WORD TO YOUR MOTHER - perhaps even your father! And that word is: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes! It's your favorite harmonizing homies, and this time rather than letting their hair down, they're covering it with Gherri Curl and Kangol hats. Yes, these boys are taking a break from their usual repertoire to deliver soothing, soulful sounds in a funkified format that will allow even the most uptight to get down. But this isn't merely some obvious gimmick... c'mon, we're talking about Me First and the Gimme Gimmes here... this is, in fact, the most faithful representation to date of their preeminent musical influences. This quintessential quintet accurately and respectfully gives "props" to their favorite songs by their favorite black artists, but the story doesn't end there. By adding new "flava" to their favorite jams from the old school, as well as a smattering of selections from the slightly more recent school, the boys are finally showing their true streetwise roots. Each member of this band is a well respected O.G. (Original Gimme) from back in the day, but for those not yet familiar with their saga, let me tell you what time it is...
Back in the 80's, during the early days of his other musical side-project, an unknown punk rock band whose name is steeped in obscurity, Fat Mike followed myriad musical interests hoping that one of them would eventually pay off. Much like fellow punker Dee Dee Ramone, Fat Mike pursued the possibility of a career in rap music. The Fat Boys were interested in having Mike join their band until they realized that Mike was neither really Fat nor Phat. And the fact that Mike had a tendency to only shower twice per week was confirmation that he was less than "fresh". With no chance of joining an established band, he tried his hand at a solo career. He found being a white Jewish rapper was surprisingly easy; the only obvious setback was a major onset of hypochondria with the number of people telling him how "ill" he was. He made a name for himself in many South Central L.A. freestyle battles, especially with his constant insistence that every person in attendance should vote on who was the winner. Sadly, the last thing the crowd was interested in was making a difference at the ballot box. Some say this is the major reason Mike stopped rocking the mic, but a few insiders still insist that he quit the rap game because there simply weren't enough octave chords.
Joey Cape dabbled in many def endeavors as well. However, his height challenged stature was of no help, especially when he auditioned for "Beat Street". Joey as so much of a shrimp that the film's star, Boogaloo Shrimp, felt threatened. Thankfully, before Joey reached the end of the road, his runty stature landed him an audition with New Edition. The band was comprised of pre-teens, all about the same height as Joey, so he was able to camouflage the fact that he was much older. He performed well, but the band was non-committal about adding Joey to their line-up. For starters, if they were going to hire him, with the new immage they would need a new name. One day, Joey joined the band in a basketball game against their management. In an attempt to be included, Joey enthusiastically yelled out the score after Michael Bivins made the first basket: "Boys 2, Men 0". This made quite an impression on the members of New Edition; they had reached their decision. Joey thought he knew the score, but the band kicked him to the curb, in spite of making millions later from his off-hand comment. Bobby Brown personally escorted him out and left him with nothing but a "dead president", a Greyhound ticket, and a powdery white substance Joey assumed was from Texas because he overheard something about it coming "from Houston".
Houston was one of the endless string of towns Spike repeatedly visited in his early attempts to be taken seriously as a white R&B artist. He had a penchant for the classics and joined several cover bands in an attempt to emulate his heroes. To express his love for Motown, Spike embarked on a Marvin Gaye tribute tour. Due to a series of fumbles by a dyslexic publicist, the tour was mistakingly billed as the "Marvelous Gay" tour. The crowds in attendance gave the bleached-blond Spike overwhelmingly enthusiastic responses, but annoyed him with their constant requests for showtunes. Then came his tribute to Barry White. It was a good idea, but considering Spike's lack of baritone range, most attendees scoffed, earning Spike the nickname "Very White". His biggest break came in the form of the lead in a topless Las Vegas ice revue entitled "Play That Funky Music". featuring fellow performers of limited credibility, Vanilla Ice, Marky Mark, and Snow, the show was sponsored by St. Ides and featured a one-song Wild Cherry medley. It was clearly a runaway hit; much of the audience was seen running away before the first act even ended. Soon after, Spike's focus was less on "Soul Train" and more on Night Train. Beaten down by failure, he crawled into a botte of ripple, and in staggering reversal of fortune, met his fellow Gimme Gimmes there as well.
One Gimme Gimme whose bad fortune has never been reversed is drummer Dave. Dave's life story is the subject of a soon-to-be-released documentary entitled "Standing In The Shadows Of The Gimme Gimmes". His notorious anonymity has its own soulful beginnings. He and his twin brother Sam were born in a nondescript area of Harlem. The boys were named after legendary singing duo Sam & Dave; their parents knew Sam was named after the legendary Sam Cooke, but then the question always surfaced, "But who's Dave?" That inquiry continues to haunt him to this day. After several brief and failed stints, including decidedly non-funky ? And The Mysterians and The Who cover bands, Dave later followed a less rocky path and eventually landed a gig doing interpretive mime routines for Lionel Richie performances. However, true to form, his stage presence was so non-descript that he remains in the history books as the only performer who has not been booed off the stage at the Apollo Theatre. Even Dave's jaw-dropping, semi-acrobatic rendition of "Dancing On The Ceiling" wasn't enough to bring down the house, let alone bat an eyelid. Despondent, he took his dancing talents to the streets. When a fellow street performer asked him if he liked "poppin" and "rockin", Dave, a huge fan of both pop and rock, naively said "Yes." The next thing he knew, locals were laying out cardboard and Dave was forced into an impromptu dance competition. When he tried to sneak away without finishing the routine, he was beaten down and, despite his broken limbs, forced to finish his dance. An unwitting participant to the origins of breakdancing, Dave remains uncredited.
Speaking of dancing sensations, it's a little known fact that guitarist Jake Jackson is actually the "white sheep" of the Jackson family that spawned the Jackson 5. Although they were distant cousins, Michael Jackson always viewed Jake with a combination of admiration, jealousy, and competitiveniss. No matter what Jake did, Michael was shadowing him every step of the way, hoping that Jake would not steel too much of the spotlight while also siphoning off as many of his ideas as possible. One night, Michael overheard Jake making the moves on a groupie who declared "No glove, no love." Clearly misunderstanding the context, Michael, seeking to be loved, began wearing his trademark glove everywhere he went. On another occasion, true to form, Jake got a bit too plastered, pulled down his pants, and danced a drunken jig while mooning everyone. Jealous of all the attention Jake was getting, Michael later popularized his own outrageous dance by calling it the "Moonwalk", sans pant-dropping. Jake eventually confronted Michael and asked why he had spent so much time with such a stupid chip on his shoulder. Michael misheard this statement as "stupid chimp" and was crushed that Jake apparently didn't like his primate friend, Bubbles. Michael's admiration for Jake was so great that he immediately researched a "group home for chimps" to send Bubbles away to. Apparently, Bubbles still leads a decent life in that facility, aside from having shampoo products periodically tested in his eyes. To this day Michael continues to imitate Jake as much as possible in a desperate cry for approval. Many say Michael's continuing altered appearance mirrors an underlying desire to be as handsome as the ever-charming Jake Jackson. Vitiligo or Jake Jackson? I think we all know the answer.
So, that's the dealio. Straight trip on this shiznit from the old school. Whether you're chillin' like a villain or gellin' like a felon, pump this disc in your Lac, and take a break with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes!