Anniversary: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes’ ‘Blow in the Wind’ turns 20

It’s been over two decades since Me First and the Gimme Gimmes began giving the punk rock treatment to countless pop classics and, today, their third full-length, Blow in the Wind, celebrates its 20th birthday.

The Gimmes are a punk rock supergroup, consisting of Spike Slawson (Swingin’ Utters), Fat Mike (NOFX), and Joey Cape and Dave Raun of Lagwagon. The Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett was also a member until around June 2019. Each of their albums has a theme, be it showtunes, divas or country & western, among others. 

Blow in the Wind is a collection of ’60s covers and it’s an absolute blast.

Whether it’s interpolations of the Clash in “Eleanor” or Bad Religion in “San Francisco,” or the guitar licks in “Wild World,” you’re left with only one question: is there really any other bunch of punks who you’d prefer to hear emulating Brian Wilson’s harmonies?

The beauty of the Gimmes and their music is that it bridges what may well in fact be a chasm; between those who would never consciously listen to decades-old pop songs, and those who would never consciously listen to punk rock. How receptive some in either camp may be to the other, I could not say – but as someone with a soft-spot for decades-old pop songs, whose heart will forever be with punk rock, this album is hugely enjoyable. And that’s surely the entire point: just enjoy it. In fact, it’s the apparent incongruousness of these renditions – the marriage of these songs with musicians such as these – that gives the entire endeavour such charm.

It’s tempting to rhapsodise about this record and, clearly, I’ve done so to a degree. But that’s only because Blow in the Wind is a damn good album that I find so elating. It’s something my dad and I have bonded over, which I’m grateful for, and I’ve no doubt that it’s been that very same something for others, too. If you only act on one recommendation today, make it this one: listen to the Gimmes.

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