Warren Oakes quits Against Me!
I don’t tend to post band news up here unless a band I really like splits up, but Warren – drummer with Against Me! for a good eight years – has just left the band. Or been fired, depending on whose version of events you read – follow that link for the statements. Sad times indeed. Warren is a fantastic drummer and a real friendly guy; although I only spoke to him briefly once or twice myself, it’s pretty much universal opinion that he was one bona fide cool guy. Apparently his next project will be running a Mexican restaurant in Gainesville. If I ever make it over to Florida for the Fest, I’ll have to try a few tacos.
It’ll be interesting to see where Against Me! go from here. New Wave cemented their shift in direction – a process clearly begun with Searching For A Former Clarity – away from the aggressive folk-punk of their youth and towards a more mainstream rock sound. Last year Tom Gabel – founder, singer and guitarist – released the solo record Heart Burns, an EP which was hailed by some as a return to his roots but which to me lacked the passion that made early Against Me! so utterly, brilliantly vital.
I hold no grudges against the band for ‘selling out’, and respect Tom’s efforts to lyrically document the process of being drawn into the major label music industry, but New Wave is merely a good record to me. It is a far cry from Crimes As Forgiven By, a record which hit me so hard and was so important to me that it seems fair to deploy an old cliche – it was a record that changed my life. Ironically, Crimes predated Warren’s involvement in the band (at that time Against Me! was Tom on guitar and vox, Kevin Mahon on bucket drums). So now it seems that things may have come full circle, concluding my love affair with the most important band of my early twenties.
All the same… it’ll be interesting to see where the band go from here.