1960s reborn through notorious cover band

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Blow in the Wind
Fat Wreck Chords

In the early ’90s an album entitled Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix was released. This album featured many hip artists covering Hendrix tunes. The Cure covered “Purple Haze.” The song left me with visions of Jimi not only turning over in his grave, but kicking and screaming as well.

This song completely butchered a classic anthem of the ’60s, making it slow and dark sounding.

Ever since, I have had a love/hate relationship with cover songs. I do enjoy some of them, especially when I am out dancing and have had a bit to drink. However, there is a line. For example, Everclear recently covered Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” making a monstrosity out of a great song. The song is slow and almost poppy thanks to Art and the gang.

I have found in my old age that punk covers are something I like. They make the songs faster and more upbeat. Hard guitar riffs, drum solos and original bass lines make me want to bounce around singing a song I already know and like.

For the past several years now there is a band guilty of creating albums of just punk cover songs. And, they are brilliant.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (they must know my family) is made up of members from different punk bands. Fat Mike from NoFX; Joey Cape and Dave Raun from Lagwagon; Spike Slawson and Jake Jackson make up the madmen.This new album is a fun mix of ’60s tunes. The songs range from Motown to Patsy Cline to surf tunes.

“Blowin’ In the Wind” is a fast tune that would known the socks off Bob Dylan, but it flows and makes you want to move. “Sloop John B” is one of my favorites on this album, it changes this Beach Boys classic enough to make you have to really listen to recognize it. ‘Who Put the Bomp” is a fun doo wop twist, that has all elements, including the baritone “Yeah.”

“Elenor” is a song I was not familiar with, but Slawson actually sings, giving real harmony to this tune. “My Boyfriend’s Back” is fun with high-pitched “hey-la hey-la”s from the boys. “All My Lovin'” is a nice Beatles tribute.

“San Francisco” is mediocre, but starts with hard guitar riffs that make it tolerable. ‘I Only Want To Be With You” also includes strong guitar and bass riffs that spice it up. “Runaway” is not very good, but that is because it sounds too much like the original by Del Shannon, which I did not like to begin with.

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by the Chirelles includes strong vocals and solid guitar and drum riffs and solos. “Different Drum” is good because it is a lesser known oldie, but definitely a goodie.

The highlight of this album is a cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World,” as it as the strongest vocals and rocks the hardest.

The boys can actually sing and play around on this album with jokes and comments here and there.

Punk covers really liven things up and these bad boys of punk do just that with a variety of tunes that leaves something for everyone.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is worth checking out.

Have a Ball has the gang exploring ’70s tunes. “Fire and Rain” and “Sweet Caroline” are the highlights here. Are a Drag covers show tunes. Broadway will never be the same again. I am curious to see what they have up their sleeves for album number four.