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Mstrkrft

Tom Gabel
Cryptic 'unforseen circumstances ' have forced Against Me!
to cancell all tour dates for the remainder of 2010.

Against Me! Against the World!

Watching every move with punk rockers Against Me!

By Scott Thomson

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When it comes to a band like Against Me!, their fan base is nearly as fun to watch as the band's music is to listen to.

Whether it be the constant accusations of selling-out thrown at the band, and their lead singer Tom Gabel, or the conspiracy theories about where he stands on stage, one thing is certain; This is a band that always provides you with something to talk about.

In all honesty, when it comes to basements, it has always been funny for us being associated as a 'basement' band because in Florida, there are no basements. The water level is too high.

“I thought it was ridiculous.” Gabel says before a show in Kitchener, ON, referencing the internet fallout of his changing position on stage. “On the one hand, I feel it is not surprising because there are some people who will freak out at anything we do, but it is just such an arbitrary thing. Who really cares?”

Gabel used to play from the side of the stage, but recently has opted for the centre. 

This is the sort of stuff that the bands fans and detractors love to talk about. From the moment his band signed to the successful punk-label Fat Wreck Chords in 2003, it seems like there has been someone to critique their every move.

Gabel says that you become “ambivalent” to the comments after a while, but at the same time he is “thankful that anyone is listening.”

“If people feel that passionately about something, even if I don’t necessarily understand their reasoning, it is still flattering.”

The band formally released their fifth full-length record, White Crosses, months after it was leaked onto the web.  In response to the leak, Gabel, instead of pretending it didn’t happen, released the lyrics to the album.

“There was no use in trying to fight it. It was out there.” He says ““I think that after they (their record label, Sire) saw that there was a positive reaction by releasing those lyrics, they were like ‘Yeah! Our idea too!”

Against Me!
Against Me!

While the band has fulfilled its two-record deal with the label, Gabel says they do have more options for more with band. “We will see what happens.”

And while the cries of “sellout” still loudly echo though internet chat-rooms, the band still stick by their decision to sign to a major label.

“As far as I am concerned” Gabel says, “just the opportunity to work with (producer) Butch Vig was worth it alone. I feel like, for me, that was my version of going to college. The knowledge I gained from this recording session will be indispensable for ever for me.”

The first single released from White Crosses was “I Was A Teenage Anarchist.” A song many felt was a direct shot at the band’s old political stance along with a modern day response to fan favourite “Baby, I’m An Anarchist”.

“To address that first,” Gabel says, “in regards to “I Was A Teenage Anarchist” and “Baby, I’m An Anarchist”, I think it is  assumed that for both of those songs, I am saying anything about me personally.”

On The Replacements

“I love The Replacements.”

“That was another thing, going back to that Punknews review, how more obvious can you get? I am admittingly unabashed (paying tribute to The Replacements). Come on, “Ache With Me” (Against Me! song), “Aching To Be (The Replacements song)! They refused to make that connection.”

“I think people make the correlation between them specifically because the word ‘anarchist’ is in between them.” He says. “Really, they are just unrelated songs other then those two words being used in them.”

When the album was officially released White Crosses it got a less that stellar review on Punknews.org (2.5/5). Something Gabel directly responded on his Twitter page “Didn't see that coming. They're so unpredictable. What a shock they wouldn't be supporters.” He wrote on June 8, 2010.

At the time, he made reference to the fact that the site gave Good Charlotte’s Young and The Hopeless a score of four out of five possible stars and added “At least we have something to strive for.”

“I was just having a little fun.” He now says. “I feel like, unfortunately, that is something that is lost through the medium of Twitter and social networking sites is sarcasm. For me that is my lifeblood.”

“I do think it is ridiculous that there is no consistency in their (Punknews) reviewing techniques. It is one of those things too where you know that some people are just going to give you a bad review no matter what. Why not have a little fun, because you have nothing to lose.”

Gabel, along with bassist Andrew Seward, have both recently welcomed children into their lives, which for the record, prompted the change of stage set-up for Gabel.

“Andrew, his wife was having a baby so we knew he was going to be taking some time off.” He says. “We knew that someone was going to be stepping into play for him. We figured it would be weird having someone no one knew standing in the centre of the stage.”

What would 30 year old Tom Gabel would think of a 20 year old Tom Gabel: "I would say calm down a little bit and be a little more patient. Everything is going to be fine. You don�t have to worry about everything so much."
What would 20 year old Tom Gabel would think of a 30 year old Tom Gabel: "20-year-old me would be fucking stoked!"

He says that the band has “yet to feel the changes” with the introduction of children into the band dynamic.

“I imagine it is just going to be adjustments that you make.” He says. “Touring and being in a band is a real lifestyle. It is something that inevitably that my daughter is going to become a part of in a lot of ways. She’s going to travel a lot.”

 “My long-term plan is that my daughter is going to become a fashion model and I am going to be the burn-out rocker Dad that goes to all her shows and gets the free drinks and food.” Gabel joked.

Jokes aside, he says that being a father has changed his writing somewhat.

“Even with keeping up a blog. I found myself going ‘Well fuck, do I even want to go ahead and say something like that?’ out of fear of repercussion that could affect my family.”

However, he says that he doesn’t think that the “change the songwriting.” Adding that “songwriting is different when it comes to that.”

Gabel does admit that there are some old lyrics he does not like anymore.

“The song “Justin” off Searching For A Former Clarity,” he uses as an example. “ I cringe everytime I hear the line about Yahoo, but I think it was a true story, so what are you going to do?”

The band, who has cancelled all remaining tour dates in 2010, will be working on releasing the Searching For A Former Clarity demos via Fat Wreck Chords as well as releasing the White Crosses second single, which also happens to be its title track.

Gabel “suspects” the collection will be available in early 2011.

Due to 'unforseen circumstances,' all Against Me! tour dates for the remainder of 2010 have been cancelled.
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