Archive for the ‘Punk’ Category

Sunday marked the tenth anniversary of Fall Out Boy’s classic album From Under the Cork Tree.

We won’t be getting a retrospective tour from the band however, who recently vowed in Rolling Stone to never play their classic albums straight through.

The band has plenty on their plate at the moment in any case, with their 2015 comeback effort American Beauty/American Psycho scaling the charts with an eclectic modern pop sound.

Retro Fall Out Boy.

But what is it that makes From Under the Cork Tree such a touchstone for the band, or at least, for their fans?

It was certainly their breakthrough release, marking their first top ten album and single position in the US charts.

The album captured a band fired up to make the mainstream take notice, but also not ashamed of their pop punk and hardcore roots, which gave the songs a harder-hitting edge.

Lead single Sugar, We’re Goin Down hit #8 on the US and UK charts and also features a mean guitar-slinging breakdown in the bridge. How many other bands could have pulled that off?

Fall Out Boy’s label told the band to scrap the song, citing its wordy lyrics and heavy guitars as being a barrier to radio success.

Thank God the band stuck to their guns. If you’ve ever heard the fans sing back the lyrics to the band live you know who had the right of it.

Later efforts certainly displayed an expanded sound, but with the exception of 2008’s Folie à Deux, the band rarely managed to hit the mark so consistently throughout a full-length.

From Under the Cork Tree managed to stand out from the pop punk pack with a varied palette, but it avoided becoming self-indulgent.

Neal Avron handled production duties with aplomb. The album sounds punchy and in-your-face, capturing the live feel of the band’s performances.

While the band rarely get showy with their musicianship, it’s no secret that Fall Out Boy are all excellent musicians, and great individual input drives the carefully crafted songs on the album.

From Under the Cork Tree was the second album for which bassist Pete Wentz wrote all the lyrics, and it marks the point where the band grew fully into their song-writing abilities.

The lyrics are raw and cut deep, documenting a dark time in Wentz’s life, as evidenced by suicide attempt made shortly after the album was recorded.

We’re unlikely to hear anything like it again from the band, but it’s true that the greatest artists have a tendency never to repeat themselves and their legacy is often for the better because of it.


I was lucky enough to have a chat to Tom Gabel: singer, guitarist and founding member of acoustic punk legends Against Me!. We spoke about about anarchist ideals, the origins of the band’s name and living life without a back-up plan. See Tom and his desperados break hearts all across Australia in May, with Off With Their Heads supporting.

Tom Gabel live

White Crosses is a classic sounding album that reminds me of big rock releases in times past. Were you deliberately going for that vibe, trying to write a classic album in that sense? (you mentioned in another interview you wrote Because of the Shame in Bruce Springsteen’s style, and there also is Bob Dylan Dream).

In a lot of respects, definitely. We wanted to make a huge sounding album where we didn’t hold anything back. Every idea was explored.

You’ve said the band has done over 1600 gigs. What drives you to tour and play shows constantly?

I think that’s part of the allure to being in a band, the adventure, being out on the road, exploring new places, meeting new people. It’s extremely addictive too.

What were the circumstances that led to the cancellation of 2010 tour dates? Was it related to burn-out?

There were a lot of factors. We had just lost support of our label, we needed to regroup. Then there were also some personal issue that some of us needed to attend to at home. Sometimes life happens when you’re in a band.

Rock 'n' Roll

I was introduced to Against Me! by hearing Walking Is Still Honest played acoustic at a back-yard party. Do you write songs acoustically? Or do you write with a full band?

I always write lyrics first and then I work out the song structure and melody on acoustic guitar, build on it from there. If you can’t play a song on acoustic guitar it’s not a very good one. Through whatever else you want on top of it once you have that foundation, but it has to be there.

Is Bob Dylan Dream a reaction to fans interaction with yourself? (I never mentioned my collection of his albums, I never bothered him with intrusive questions).

The song was literally a dream I had. I woke up, wrote down my memories of the dream and put chords to it. The song didn’t take any thought to write, happened in about 5 minutes.

