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Against Me! Speaks About Current Tour

Feature Interviews

Against Me! Speaks About Current Tour

If you’re a fan of Against Me!, you may know that the end of 2010 wasn’t exactly kind to the veteran punk rock act out of Gainesville, Florida. Against Me! was formed in 1997 by lead singer and guitarist Tom Gabel. 2002’s Reinventing Axl Rose garnered the band fans within the punk rock community, while the release of “New Wave” in 2007 (followed by “White Crosses” in June 2010) brought more mainstream success. The fall of 2010, however, delivered a series of setbacks: the departure of drummer George Rebelo (due to commitments with primary band Hot Water Music), a slew of cancelled tour dates, and, most notably, the band’s split with label Sire Records.

So have the events of last fall slowed Against Me! down? Not at all it seems—they’re just coming off a month-long tour with Cheap Girls and Fences, and on February 23rd they join headliner Dropkick Murphys for the 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Tour. New drummer, Jay Weinberg, is already meshing well with the band; says bassist Andrew Seward, “it’s been probably one of the easiest transitions of any relationship I’ve ever dealt with….He came down knowing songs we haven’t played in eight years!” Then by this summer the band will be traveling to Australia and New Zealand to make up some of 2010’s cancelled tour dates.

Also coming up in 2011: Tom announced (via his blog, the release of “Total Clarity”, a collection of demos and unreleased songs. Fat Wreck Chords will release the collection on May 24th (Against Me! and Fat Wreck Chords are frequent collaborators; as Tom explains it, “it’s not so much an ongoing deal, like there’s a contract, we’re just still working on a couple projects with them. It wasn’t like when we signed with Sire we were like ‘we’ll never work with you again Fat.’ We still love the label”). New songs are on the way as well.

Prior to the St. Patrick’s Day Tour, Andrew says, Against Me! is heading “to Madison, Wisconsin. We’re going to do a little recording up there at—Butch Vig [Vig produced New Wave and White Crosses] has a studio up there called Smart, that he’s had for years and years. So we’re going to go kind of mess around in the studio for a week and record a couple songs.” No word yet on when and those songs will be released.

Tom Gabel Interview

Of the many shows you’ve played in Austin, do any stand out as
particularly memorable?

The last time we played at SXSW I remember we did something ridiculous like 6 shows in 2 days, something stupid like that. All the shows were totally different types of venues, different sizes of crowds. It was kind of like a tour of Austin. There was also the time at SXSW were we stuck in an elevator for an hour with about 24 people. We had to be rescued by the fire department. That’s a story for another time though.

You join Dropkick Murphys on tour in February and March before
heading to Australia in May—any plans for that time off between
touring? Recording possibly?

We’re recording a couple songs at the end of this tour actually. Not sure what we’re going to do with it just yet. Other than that we’ll just be writing.

I know that you used to play for small crowds when you first
started. What was your first big show or what event happened that you
started seeing transitions in the crowd sizes?

We still play crowds of all sizes. Variety keeps things interesting. But yeah, we’ve played some really big shows over the years, I think the biggest was with Green Day at Giants Stadium, there’s was something like 58,000 people there? Well, maybe not that many when we played, but by the end of the night. Playing in a venue of that size for the first time was indeed kind of a mind-fuck.

Will there be a follow-up to 2008’s Heart Burns?
Hopefully someday, time permitting.

What’s different about writing for Against Me! vs. writing solo

Nothing really, I don’t sit down and say to myself “okay I’m going to write an Against Me song now” or “okay, now time for a solo record song”. I just focus on the cohesion of the specific album or project.

Any plans to make up the U.K. and European cancelled tour dates?
We hope to make up the dates before the end of the year.

Do you still have an ongoing deal with Fat Wreck Chords being that
you just released an album through them in 2009 or how does that work?

It’s not so much an ongoing deal, like there’s a contract, we’re just still working on a couple projects with them. It wasn’t like when we signed with Sire we were like “we’ll never work with you again Fat”. We still love the label.

Andrew Seward Interview

How was the show in Austin:
“Austin was a great representation of how the tour’s going, just fu*king awesome.”

What was your most memorable show in austin?
“I remember it was at the Legion Hall and people are hanging out on the upstairs patio, and right when we got done playing the patio fell—it crumbled. And like fucking fire trucks and all that shit came out and there’s I dunno like fucking fifteen hundred people just drunk….It was a fucking mess. But a great memory. And nobody got hurt- that I know of. Knock on wood.”

What’s the difference in playing big venues and small venues?
“I promise I’m not bullshitting, I play exactly the same in front of 40 people as 400 or 4000, you know? Always give it your 100% because people call you out real quick if they know you’re bullshitting.”

What bands are you currently listening to?
Cheap Girls, My Roaring 20’s; The National, High Violet; Torch, self-titled.

by: Jess T.

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