Against Me!
Against Me.jpg
Background Information
Origin Gainesville, Florida
Genre Punk Rock
Folk Punk
Years active 1997-present
Label(s) Misanthrope
Plan It X
No Idea
Sabot Productions
Sire/Warner Bros.
Tom Gabel
Andrew Seward
James Bowman
Warren Oakes
Former Members
Dustin Fridkin
Kevin Mahon

Against Me! is a punk rock band formed in 1997 in Naples, Florida. Their first full-length album, released on No Idea Records in 2002, is Reinventing Axl Rose. They have released music on Misanthrope Records, Crasshole Records, Plan It X Records, Sabot Productions, No Idea Records, and Fat Wreck Chords. In December 2005, they signed with Sire Records, and released their major label debut, New Wave, on July 10, 2007.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Earlier years (1997–2000)[edit | edit source]

Tom Gabel (born November 8, 1980), started the band at age 17 as a solo act with vocals and acoustic guitar. He would only occasionally perform with backup from drummers or bassists. Gabel put out one demo tape by himself, officially entitled Against Me!, but more commonly known as Tom's First Demo. While copies of the cassette itself are extremely rare, Internet file-sharing programs have helped circulate the songs among fans.

Another demo cassette was released the following year on Misanthrope Records, with a slightly more complete band, titled Vivida Vis!. Only five hundred copies of the album were made, but file-sharing once again popularized it. Songs from the album are still routinely requested by members of the audience at Against Me! shows. The band rarely, if ever, obliges these requests. Gabel summarized his feelings on the subject in a 2007 interview with Racket Magazine:

"NO ONE fucking liked us. [laughs] No one! Our first year of shows was just like us showing up, me and Kevin and unloading my acoustic guitar, and Kevin unloading his drums; which was like this weird home made kit, and people were like 'What the fuck is this?' and making fun of us. No one liked us at first, and now there's all these people saying 'I've loved you since Vivida Vis!.' No, you didn't. No one liked us when Vivida Vis! was around. I was there at the shows! There were TEN people there, what are you talking about? I know you weren't there... [It's] awesome to play something that would make somebody happy to hear. But sometimes there are songs that we don't necessarily play anymore, and when people ask for 'em it's like 'God, we don't want to play them anymore.' An example would be the song ("Burn") [chuckles] we uh, we don't play it anymore and it's like 'Hm... sorry.' [laughs][1]

In a blog dated November 21, 2008, Tom Gabel elaborated on the subject, citing his falling out with Kevin Mahon:

"A lot of the songs we played I've refused to play for years, and some fans of those songs have never quite been able to understand. They were songs that Kevin and I made together and their association to my broken heart turned me cynical and jaded towards them. [2]

In 2000, a self-titled, vinyl-only 12" EP was released on Crasshole Records. Due to a mastering error, only 145 copies were ever officially released.

Reinventing Axl Rose (2001–2002)[edit | edit source]

In 2001, Against Me! - now chiefly Gabel on guitar and Kevin Mahon on drums - celebrated their first widely successful release in Crime as Forgiven By. The four song 7" and six song CD-EP was joint-released on Plan-It-X Records and Sabot Productions. The 7" came first; the CD that followed included two bonus tracks: "Impact", which remains a staple of live shows, and "Burn", which has been more or less disowned by the band.

After Crime, a four-song acoustic 7" was released. While technically untitled, the album is most commonly referred to as The Acoustic EP, or less commonly as the Jordan's First Choice EP. In a similar manner as Crime, this record was re-released as a CD-EP with two extra songs. It contains no electric guitar or drums; only Gabel's acoustic guitar and bass by Dustin Fridkin.

Shortly after the release of The Acoustic EP, Against Me!'s lineup shifted when Mahon officially left the band. Warren Oakes took Mahon's place, and James Bowman joined the band as a second guitarist.

Reinventing Axl Rose is the band's first full-length album. The album features five brand new tracks; the other six were re-recorded from their original appearances on Crime and The Acoustic EP. This album was considered a shift because of the addition of electric guitars, and a full band. The title track and "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!" earned significant notoriety in punk rock circles and began to spread Against Me! to a larger fan base, a fan base that would prove difficult to please with their next few releases.

