Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
I first discovered Me First and the Gimme Gimmes when I was a DJ at KCOU in Coulmbia, Missouri in late '97/early '98, just after they released their debut CD, ...Have a Ball. That album, which featured punk-rock takes on soft-rock hits of the 70's, seemed to be an outlet for a one-off side-gig for guys in far more succesful bands (including Swinging Utters, NOFX, Lagwagon, Rich Kids on LSD, and the Foo Fighters). Now, six albums into the punk-rock cover-song business, this band likely provides more income to the majority of its members that their "main" bands. Their sixth album, Love Their Country, comes out today, October 17th (in the U.S., anyway), and features twelve takes on classic country and western songs, including songs by Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and Hank Sr.
I'm a sucker for covers and melodic punk-rock, so mixing the two together seemed to be a perfectly logical combo to me when I first discovered them. Now everybody knows who they are, which is good, of course, but it also means everybody thinks they can do a punk-rock cover. Not so. So, while more pop-punk bands and their mascara-wearing little brothers' emo bands cover popular 80's songs than should legally be allowed to, remember this is the band that showed the world how well it could be done and know that very few live up to the MFATGG standard.
I have many, many good memories wrapped up in this band, from finding a way into a sold-out show at the Garage in London in the Fall of 1998, to sneaking on stage during their performance at the 2001 Warped Tour, drinking from the tiki-bar ten feet away from the band as they performed, that I'll have to save sharing those memories for another time.
In the meantime, here are some examples of cover songs done right:
From Love Their Country:
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - (Ghost) Riders in the Sky (originally performed by Johnny Cash/Gene Autry/others)
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Goodbye Earl (originally performed by the Dixie Chicks)
From previous albums:
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Wild World
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Leaving on a Jet Plane
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - The Longest Time
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - End of the Road