Fun Fun Fun Fest Preview
Against Me! rides the crest of New Wave
7:35pm, Stage 2
"I think that protest songs are extremely important on many levels, but at the same time I can't help but feel like I'm shouting at a brick wall," writes Against Me!'s Tom Gabel from Germany in regard to the band's "White People for Peace," which struggles with the necessity and futility of protest music. "It was important to me to have a song on the record specifically dealing with the topic of war. When I started writing, I realized that [with] the past two records we've put out, it had been important to me to have a song addressing war on it. The same war has been happening."
Against Me! may not be able to bring the troops home, but the Florida fourpiece's major label debut, New Wave, remains the pop-punk album of the year. Produced by Butch Vig, it tackles frustrations with unoriginal bands and American consumerism through stadium-sized riffs, hair-metal harmonies, and hooks that find strength in numbers. It sounds like Springsteen on steroids.
"I wrote every song on this album," types Gabel. "I'd work out the structure on my acoustic guitar and then bring the songs to sound check. We'd work it out in a day or two and then throw it into a set, immediate trial by fire. If it wasn't immediately apparent that it would work out live, we abandoned it."
Gabel has essentially taken the opposite career path of Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, starting his career a decade ago with acoustic protest music before plugging in to take his message to the masses. "How many records has Tom Morello's solo album sold?" Gabel asks. "I think it's pretty undeniable that the more entertaining an act is the more of a chance they will have to say what they want to say and have people listen."