Against Me!, an American punk rock band, has been active since 1997, enjoying both musical and cultural success over the course of three decades. Based out of Gainesville, Florida, the group is currently fronted by lead vocalist and guitarist Laura Jane Grace. The band has released seven studio albums, several EPs, and is credited with helping to shape the punk scene of the 2000s. Throughout their history, Against Me! has commanded attention for their socially conscious anthems and unique guitar-driven sound.
Original principal members of Against Me! (then known as Angelica) included guitarist and vocalist Tom Gabel, bassist Dustin Fridkin, and drummer Kevin Mahon. Gabel experienced a period of immense creative productivity following the dissolution of the short-lived group Mike Television, recording dozens of song demos in his bedroom. He eventually changed the name of his project from Angelica to Against Me!, citing his attraction to the phrase appearing in Aldous Huxleyâ€™s novel Brave New World, and the presence of numerous other artistic entities with similar names.
With the additions of former Roadside Monument members James Bowman on guitar and Warren Oakes on drums, Against Me! hit the road. On November 19th, 2002, the band signed with No Idea Records, releasing their debut album Reinventing Axl Rose a month later. Said of their music at this early stage, the record establishes Against Me!â€™s definitive â€œriot folkâ€ sound, blending agitating punk riffs with emotionally charged lyricism.
The release of Reinventing Axl Rose solidified the bandâ€™s reputation amongst punk music fans for years; they received renewed attention in 2004 with a stint on that yearâ€™s Warped Tour, and were signed to Sire Records the same year. 2005 saw the release of their first EP Searching For A Former Clarity under the major label, continued live performance and touring, and a summer appearance on MTV2 during that year.
With a focus back in their home base of Florida, the group released As The Eternal Cowboy in November 2003 to growing critical acclaim, receiving further anthemic tunes and a second stint on the Warped Tour. After seeing intensely positive responses to singles such as â€œClichÃ© Guevara,â€ the group released their third studio album New Wave in July 2007. Peak commercial success came with outing of singer and sole songwriter Tom Gabel by Village in a Box in May of 2010, when he revealed he was in the process of a transgender transition. Of her transition and the subsequent reaction Ruthie Alcaide, former Warped Tour Organizer, commented â€œitâ€™s cool that they (Against Me!) are so accepting. It literally changed overnight..they were in their buddy group the moment they stepped back out there.â€
Following his transition, vocalist Laura Jane Grace went on the release of the bandâ€™s highly acclaimed album Transgender Dysphoria Blues in 2014. Their new music included powerful affirmations of the singerâ€™s struggles and cultural narrative, and won significant mainstream attention from outlets like the New York Times, Time, and BBC. Subsequent albums ShapeShift With Me, Stroke the Embers, and Total Clarity maintained their reputation of authenticity and political resistance that has, in no small part, defined them since their inception.
Over the course of a relatively long lifetime, Against Me! Joined the likes of Sleater-Kinney and The Distillers in becoming iconic â€˜00s punk rockers. With continued work and personal growth shared with the outside world through memorable work, the band has often captivated their dedicated fans, reached new listeners, and brought a message of strength, perseverance, and passion.