After Axl Rose, Against Me!'s lineup changed once again. Fridkin left the band, and was replaced on bass guitar by Andrew Seward. This lineup of Gabel, Oakes, Bowman, and Seward has remained constant since. Interestingly, the common set-up of the band at live shows features Gabel (the chief vocalist) stage right, while Seward takes center stage. In late 2002, a three-song EP entitled The Disco Before The Breakdown was released. The title track is a marked departure from the earlier sound, incorporating friends and musicians from their label, No Idea Records, as a horn section for the first time. "Tonight We're Gonna Give it 35%" shows the band's greatest transition towards a more rock sound that would carry the rest of their discography. "Beginning in an Ending" is the only track hearkening back to the band's earliest days, and even it was a change of pace.

As the Eternal Cowboy and Searching for a Former Clarity (2003–2005)[edit | edit source]

Their second full length album, As the Eternal Cowboy, was released on Fat Wreck Chords. Gabel himself describes the album as sounding "more punk." This album also earned them their first single, "Sink, Florida, Sink." The divisive effect this record had on their fan base became the topic of their next release, a DVD entitled We're Never Going Home.

We're Never Going Home is a tour documentary, produced by Jake Burghart of Transition Video Magazine. The DVD follows the band on a United States tour where they were literally offered "a million dollars to make a record" by Universal Records. The anticipation for their next album sent 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. It also features candid interviews with Fat Wreck Chords executives including Fat Mike, band members, Chris Johnston of Plan-It-X Records, and fans. The DVD derives its name from the final line of "Slurring the Rhythms," the fifth track off of Eternal Cowboy.

In between these two releases, a demo was stolen from someone affiliated with the band at a joint Against Me!/Lucero show. The tracks were leaked to the Internet and some of the fan-given names included: "Miami," "How Low," "Joy," "Holy Shit," "Exhaustion", "Ed Is Sexy" and "Problems". When these songs appeared on Against Me!'s next album, they had the same names that were given to them on the demo by the band's listeners.

This album Searching for a Former Clarity was released on September 6, 2005. It broke them into the mainstream, debuting at #114 on the Billboard charts. The band released a music video for the album's first single, "Don't Lose Touch", originally specifically for MySpace. The video can now be seen on the television music station Fuse. The band also performed the song on an episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien which aired on September 30, 2005. "Don't Lose Touch" went on to air on the MTV 10 Spot on November 11, 2005.

In November 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 Adrock of The Beastie Boys on side A, and the album version on side B. Both singles were released on Fat Wreck Chords.

On December 21, 2005, it was announced that the band had signed a deal with Sire Records. Against Me! has stated that a large factor in the decision to switch to Sire was the opportunity to work with Butch Vig, producer for Nirvana's Nevermind.

Americans Abroad!!! and New Wave (2006–2007)[edit | edit source]

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 22, 2006. The album was recorded at the Mean Fiddler in London, England.

Against Me! announced on their MySpace on December 29, 2006 their debut album on Sire, New Wave. It was released on July 10, 2007.[3] The release of New Wave had divided opinion among long-term Against Me! fans. The band lost some fans who labeled the band as sell outs by moving away from independent record labels,[4] but overall they reached new level of popularity and main-stream success. New Wave debuted at number #57 on the Billboard 200 the week of its release.Spin Magazine magazine named it the best album of 2007.[5] The record featured their first chart single, "Thrash Unreal", which hit #11 on the US Modern Rock chart.[6]

The band appeared on Late Night with Conan O' Brien for the second time on July 10, 2007, playing their single "Thrash Unreal," as well as appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman on August 29, 2007, playing the song "Stop!" The band was also featured as MTV's artist of the week in December 2007. Throughout this time many songs off of New Wave were played in show previews and credits.

Recent activity (2008-present)[edit | edit source]

In early 2008, the band supported the Foo Fighters on their American tour. During the tour, they also played three separate shows in smaller venues to support the Harvest of Hope Foundation.[7]

In May 2008, Rolling Stone named Against Me! "Best Punk Band"[8] on a list entitled The 125-Plus People, Places and Things Ruling the Rock & Roll Universe.[9]

In April 2008, the band filmed a PSA for Rock the Vote about the issues that are important to them and why they vote.[10]

On November 20, 2008, Gabel reunited with former band member Kevin Mahon for a performance at The Knitting Factory in New York City. They played the Crime as Forgiven By EP in its entirety along with a few other old favorites.[11]

On July 7, 2009, Fat Wreck Chords will be releasing The Original Cowboy, an album consisting of unreleased demos recorded prior to the As the Eternal Cowboy session. The demos were recorded by Rob McGregor in Gainesville on July 15, 2003.[12]

Members[edit | edit source]

Current[edit | edit source]

  • Tom Gabel – guitar, lead vocals, (1997–present)
  • James Bowman – guitar, vocals (2000–present)
  • Andrew Seward – bass, vocals (2002–present)
  • Warren Oakes – drums (2001–present)

