Me & Julie Down by the Bowling Alley

Me First CoverEvery so often the (pitcher beer ordering) mood for late 90s pop punk versions of mid 70s radio hits rolls down the cherry wood lane of life and lands a perfect strike (phew… that came desperately close to being a run-on sentence… I miss those).  Times like this, it’s comforting (although not really) to know Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is good for a round, and some damn good classic covers.

This, their first full-length released on Fat Wreck Chords back in 1997, features pop punk-ified versions of John Denver, Kenny Loggins, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and some other hit-making individuals of considerable musical talent. Covers, not unlike Social Security, are the third rail of musical politics. On one hand, paying homage to a classic can be somewhat of a respectful gesture, but on the other hand, these lazy, talentless bastards could just be riding the coattails of other, more innovative artists. Lucky for all involved with today’s post, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is comprised of a lucrative series of already established bands, so the results are smooth and well produced.

Me First VinylAllow me to introduce you to the band:

Vocals: Spike Slawson (of the Swingin’ Utters)

Lead Guitar: Chris Shiflett (of No Use for a Name and Foo Fighters… in that order, the order of importance)

Rhythm Guitar: Joey Cape (of Lagwagon)

Bass: Fat Mike (of NOFX fame, also the owner and operator of Fat Wreck Chords)

Drums: Dave Raun (of Lagwagon)

A pop-punk all-star band if ever there was one, Me First is deserving of a listen from fans of that 70s drawl, and bay area pop-punk. Now, set up those bumpers and let’s go bowling (courtesy of The Prudent Groove Lanes Across America Bowling League*).

*Does not exist

Cover Me Como

Me First:Como

(Please note, this is not an album review, but simply a conscious observation of visual similarities. Proceed with caution…)

There will be several posts on copy-kitty album covers emerging from The Prudent Groove, and the order in which they appear need not indicate any type of importance or personal preference on my part. As a matter of fact, pretty much ANYTHING bleeding from The Prudent Groove can be attributed to the above statement.

“Perry Como, meet Me First and the Gimme Gimmes,” is a phrase I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall for. Your grandfather’s sweet, succulent swoon music meets your older brother’s high school preppy-pop-punk cover act. While similar in appearance, the music, as Perry and his golf buddies would say, is as contradistinctive as a slice and a hook. The correlation stops with the cover art.

While choosing to lift both the front and the back covers of Perry Como’s 1959 classic, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (or just Me First) chose a different artist when it came to the music. The artist would be, of course Elton John. (Painfully obvious, don’t you think?) Being solely a preppy-pop-punk cover band, Me First tackle Mr. John’s Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and Rocket Man, the later of which got constant airplay on the radio station of my youthful mind. Boy was I a tool. WAS you ask?

It’s somewhat interesting how the likes and dislikes of an individual can go from a dogleg right to a dogleg left in seemingly no time at all. Back in my adolescent days I would have greatly preferred Me First to the swinging Perry Como. Now, Mr. Como has swung his way right into the par 3 hole in my heart.

At the end of the day, or at anytime really, I’d recommend both of these albums, even if exclusively based on the cover art.