Against Me! drowned with wine due to typo in video director’s notes

Against Me! drowned with wine due to typo in video director’s notes

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It’s hard to touch on major label controversies in the punk scene without thinking of Florida’s own Against Me!. Born in 1997 by singer-songwriter Tom Gabel, the band has gone from being an unheard acoustic duo to one of the nation’s most popular rock bands. Along the way, they’ve been a part of many significant independent labels, most notably Fat Wreck Chords, No Idea, and Plan-It-X.

But in 2005, when the band announced they had struck a deal with Sire Records, it seemed as though every punk rocker with a mom with a computer had something to say. And with years of building up a passionate fan base, most of those things were not very nice.

“It was absolutely ridiculous. Someone slashed our van’s tires on Long Island. Others just hid behind a screen and cried ‘sellout’. We had to shut down our message board. Also, some dweeby kid was sharing nearly inaudible live tracks and we were sick of that. No one needs to hear those.”

The band’s first major label release, New Wave, was a hit. Spin Magazine rated it their album of the year. The single, “Thrash Unreal”, hit #11 on the Billboard music charts. And thus, it was time for the band’s first real music video.

I asked Tom about the video concept.

“Most kids in the punk community have shitty jobs. And they’re surrounded by ‘normal’ people, whom I’m sure they find very annoying. So they don’t want to be like them. But do punks not realize just how annoying they are? And I was surrounded by them all the time! No wonder I didn’t want to be like that anymore. Who would, really? They’re annoying.”

I tried to steer the conversation back on track.

“Oh, right. I had this great concept for the Thrash Unreal music video. People just whine all the time to me. So why not have a video where we have a lot of whining? And what’s a good word to describe a lot of something? Exactly. Gallons. I sent that off to the label and they loved it. I titled it ‘Gallons of Whine’. But next thing I know, we’re being filmed with red wine being splashed all over us. What the fuck, man. This must be why people hate major labels.”

The band can be seen performing next at this year’s Fest, in Gainesville, FL.