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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.

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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