Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Are a Drag

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Though it doesn't sound like a brilliant idea, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, an all-star cover band dedicated to regurgitating punk rock-style the most frothy music in their parents' record collections, are actually extraordinarily entertaining and can make the likes of John Denver and Barry Manilow sound not so bad. The lineup includes Fat Mike of NOFX, the guitarist from the Foo Fighters, a couple of the guys from Lagwagon, and Spike Slawson, the Gimmes' sweet-voiced singer, who also plays bass for the Swingin' Utters. On their second record, Are a Drag, the Gimmes tackle all of their parents' favorite showtunes, claiming homage rather than satire. Most of their choices are songs that anybody even remotely into musicals knows by heart. Their cover of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" has more choruses than the original, rocks pretty damn hard, and is certainly worthy of a swirling slam pit. Though it's not as wild as John Coltrane's version, the Gimmes' "My Favorite Things" is raging enough to send Julie Andrews swan diving off the stage into a sea of sweaty punkers. They mess with the jazz standard "Summertime" by Gershwin, adding some fine surfy leads to a song that's been played a million times over. Also, there's their furious rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera." On Are a Drag, the Gimmes succeed at playing showtunes that punk kids can dig, no small feat.

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