Biography

Against Me!

Members: Tom Gabel, Andrew Seward, James Bowman, Warren Oakes

Active: 1997 - Present

HISTORY

Against Me! is a folk punk band formed in Naples, Florida, later relocated to Gainesville, Florida. Their first full-length album, released on No Idea Records, is Reinventing Axl Rose. They have released music on Plan It X Records, Sabot Productions, No Idea Records, and most recently, Fat Wreck Chords. In December of 2005, they signed to Sire Records, and are scheduled to release their major label debut in 2007.

Tom Gabel started the band as a solo act with vocals and acoustic guitar, occasionally 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 folk-punk aspect of their work. He put out one demo tape by himself, entitled "Against Me!". Another was released out the following year, with a slightly more complete band, titled Vivida Vis. An obscure five-song vinyl-only 12" EP on the ill-fated Crasshole Records surfaced in 2000, but only 150 copies were ever officially released, due to a mastering error. A six song EP was released on Plan It X Records entitled "Crime, As Forgiven By Against Me!".

After Crime, a six-song, untitled acoustic EP (now unofficially referred to as The Acoustic EP) was released. It contains no electric guitar or drums; only acoustic guitar and bass. It is one of the band's definitive releases.

Reinventing Axl Rose was the band's first full-length album. This album was 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 folk influence, particularly in songs like the Irish-influenced "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" and the ballad "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!".

After Axl Rose, a 3 song EP entitled The Disco Before The Breakdown was released. The title track was a marked departure from the earlier sound, incorporating friends and musicians from their label, No Idea Records, as a horns section. "Tonight We're Gonna Give it 35%" showed perhaps the band's greatest transition towards a more rock sound. "Beginning in an Ending" is perhaps the only track harkening back to the band's earliest days, and even it was a change of pace.

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 their former ideals, 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 describe the album as sounding "more punk." The divisive effect this record had on their fanbase became the topic of their next release "We're Never Going Home".

"We're Never Going Home" is a tour documentary, produced by Jake Burghart of Transition Video Magazine, which follows the band on a US tour where they were offered million dollar deals by the major record labels. The anticipation for their next record sent record 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.

In between these two releases, an unofficial "release", a demo, was stolen from someone affiliated with the band at a Lucero show. This important, albeit not widely known, incident symbolized the growing disconnect between the band and its fanbase. Interestingly, all songs that appeared on the album 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 acknowledgement of the act on the part of Against Me!, a band generally known for its clever and creative song titles. The songs were, however, re-recorded for their full-length release.

Their latest album Searching For A Former Clarity was released on September 6, 2005. It broke them into the mainstream, debuting at number 114 on the Billboard charts. The band released a music video for their first single, "Don't Lose Touch," specifically for Myspace. The video can now be seen on the television music station Fuse. The band's performance of "Don't Lose Touch" on Late Night With Conan O'Brien aired on September 30th, 2005. Against Me! also had "Don't Lose Touch" aired on the MTV 10 Spot on November 11th, 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 Ad-rock of The Beastie Boys on side A, and the album version on side B. Both singles were released on Fat Wreck Chords.

On December 21st 2005, it was announced that the band had signed a deal with Sire Records. This decision further alienated some of Against Me!'s longtime fans, who felt that the band signing to a major label betrays their anarchistic ethics and longtime beliefs, but other fans remain supportive of the band's decision. It has also been noted that Against Me!'s major label debut with Sire will be produced by Butch Vig (producer for Nirvana's Nevermind).

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 22nd, 2006. The album was recorded at the Mean Fiddler in London, England, features one previously unreleased song named "Americans Abroad," and is distributed by Fat Wreck Chords.

ALBUMS

2002 - Reinventing Axl Rose
2003 - As the Eternal Cowboy
2005 - Searching for a Former Clarity

DEMOS

1997 - Against Me! also known as Tom's Demo or Tom's First Demo
1998 - Vivida Vis!

EP'S

2000 - Against Me! EP
2001 - Crime As Forgiven By
2001 - The Acoustic EP
2002 - The Disco Before the Breakdown

LIVE ALBUMS

2006 - Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!!

SINGLES

2004 - Cavalier Eternal
2005 - Sink, Florida, Sink
2005 - Don't Lose Touch
2006 - From Her Lips To God's Ears

DVD'S

2004 - We're Never Going Home

Follow Muzikum