Breaking Artist: Against Me!

August 15, 2007 3:45 PM ET

Who: Gainesville, FL, punk band with one of the year's best rock records, the Butch Vig-produced New Wave.

Sounds Like: New Wave is full of terrifically propulsive agit-prop like the anti-war anthem "White People for Peace." But it's also long on smart, catchy tunes, thanks partly to the band's array of non-punk influences, which include Bob Dylan and Dolly Parton.

Three Things You Should Know:
• Not long before forming Against Me! as a solo acoustic project in 1997, singer Tom Gabel began a career as a teenage activist, joining lefty causes like Food Not Bombs and running a leftist zine called Misanthrope, for which he interviewed ex-Black Panther Bobby Seale.
• Since the current lineup solidified around 2002, Against Me! have been one of the hardest-working bands in show biz, having done well over 1,000 shows in all fifty States and Europe.
• They've accumulated enough dumpster-diving stories to write a definitive guide to surviving poverty-stricken tours. "We used to make condiment sandwiches," says drummer Warren Oakes. "You know, get packets of onions and relish from a gas station and make a sandwich."
•The Boss likes them. In March, Against Me! played their biggest headlining gig yet to nearly 2,000 fans in Jersey -- including Bruce Springsteen, who saw the show and popped backstage. "When I saw him, I almost shit my pants," says bassist Andrew Seward. "He's a really nice guy," Gabel adds. "He said that we're very soulful."

In Today's News: Gabel was arrested last night in Tennessee on battery charges after allegedly slamming a fellow patron at All Saints Cafe's head into a countertop. Witnesses say the frontman tore a story about his band that had been defaced with obscenities off of a wall, and then assaulted Jared Smith when he asked why.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »