About Against Me!
The story of Against Me! began in Naples, FL back in 1997. Tom Gabel, who was playing in a local grind-core band at the time, started playing under the name as a solo project with no intentions of doing anything beyond making a demo tape, and overcoming stage fright by playing a show by himself. Shortly after these goals were realized, he started collaborating with his friend Kevin Mahon (now of the band forgetters), who accompanied him on a make-shift drum set built out of scavenged (dumpster) pickle buckets and whatever real drum parts they could round up. The two then recorded another 10 song demo tape entitled Vivida Vis on a four track tape recorder in Tom’s bedroom at his mother’s house. They self-released the album by dubbing copies on boom boxes and stealing photo copies for the covers and lyric booklet. Tom and Kevin moved to Gainesville in 1999 and released their first self-recorded, self-titled 5 song 12″ EP on the Baltimore label Crasshole Records in 2000. This was followed by their first 7″ EP, recorded by Rob Mcgregor at Goldentone studios, entitled Crime As Forgiven By… and released by Sabot Productions in 2001.
Shortly after, they were joined by James Bowman on guitar, followed by Dustin Fridkin on bass. After the last show of their first full fledged tour as a 4-piece band, while driving south on I-75 from Bloomington, IN back to Gainesville, FL their van was struck by a semi truck. They rolled multiple times and landed upside down in a ditch, and while all of their equipment and van were destroyed, everyone walked away from the accident relatively unscathed. It was at this point Kevin Mahon left the band to pursue an interest in train hopping. After briefly considering quitting altogether, Tom and Dustin continued under the name as a 2-piece releasing another 7″ EP on Sabot Productions, fan-titled The Acoustic EP. Unsatisfied with playing music as an acoustic duo, Tom and Dustin began playing music with Warren Oakes on drums and were rejoined by James Bowman on guitar.
In 2002, the four-piece released the landmark full length album Reinventing Axl Rose on Gainesville, Florida’s No Idea Records, recorded by Rob Mcgregor at Goldentone Studios; an album that has gone on to become No Idea Records’ top selling album. Shortly after the album’s release, Dustin Fridkin left the band to return to college. Faced again with an uncertain future, the band considered breaking up. By chance, Tom received a drunken email from his friend Andrew, who at the time played in the Murfreesboro, TN band Kill Devil Hills. Andrew jokingly said that Against Me! should kick their bass player out and let him join the band. Tom called his bluff and shortly after, Andrew moved to Gainesville, FL. Together, Tom, James, Warren, and Andrew released 3 full length albums, 1 live album, 1 DVD and multiple EPs. As The Eternal Cowboy, released in 2003 by Fat Wreck Chords, saw Against Me! with Rob Mcgregor as producer but this time making a 100% analog recording in Memphis, TN at the famous Ardent Studios (The Replacements, R.E. M., Afghan Whigs, Led Zeppelin, Big Star). Against Me! toured relentlessly in support of the album.
In 2005, Against Me! headed to Baltimore, MD to record with producer J. Robbins (Government Issue, Jawbox, Burning Airlines) ; the album, Searching For A Former Clarity (Fat Wreck Chords), was met with much mainstream critical praise and landed AM! a record deal with the label Sire Records. The bands major label debut New Wave, recorded in 2006 and released in 2007, was produced by Butch Vig (Garbage, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day) and mixed by Rich Costey (Mars Volta, My Chemical Romance, Franz Ferdinand). The album was a media breakthrough and among many other accolades was named Spin Magazine’s album of the year. Against Me! hit the road to support New Wave and again, the road ended with a crash. Early in the morning hours, on an icy interstate, while driving overnight from Denver to Salt Lake City, the band’s tour bus hit a patch of ice, skidded out of control and landed on its side in a ditch off the interstate. Luckily, everyone walked away unscathed. The moment was a breaking point for the band in many respects as shortly after finishing the remaining few weeks of touring in support of New Wave, Warren Oakes left the band to open a Mexican restaurant in Gainesville, FL.
Their newest album, 2010’s White Crosses, was once again produced by Butch Vig, but this time featured Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, NIN) doing the mix, and George Rebelo (Hot Water Music) playing drums. They also began touring with pianist Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady, World/Inferno Friendship Society). 2011 will see the band continue to tour in support of White Crosses with drummer Jay Weinberg (Madball, The E Street Band), while working on material for their next album.
Since 1997 Against Me! has played over 2,000 shows worldwide, not only having played in every state in the U. S., but traveling world-wide to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. They have toured with a wide range of bands including The Foo Fighters, Green Day, The Pogues, Jimmy Eat World, NOFX, Lucero, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Mastodon, Matt & Kim, Cursive, Rise Against, The Bouncing Souls, Hot Water Music, Billy Talent, Silversun Pickups, Alkaline Trio, The Blood Brothers, Social Distortion, Japanther, The Grabass Charlestons, and Sage Francis. In addition, they have made multiple appearances at festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, The Warped Tour, Reading & Leeds, Pukkelpop and many more.