On Me First And The Gimme Gimmes debut album, Have A Ball, their finely honed musical prowess was used to morph the timeless tunes of the 70s into awe inspiring youth anthems for the 90s. Now on their second full length outing, Are A Drag, their deft command of tonal interpretation is in full swing yet again. This time around the Fab Five, in their own inimitable style, have captured your all time favorite Broadway classics together on one release! They have remained bastions of all that can be considered hip. They are internationally adored sweethearts on which the definition of the word playboy was based. Their infamous Fat Pack, much like their forefathers The Rat Pack, is known for its outlandish and decadent behavior, not to mention rumors that they get more ass than a park bench. And yet few people, save a token music industry insider or two, know the real Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. Why the brief hiatus between albums? Why the outrageous personal conduct? Why in the name of all that is Holy have they decided to forsake hits of the 70s in favor of the hits of Broadway?
By now everyone is more than familiar with Me First And The Gimme Gimmes meteoric rise to stardom. Indeed, sold out shows, star-studded all-night galas, and wreckless bouts of excess quickly became the norm and as a result a thin, fragile shell veiled the sorrow within. The quintet sought solace individually in fly-by-night punk rock groups with uninspired monikers like NOFX, Lagwagon, Swingin’ Utters, and No Use For A Name. It comes as no surprise that these half-baked attempts to satisfy their musical cravings fell flat. Their side-project bands failed instantly and dropped into immediate obscurity. Soon thereafter, the decline continued as countless scandals rocked the Me First And The Gimme Gimmes camp. Guitarist Joey Cape hit the bottle heavily for a few months and was seen disheveled, nebriated, and ranting obscenities at afternoon performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Drummer Dave, whose last name will be investigated on an upcoming episode of Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, auditioned for every stage show from the all-white version of The Wiz to Funny Girl On Ice, only to land an orchestral spot playing washtub in the East Palo Alto Remedial School adaptation of Oklahoma! Guitarist Jackson was once again caught with his pants down as his torrid trysts with Liza Minelli and Rita Moreno exploded into a heavily publicized, bitter love triangle. Vocalist Spike Slawson abused his voice by repeatedly spending time in the San Francisco karaoke hovel, The Mint, and was forcibly removed several times when, instead of singing, he would inist on re-enacting entire scenes from Good Fellas, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Cats. Despite a seemingly endless spell of turmoil, it was bassist Fat Mike who finally fit the pieces together and discovered the new direction for Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. The common link in these scandals? Broadway!
The band had spent so much time actively pursuing 1970s adult contemporary hits that they had blinded themselves from their collective passion for showtunes! With renewed vim and vigor, they returned to the recording studio to lend artistry to the trades that came to them as second nature, but could only now confidently be revealed. Under his rugged Charles Atlas inspired physique, Spike Slawson has unveiled his true colors as a blossoming chanteuse... a delicate songbird trapped in a gorilla's body. Even with knickers permanently straddling his ankles, Jake Jackson is a nimble fingered musician, capable of harnessing the sweetest of melodies by playing his guitar much like his women: hard and fast, yet lovingly. Fat Mike's less than portly, emotive bass playing style is akin only to the most exquisite moments of Rogers and Hammerstein (think Carousel for starters). Although his lack of height restricts him from ever being able to see Over the Rainbow, Joey Cape's finesse on guitar places him on a pedestal higher than the steepest of Times Square balconies. Dave kicks a unique beat into these Broadway standards and rocks them harder than any Rockette will ever be capable of (not to mention he looks cute in those stockings... yowza!). This time it's different! This time it's original! No more gimmicks! No more novelties! It's the real Me First And The Gimme Gimmes and once you check it out, you'll understand why this collection is indeed one of My Favorite Things
Christopher M. Dodge