|Tom is the one in black.|
Against Me! leader Tom Gabel is the sort of lyricist that can't stop himself from contemplating the folly of Robert McNamara's foreign policy decisions mid-song, and he's the sort of singer that can find a way to make the former Secretary of Defense's quirky name positively swing. Whether attacking the industrial military complex, morally bankrupt youth culture, or Florida's very existence, Gabel shoves his songs to the brim with words, pushing heady statements into soaring battle cries through sheer force of will. On the Gainesville punks' new album White Crosses (their second collaboration with megaproducer Butch Vig and Sire Records), he ups the lyrical density and widescreen melodies even further, attacking religious hegemony and left-wing hypocrisy with tunes that, Dan Weiss wrote in the print Voice, will coax out "your chorus-singing impulses." But White Crosses has plenty of the group's signature fist-pumping anthems, but they also find time for epic ballads worthy of Springsteen ("Because Of The Shame") and acoustic laments worthy of Westerberg ("Ache With Me").
The Me! men have been through a bit of change recently, with founding drummer Warren Oakes leaving to run a Mexican eatery (he was replaced by former Hot Water Music drummer George Rebelo) and the hyper-active, hyper-mustachioed Franz Nicolay helping them out with keyboards. But the shout-along live shows and all-black wardrobe have remained intact, as has Gabel's down to earth sense of humor. We recently called up Gabel to find out what he's against these days, what it's like to almost pass out on stage and why we shouldn't diminish the importance of bassist Andrew Seward's beard.More »