When it comes to a good time no one brings the party like Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. They’ve been providing their own brand of punk rock cover versions of songs for over two decades. The supergroup will be making their way down under to play Download Festival Sydney and Melbourne along with some of their own headline dates. We were lucky enough to catch up with the bands vocalist Spike Slawson ahead of the tour.

SCENEzine
Very soon you will be making the journey back to the land down under

Spike Slawson
That’s right I can’t wait. We will be there once again to enjoy the charms and fruits of Australia and New Zealand. Looking forward to it.

SCENEzine
Not sure if you realise but you will be playing Sydney’s first ever Download festival.

Spike Slawson
I didn’t know that. I’m honoured. But it’s a heavy metal festival so not sure what they are going to make of us. Without even trying to set ourselves apart we will stand out. Which will be both good and bad. Sometimes an awkard show can be one of the best.

SCENEzine
Have you had a chance to look a the lineup yet?

Spike Slawson
Yeah I understand that Ozzy is not able to make it because of health concerns I hope he feels better soon. Slayer will be crazy!  I don’t think I have ever been to an Australian heavy metal festival before. It will probably be like going to a heavy metal festival in Texas but with a different accent. I love the British new wave of Heavy Metal like Judas Priest so I’m looking forward to it.

SCENEzine
With bands like Pennywise and Rise Against on the lineup is there a bit of camaraderie?

Spike Slawson
Yeah absolutely we know those dudes. It’s weird because you live thousands of miles from some of those guys like Rise Against being from Chicago. You just take it for granted that you’re going to wind up seeing one another every few months. I’m always happy to see them but never surprised.

SCENEzine
You’ve got headline dates plus festival appearances. Have you started talking about set lists yet?


Spike Slawson
I’m actually going to work some of that out with Joey today. We try to adapt to changes on the ground, something might occur to us that might be funny. So the setlist is still in development but I think you are going to love it. We are going to change things up from our last tour to keep it exciting and varied.

SCENEzine
Do you have a favourite track from your Go Down Under EP?

Spike Slawson
I would probably say the Olivia Newton-John song “Have You Never Been Mellow”. Because it’s a cover of a cover. Our version is like a cover of The Feederz version of that song. The Feederz were a California punk band from the eighties. Their singer had the best punk name ever, his name was Frank Discussion. They had a record called Ever Feel Like Killing your Boss, the cover was a uncomfortable grade of sandpaper.

SCENEzine
What was your first Australian visit like?

Spike Slawson
I remember it feeling like Canada. It’s cleaner than the States. Circular Quay was pretty breath taking, the rocks was a really nice place. All those things made a really strong impression and I remember once you get out of the big cities it was like a cross between Texas and midlands England and I’d never seen anything like that in the world. 

SCENEzine
Do you have any memories of filming the video for “I Believe I Can fly”?

Spike Slawson
Man that was such a long time ago. It was at a bar that doesn’t exist anymore across the street from the city jail. I wasn’t there when Paris Hilton showed up but Jello Biafra came and that was big moment.

SCENEzine
With such a big catalogue of songs do you ever forget the words on stage?

Spike Slawson
Yes absolutely but a lot of the time when I do I’m in Europe or another foreign country and nobody notices. It’s a big song list so I forget some words here and there. Joey Cape has certainly messed up a chord or two in his time on stage so I’m in good company.

SCENEzine
Can you give us a bit of a roll call as to which members will be flying down to Australia?

Spike Slawson
Jay Bentley will be joining us on bass guitar. Joey and Dave will be there and Scott Shiflett will be there in Australia. If you want to come to New Zealand across the ditch Lindsay McDougall will be joining us on the New Zealand dates.

SCENEzine
I’m curious what’s your opinion on the Australian craze of drinking beer from your shoe also know as shoey’s?

Spike Slawson
Well that’s not going to catch on with me I don’t drink and my shoes are disgusting. But Joey Cape gets kind of suggestible when he’s a few Cointreau’s in. So Maybe he will drink Cointreau out of his shoe.

SCENEzine
Lastly so you have a message for your Aussie fans who are stoked for the tour?

Spike Slawson
We’ve got some new songs that we are going to play that they wont expect but I think they will really like. Come and see us, if you can’t make one of the Download festivals then come see us at one of our many club shows that we will be playing. If you are in Australia and can’t make one of the shows then consider a vacation across the ditch then come see us in Auckland or Wellington. We had a really great show at the Powerstation in Auckland on our last tour, it was really fun.  

(interview by Christian Ross)

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