Punk's premier cover artists, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are a conglomerate of some of the most recognizable faces in new-school punk. Drawn together by a mutual love of '60s and '70s music, the Gimme Gimmes work exclusively as a cover band. Their repertoire includes songs from such acts as Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, and John Denver. With an ever-changing cast of characters, singer Spike Slawson (of the Swingin' Utters) originally formed the Gimme Gimmes in 1995, drawing on the talents of NOFX bassist Fat Mike, Lagwagon singer/guitarist Joey Cape, No Use for a Name guitarist Chris Shiflett (aka Jackson), and Lagwagon drummer Dave Raun. Never originally aiming to put out a record, the band made appearances on punk compilation albums through much of the year. In 1997, however, they began releasing singles named after the singer they had covered. They produced Billy, Diamond, Bob, Denver, and Barry in this manner.
Finally, the group produced its first full-length effort, Have a Ball, in late 1997. Two years later, Are a Drag arrived. This particular album was a hit at college radio thanks to the band's quirky renditions of popular show tunes. In 1999, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes reworked bubblegum classics from the '60s and '70s for Blow in the Wind. Once more, the band was a hit on college radio, and pop kids started catching on to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes' infectious pop sound. The R&B-tailored album Take a Break was released in July 2003, just in time for the band's fifth appearance on the annual Vans Warped Tour. In 2004, they tackled a set of classic rock hits, easy listening numbers, and even "Hava Nagila" on the "live" album Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah, which included enhanced video footage of the gig in question.
Continuing with the notion that no genre was safe from a Gimme Gimme makeover, Love Their Country appeared two years later, covering everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Johnny Cash to the Eagles. After the digital release of the holiday sampler Hanuk-Comp in 2007, the band followed up with Have Another Ball!, which debuted in July 2008. In 2011, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes released the Australian-themed Go Down Under EP, and then followed it up with an EP of Japanese covers titled Sing in Japanese. Their eighth album, Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! was a collection of songs by pop's greatest divas, from Madonna to Cher, which appeared in summer 2014. In 2017, the group released their first greatest-hits collection, Rake It In. ~ David Cornelius