Former[edit | edit source]

  • Dustin Fridkin – bass, vocals (2001–2002)
  • Kevin Mahon – drums (1998–2001)

Featured guests[edit | edit source]

Discography[edit | edit source]

Studio albums[edit | edit source]

Date of
Title Label Charts
2002 Against Me! is Reinventing Axl Rose No Idea Records
2003 Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy Fat Wreck Chords #36 Independent Albums
2005 Searching for a Former Clarity Fat Wreck Chords #114 US
#1 Heatseeker
#9 Independent Albums
2007 New Wave Sire Records #57 US

Live albums[edit | edit source]

Date of
Title Label
2006 Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!! Fat Wreck Chords

EPs[edit | edit source]

Year of
Title Label
2000 Against Me! EP Crasshole Records
2001 Crime as Forgiven By Plan-It-X Records (CD)
Sabot Productions (7")
2001 The Acoustic EP Sabot Productions
2002 The Disco Before the Breakdown No Idea Records
2008 New Wave B-Sides
2009 The Original Cowboy Fat Wreck Chords

Demo tapes[edit | edit source]

Date of
Title Label
1997 Against Me! (Tom's First Demo) Self released
1998 Vivida Vis! Self released
2000 Against Me! 7 Song Cassette Self released

Singles[edit | edit source]

Date of
Title Label Charts
2004 "Cavalier Eternal" 7" No Idea Records
2005 "Sink, Florida, Sink" 7" No Idea Records
2005 "Don't Lose Touch" 12" Fat Wreck Chords
2006 "From Her Lips to God's Ears (The Energizer)" 12" Fat Wreck Chords
2007 "White People for Peace" 7" Sire Records
2007 "Thrash Unreal" 7"
(Pre-order Exclusive)
#11 US Modern Rock[13]
#51 Canada
2007 "White People for Peace" 12" Sire Records
2008 "Stop!" 7" Sire Records #27 US Modern Rock
#78 Canada
2008 "New Wave" 7" Sire Records

Compilation appearances[edit | edit source]

Date of
Title Format Song Label
1998 We're Here to Ruin Your Fun Cassette
"National Myth"
"Burning Bridges"
Crasshole Records
2003 Experiments In Audio Rocketry CD "Untitled" 1234 Go! Records
2003 Nice Guys Finish Last CD "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!" Nice Guy Records
2003 Go-Kart MP300 Raceway CD "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong"
"Reinventing Axl Rose"
Go Kart Records
2003 Against Police Injustice "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!" Non Commercial
2003 The Shape Of Flakes To Come CD "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" No Idea Records
2004 Anti-Floyd - The Terrier State CD "Cliche Guevara" Fat Wreck Chords
2004 Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1 CD "Sink, Florida, Sink (Electric)" Fat Wreck Chords
2005 Rock Against Floyd CD "Problems" Fat Wreck Chords
2005 PROTECT: A Benefit for the National Association to Protect Children CD "Wagon Wheel" (Old Crow Medicine Show Cover) Fat Wreck Chords
2005 MySpace Records Volume 1 CD "Don't Lose Touch" MySpace Records
2005 Take Action! Vol. 4 (Disc 1) CD "You Look Like I Need a Drink (Acoustic)" Sub-City
Hopeless Records
2005 Throw Up Your Horns: A Compilation To Benefit Rhino's (Disc 2) CD "Cliche Guevara" Independently released by Rhino's All Ages Club
2006 Punk Rock Mix Tape 2006 CD "Problems" Fastmusic
2006 We'll Inherit the Earth: A Tribute to The Replacements CD "Bastards of Young" 1234 Go!
2006 2006 Warped Tour Compilation CD "From Her Lips to God's Ears (The Energizer)" Side One Dummy
2006 iFloyd Download "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong (Live)" Fat Wreck Chords
2006 Take Action! Vol. 5 (Disc 2) CD "Don't Lose Touch" Sub-City Records
2006 Shine Some Light: A Benefit for Dan Lang-Gunn CD "Don't Lose Touch (Live at WCSU)" Asbestos Records
2006 Remember Your Roots CD "Take Aim"
"Clap, Clap"
Twelve Stepper Records
2006 Fat X-Mas Bonus Download "Don't Lose Touch (Acoustic)" Fat Wreck Chords
2008 Warped Tour 2008 Tour Compilation CD "New Wave" Side One Dummy

DVDs[edit | edit source]

Date of
Title Label
2004 We're Never Going Home Fat Wreck Chords
2007 Live At The Key Club Sire Records

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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