What have you been reading lately?

Jean- Paul Sartre’s War Diaries.

What made you want to pick up a guitar in your youth?

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 8 years old. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, to be in a band, for as long as I can remember. My father was military, I wasn’t really exposed to a lot of music when I was younger, I discovered on my own, but I’ve always been drawn to it.

A group of young men I'm sure will go far

What does the name Against Me! refer to? Have you ever wanted to change the name of the band?

I guess when I named the band I was feeling very misanthropic and paranoid. I’ve never regretted the name.

Have you started writing material for the next Against Me! release?

Yes, for sure. We hope to record sometime this fall or winter. We’ll see.

Do you see yourself working with Butch Vig again?

We would love to if the opportunity presents itself. Butch is my hero.

How is playing with Jay on the kit different from playing with George?

Every drummer is different, they all have their unique style. Anyone who is a Hot Water Music fan knows that to be true about George. There’s subtle differences I’ve noticed between the two of them but the bottom line is they’re both great drummers. The question is kind of like “What’s the difference between driving a Ferrari and Lambourgini?

Do you consider Against Me! to be a political band?

It’s not something I strive for no, but I recognize that I’ve addressed political topics in lyrics.

Punk isn't meant to be pretty

What are three things in your life you see as essential to your happiness?

Creative expression, personal space and my family.

What are some of your memories from Against Me!’s 2008 Australian tour?

I remember a lot of fun shows and hanging out with a lot of fun people. It’s been like that every time.

Have you listened to the support bands for the upcoming Australian tour?

Yes, for sure. We choose all the bands we play with. Off With Their Heads who are doing the whole tour with us are good friends. We just finished a tour with them here in the US about two weeks ago.

Why did you choose to release the Searching For A Former Clarity demos now?

There’s no specific reason other than I finished the project. With both Total Clarity and Original Cowboy (which was the Eternal Cowboy demos) we figure that they’re releases for fans of those records, not the type of thing to present to new people. We’ve got a lot of unreleased material we plan to hopefully all get out there one day. It’s just been a matter of making the time. Since these aren’t new releases theses are projects that only get worked on when nothing else is going on.

Do you listen to much modern music and new releases?

I love music. I’m a vinyl enthusiast. I am constantly searching for new things to listen to.

Download / borrow / buy / steal this album if you haven't heard it yet

Do you still identify with anarchist ideals?

Certainly, there’s a ton of merit to the philosophy. There is no authority but your own. Think for yourself. Be an autonomous individual.

What was the motivation in early Against Me! for the two-piece line-up? Was it out of necessity (lack of other musicians) or was it more deliberate?

I started playing under the name as a solo project. I had no intention of making a proper band out of it. I was playing in other bands at the time. Eventually those bands broke up and Against Me! became my main focus. I wanted drums. It’s more fun to play music with other people.

How does the term folk punk sit with you?

It makes no difference to me.

If you weren’t touring and working with Against Me! what would you be doing?

I’d be playing in some other band. This is what I want to do with my life. There’s no back-up plan.

See the dates and supports for Against Me!’s upcoming May Australian tour here.

Punk/ hardcore upstarts One Win Choice released their debut album, Conveyor, yesterday on Jump Start Records. The entire album is streaming here, check it out if you like your hardcore melodic, chaotic and catchy as an infectious disease.

The Philadelphia quintet recorded Conveyor at Skylight Studios with Vince Ratti, whose credits include Circa Survive, None More Black, Tigers Jaw and The Wonder Years. The album is available in CD, digital and vinyl formats. featured a three part video series entitled “One Win Choice: The Making Of ‘Conveyor'”, showcasing some great recording footage as well as interviews with the band. Check out Part 3 here (includes links to view Parts 1 and 2.)

In March, One Win Choice will be touring throughout the US East Coast in support of the album, sharing the stage with Bridge And Tunnel, Tigers Jaw, Static Radio NJ, Slingshot Dakota, Caleb Lionheart and Lighten Up among others.

*Also posted here on, as I’m writing for them now.