Yet another ball...
Supergroups. Despite usually containing a plethora of talent, years of experience and expert musicianship, most never fare too well. Maybe it is being out of their collective comfort zone, maybe it is because fans of their previous incarnations can’t accept their new ventures or perhaps it is because many contain washed up old stagers whose creative juices ran dry a long time ago but most are doomed to failure • even if they do shift a couple of hundred thousand albums in the process. But when the music of your supergroup exclusively relies upon covers of classics how could go wrong?
Compromising members of Lagwagon, Swinging Utters, NOFX and Foo Fighters, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have been putting their punk rock stamp on everyone from Billy Joel to Elton John for over ten years now. As the covers are often frenetically played within an inch of their life and sound a world away from their originals, they have often come across as somewhat of a comedy band • a fate that was probably sealed when they released “Ruin Johnny’s Bar Mitzvah”, a live album recorded at one such rite of passage. But, as they are a band who have never taken themselves too seriously, they seemed to have missed the stinging darts of their detractors; they are simply doing it for the joy in music, not for the big bucks like some of groups of their ilk. Consequently, they are probably the most likeable supergroup that there is.
Opening ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ like The Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ with a shout of the title in time with “Hey, Ho, Let’s Go” expertly nails their colours to the mast. This is a band who live and breathe punk rock, even if guitarist Chris Jackson is in uber-rock monsters, Foo Fighters. From the ramped up ‘Country Roads’ to the gruff of ‘Only the Good Die Young’, this is a band who are highly adept at putting their own spin on some of popular music’s greatest songs; whilst retaining some of the nuances of the original.
Although unoriginal, it remains charming and bouncy and infused with a great affection for pop music in general. A super group if ever there was one.