I don't know if it's much of a secret or not, but I have a thing for Against Me! Not in a sexual way or in a really creepy and disturbing way, but in a way like a kid having a lick of an ice cream for the first time (maybe a poor likeness). I yesterday, for the second time in one year, had to the pleasure of witnessing this band once again turn heads and leave people in shock as they screamed, stomped, and forced every ounce of energy they (and the crowd) had in their incredibly skinny bodies. The band, to me, are possibly the best band to witness live, they are just the complete opposite to what they sound on record, and it helps that your in a venue that is literally the size of your living room with numerous amounts of kids cramed into one tiny corner that if you fell over, you'd probably be crushed. So to celebrate my over excitement and the mark the band has now left on me once again, I am going to dedicate a post to the history of the band so that people that are yet to witness the band in their skin and glory could maybe jump on the bandwagon and quit being slack.
Back in 2002, the band released their debut record, Reinventing Axl Rose, on No Idea Records. Prior to this they had an endless amount of EP's, singles, cassettes, you name it flying around. To the band's surprise, the album never landed them a lawsuit from the Guns 'N Roses singer himself. Reinventing Axl Rose was a huge shift for the band, for starters they were actually a band (they use to be a two-piece) and they now had the inclusion of an electric guitar, two infact. The album has folk-punk written all over it and the influences are as obvious as any other of their releases, but the band were only starting out at this stage of their career, they were young and had many years to learn. Irish influenced Pints Of Guiness Make You Strong and Baby, I'm An Anarchist! were stand-out tracks, giving the band some attention from a certain well known punk label.
A year later the band got signed to Fat Wreck Chords and released their second album, As The Eternal Cowboy. To much delight the band recieved that wider audience exposure they were hoping, but to some of the more reliable and core fans the sign to a new label was not welcomed with opened arms. The band then really started to hit things off, their touring schedules became hectic (they made their first to Australia), interviews were overblown, and the band were becoming something of a hit in the punk-rock community. Once again the band showed a whole new movement, they focused more on the rock side of their music rather than the folksy side. This as well forced fans to split and either be with the band and where they were now heading or find a new band. Sink. Florida. Sink became an anthem for most punks whilst songs such as Rice And Bread and You Look I Need A Drink were winners with new listeners.
The band then went a little quiet, only releasing their much acclaimed and insightful DVD We're Never Going Home which showed us the hectic life that is Against Me! The band literally had major record labels throwing millions and millions towards the band to sign with them. The DVD was a clear insight as to how the band handles this sort of situation and shows that they truly think of the fans and wouldn't become sell-outs. On the plus side, there was also a lot of music to be watched and loved.
In 2005 came the band most anticipated and overhyped album yet, Searching For A Former Clarity, which once again saw the band heading a new direction and giving the finger to anyone that doesn't agree with what their doing. The album broke them into mainstream status and even debuted in the Top 100 on the Billboard charts. The band then released their first "officially" video clip for Don't Lose Touch, which even got them a spot on the Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Searching For A Former Clarity was a huge awakening for listeners as lead singer Tom Gabel gives us his thoughts and feelings towards his country and their government, thus making the album the most political album to date. The band also had Don't Lose Touch remixed by Mouse On Mars (oh! If anyone has this song, please feel free to share it with me) and they also made their second tour to Australia, which I attended.
Towards the end of 2005 it was announced that the band had officially signed with major label Sire Records. This decision, like many of their other decisions, infuriated loyal fans and they now felt that the band were betraying them. Whilst "core" fans now wanted to be removed from Against Me! most fans welcomed this opportunity with open arms and saw things like the band.
In 2006 the band released their first ever live album, Americans Abroad!, which was filmed in London on the end of their 2005 tour in front of hundreds of fans. The album featured only one new song, Americans Abroad, and was their last ever release on Fat Wreck Chords. The live album gave fans once again a new insight in the band and shows us the enthusiasm and the chemistry the band have on stage. The DVD really proves that the band do have the best time on stage.
This year it was announced that the band have finished recording their new album with legendary producer, Butch Vig (Nirvana's Nevermind and drummer for Garbage), the album will be titled New Wave and will be released towards the end of July. With the release of their new video and single, White People For Peace, the band are still sticking with being political and having a say, but have now secured themselves as one of the main leaders of punk rock (forget Green Day and whatnot).
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