Everything they do is palatable and popular. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes completely sold out their last Australian tour last time around, the suggestion of which that the band might be hoping for a repeat of such events, Slawson firmly replies “Always”, before he forms a fuller sentence with a steady drawl. “If we’re playing to a full club … club owners are happy … we’re happy … Australia’s happy … New Zealand! New Zealand, again! It feels like we were just there!”
We’re currently working on songs that we like, trying to narrow it down to a theme other than AM rock from the 70s and 80s.
[ Spike Slawson ]
They were just there. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes’ have a reciprocated love for their fans here and with our brothers in New Zealand, and we must be showing them a good time for them to want to keep coming back out here. “Indeed,” begins Slawson. “I have a really good time inhabiting whatever character my costume dictates, a big part for me is the visual beautification … Sound … Lights … Kinda trashy … Like a German schlockier is what we’re going for, an American, German schlockier!
“It should be a trashy, glitzy good time with some good jokes!”
With their greatest hits album released last year, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes hit their seventh heaven. Of course a seventh release now prompts the question of new music. “You mean are we getting over our sophomore slump?” teases Slawson. Sophomore is as sophomore does, Slawson sure still acts like that, and he’s pretty proud of it. The one thing he can say about new music is that Me First And The Gimme Gimmes know what direction they don’t want their sound to take. “We’re currently working on songs that we like, trying to narrow it down to a theme other than AM rock from the 70s and 80s. That was kind of the impotence of bands in the first place with songs like that, of songwriters like that–it’s a huge back catalogue of songs and I feel like in other themes, we didn’t explore that era. It’s almost as if the songs write themselves.
“What we want to do is pretty apparent within five or ten minutes of attempting a particular song–we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just trying to have fun with the one that already exists, trying to get out of my slump!”
Any slump Slawson’s feeling, real or affected, come March, Australia are most willing to help him out of that. A smattering of fervent thank you’s from Slawson to that declaration on behalf of the nation as he, for the last time until the arrival of Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, professes his excitement, love and thanks for the opportunity to come here once again.
Catch Me First And The Gimme Gimmes at the following dates:
Friday 8 March // HQ Complex // Adelaide w/ Von Stache & Surviving Sharks
Saturday 9 March // Download Festival at Parramatta Park // Sydney
Sunday 10 March // The Tivoli // Brisbane w/ DickLord & Von Stache
Monday 11 March // Download Festival at Flemington Racecourse // Melbourne