If you ever wondered what the Ramones might have sounded like tackling Carole King, look no further. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes provide the answer on sixth CD, Have Another Ball! The irreverent punk rock cover band rips through “You’ve Got a Friend,” plus songs from Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, John Denver and more—all at a breakneck pace. Tongue firmly in cheek, singer Spike Slawson often takes liberties with words and phrasings. Listening to the Gimmes is like a game of spot the classic punk riff (It’s the Clash! No, it’s Bad Religion!).
The Bay Area indie rock supergroup was formed in 1995 by Slawson (Swingin Utters), Fat Mike (NOFX), Jake Jackson AKA Chris Shiflett (No Use for a Name, Foo Fighters), Joey Cape (Lagwagon) and Dave Raun (Lagwagon). The Gimmes’ full-length debut came out two years later. Most albums have a theme, ranging from showtunes (Are a Drag) and roots/country (Love Their Country) to 1960s hits (Blow in the Wind) and modern R&B (Take a Break). They avoid tackling tunes with too pronounced a beat (the latter was all ballads). Not everyone can take a joke either. The Gimmes once got booed after playing at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. Rock manager Irving Azoff denied permission for the band to use a cover of “Desperado” in a video, and then mentioned the Eagles hated it. In concert, Scott Shiflett (Face to Face) usually subs for his brother. Spike has said the band doesn’t practice, so live shows are “a shambles—like watching a public rehearsal.” Prepare for plenty of shenanigans in Pomona. (George A. Paul)
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.gimmegimmes.com, www.theglasshouse.us; Thursday, August 7, 7PM, $15